7 Tips For Improving Self-Esteem
Self-Esteem is something that so many of us lack for all different reasons. Usually, if you do not have self-esteem, it is hard to love and fully respect yourself. Some of these tips may feel impossible, but don’t knock it until you try it! What could you possibly lose? I recommend trying all of the tips below in order to help learn to better love yourself and to gain some more self-confidence and help your self-esteem grow. Remember, you are beautiful, worthy, and deserve to be happy!
1. Tell Your Inner Critic To Shut Up!
When your inner critic starts telling you that you are not good enough, you’re a piece of crap, you’re worthless, you’re ugly or anything else that it tries to spew at you with such harsh negativity, come up with a word or phrase to stop that critic in his or her tracks. You could try saying stop, no no no, not today, shut up or anything else that you feel like yelling at your inner critic.
On top of that, this may sound silly, but like people are sometimes told to do when they have anxiety—try naming that critic. Giving that voice of gross negativity a name and telling it to stop as many times as you need to can help benefit you more than you may realize. It’s making it a presence that you can confront like you would if an actual person were saying such mean things to you.
This is even something that I have been utilizing for a while now. Anytime she tries to tell me that I am a disappointment or that I am worthless and she starts making me anxious and driving me crazy, I yell at Sara and tell her to knock that crap off. I will tell her to go shove it, anything that I think will help me at that moment.
You can always yell back at your critic and counter what he or she is saying to you. If they are telling you that you never will amount to anything, try reversing it and saying that you can and will do great things. I know this sounds a bit nuts, I thought so too when I was first told to do this, but keeping up with it and countering that inner voice will help you to think of yourself in a more positive light. You don’t even have to literally yell out loud—unless you want to, of course—you can scream it inside your head.
2. Talking To Yourself In A Mirror
Look into a mirror, any size will do, starting once a day and gradually working your way up to several times a day, tell yourself out loud that you are beautiful, that you got this, and that you are worth it. If you have low self-esteem, you will most likely hate staring at yourself in the mirror. You will try to pick out every flaw, but you need to tell yourself these three things. At first, you will feel silly and feel like this exercise is pointless. I know that you won’t believe a word that you are telling yourself.
Practice this technique every day until you are saying good and positive things about yourself multiple times a day or maybe even every time you look at yourself in a mirror. You will eventually start to slowly believe the things you are saying. This technique does take time and practice in order to build yourself up, but don’t give up. Everything worthwhile takes time. It will be worth it in the end. When you hear something over and over again, the words will sink in and stick. Then one day you will honestly believe that you are all of those positive things and more.
3. Finding One Thing You Like About Yourself
This one is hard for almost everyone who suffers from a lack of confidence and low self-esteem. I am proof that this tip works. I was taught this in a partial hospitalization program a few years ago. There is always one thing that we actually like about ourselves whether we realize it or not. It doesn’t have to be a physical trait that you like about yourself either. It can be something about your character or our personality. When I was told to do this same exact thing, I thought it was impossible. I hated myself so much that I highly doubted being able to find anything that I actually liked.
When I thought long and hard about it, I finally came to the realization that I love my eye color. I wrote it down in a little notebook and the more I thought about things, the longer my list started to grow. For some, this may take some time before they are ready to add number two. For others, it will come to them much easier than they anticipated. I realized that I liked my new haircut and color, my eyes when I wear eyeliner, my tattoo, that I will try to make people laugh when they are feeling low just to see them smile, and so on.
Find that one thing that you like about yourself and watch that list start to grow. The more we realize that we do like or love things about ourselves, the more we realize we are really not as bad as we thought. Every time you start to feel down about yourself look at that list and remember that you have some amazing and positive qualities.
4. Giving Yourself Positive Affirmations
Positive affirmations are good and positive things that we can say about ourselves. I want you to get a notebook and write down three positive affirmations about yourself every day. The best time to write them is in the morning to help you start your day with a positive outlook.
Here are some examples of positive affirmations:
- I can get past this
- I am a good friend
- I will achieve my goal today
- I can learn to love myself or I will learn to love myself
- I have the power to change for the better
- I refuse to give up because I have not tried every possible way
- I am worthy
- I am beautiful
- I won’t sweat the small stuff today
- I am a good partner to my significant other
- I have so much love to give
- I am stronger than I realize
- I am here for a reason
Positive affirmations typically begin with, ‘I can’, ‘I will’, and ‘I am.’ But if you think of others that are positive, feel free to roll with it. These are only a few examples out of thousands of possibilities that you can create yourself. This technique will slowly retrain the way you think and it can help you to see things in a more positive angle. You can call this one your “Positive Affirmations Journal.” If you want to come up with more than three a day, that is excellent. But whatever you do, make sure that you always have at least three written down.
5. Focus On Something You Like To Do
We should all take some time out of our day every day to do something that we like and know will make us feel happy. For example, writing and helping people makes me happy. Even just creating this post with the hope of helping at least one person makes me feel extremely better about myself and satisfied.
If you like to read, take some time to yourself every day and try to read whatever you wish—even if it is only for 5 minutes. You will now be able to say, that for those 5 minutes you were truly happy. If your pet makes you happy, take the time to spend a few minutes playing or cuddling with your adorable furbaby. Doing things that we enjoy and that makes us happy will make us feel better about ourselves—even if it is only for a short period of time.
6. The 2 Minute Self-Appreciation Break
This tip came from the Positivity Blog, so I decided to share some of their thoughts with you to help build up your self-esteem and self-confidence. Here is what you should try to do:
Take a deep breath, slow down and ask yourself this question: What are three things I can appreciate about myself?
Now, this blog did come up with 3 good examples but I decided to add some more to the list to help give you a better idea. Here are some examples of self-appreciation:
- I appreciate that I help a few people every day with what I write.
- I can make people laugh and forget about their troubles.
- I am very thoughtful and caring when it comes to my cats.
- I appreciate that I will try to help anyone, even if I don’t know them personally, who is in need.
- I am kind to strangers because I never know if they are having a bad day.
- I can love with all my heart.
They don’t have to be big things. Maybe you were a good listener to a stranger in need today, or that you went for a healthy walk or bike ride, or that you are a caring person. Taking this 2-minute self-appreciation break every day can you build self-esteem in the long run. Plus, it can help you turn a negative mood into a positive mood. Or, as I like to say, it can turn your frown upside down.
7. Setting Realistic Daily Goals Or Tasks
We can burden ourselves severely with the things that we have to do or try to get done within a 24 hour period. At times, it can make us feel hopeless and overwhelmed like we are never going to be able to accomplish anything. There is just not enough time in a day to get everything done sometimes. This can affect our mood and the way we feel about ourselves.
Here is one thing that you can try to do, which I have actively started to do myself. Buy a tiny notebook or use an app where you can break down tasks and goals into sections as a checklist. One important thing that you will have to remember and realize is that you are not supposed to complete everything on your checklist in one day. Space things out when possible to give yourself time so that these become realistic tasks and goals. Set due dates for specific things that you have to get done by a certain time.
As an example, when I have an article due I will allow myself enough time to be able to break down the tasks separately so that I don’t get overwhelmed when I know it has an upcoming due date. I will break it down to each step that I need to accomplish. Even if I know I can write an article in one day or even within a few hours, I will still break it down step by step.
And this is what my own checklist would look like:
- Pick a topic [ ]
- Create an outline [ ]
- Pick a due date [ ]
- Submit outline to my editor [ ]
- The outline was approved [ ]
- Write article [ ]
- Proof-read and edit[ ]
- Run Grammarly [ ]
- Get pics [ ]
- Submit to editor [ ]
See what I mean by breaking everything down into its own task? The more you get to check off, the more satisfied, confident, and accomplished you will feel. When we can physically check things off a list we tend to feel more positive about ourselves which will, in turn, boost our self-esteem. We also tend to feel less overwhelmed because we can see right in front of us what needs to be done and in what order. It’s a way to organize your thoughts as well. I chose to use a little mini notebook because I can always look back on it to see how far I have really come when I feel like I never get anything done or accomplished. I will be able to look right at the progress I have made.
You are beautiful.
You are worthy.
You deserve to be happy and to be able to love yourself.
Thanks for reading! I hope someone will be able to get some use out of this. Everything we do to better ourselves takes time, patience and practice. Use these techniques to lay the foundation for the building blocks that will help you to develop self-esteem and a new found love for yourself. When it gets hard, and your inner critic is breaking you down, don’t give up. Keep on fighting and I know that I believe in you! ♥
Samantha is the author of "My Bipolar Mind: You're not alone," she is also a freelance writer, blogger, and mental health advocate who runs and manages her own mental health blog MyBipolarMind.com.