Everyone experiences moments of self-doubt and feelings of inadequacy. While these moments are often fleeting, they can also be very persistent. Having low self-esteem can take a toll on your confidence, preventing you from embracing new experiences and limiting you from achieving your full potential.
Self-esteem refers to the way you see yourself and your capabilities. It is mostly a result of your relationships and experiences, especially during your childhood years. Unlearning habits from a toxic childhood isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible.
Below, I’ve made a list of simple yet powerful ways that can help you boost your self-esteem.
- Be aware of negative thoughts
As they say, the first step to any form of change is awareness. If you don’t recognise that there is a need for change, you’ll be stuck with bouts of self-doubt. Notice all the conditions that bring down your self-esteem. Pay attention to your thoughts and beliefs as well. Avoid self-deprecating humour and negative self-talk.
The moment you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, remind yourself that they aren’t facts and that you don’t have to believe every single thought that passes through your head.
- Nurture positive relationships
It’s okay to outgrow people and leave relationships that no longer serve you. To overcome self-esteem issues, distance yourself from the very people that are causing them.
Whether it’s negative peers or bad romantic partners, you need to avoid people who are dragging you down. Only nurture loving relationships that can help you grow and become the best version of yourself.
- Go easy on yourself
No one is perfect, so don’t be too hard on yourself by setting unrealistic goals. It’s also important to remember that real change doesn’t happen overnight.
Having healthy self-esteem doesn’t mean that you have to be positive all the time. It just means that you’ve accepted that you can’t change everything or please everyone. You recognise your flaws, but more importantly, you are aware of your strengths.
- Pursue happiness
Give yourself the time and opportunity to pursue happiness. Do whatever it is that makes you feel alive. Whether it’s reading a book, watching a movie or having a spa day, some “me time” can give your self-esteem a boost.
- Never compare yourself to others
Our brains have a negativity bias, which impacts how you see yourself in comparison to others and your self-worth. Unfortunately, social media amplifies such negativity. As you scroll through your social feeds, it’s easy to think that all these people live so much better lives than you do.
Comparing yourself to friends, loved ones or strangers on the internet can lead to feelings of resentment towards others and towards yourself. Instead of dwelling on what others have achieved, focus your energy on how you can change your life.
- Make positive affirmations
Nurture positive and constructive thoughts. By repeating positive affirmations like ‘I am enough’ and ‘I am worthy’, you are freeing your mind and heart from negativity, fear and worry. When you repeat these positive affirmations to yourself, you can start to make positive changes in your mindset, and eventually, in your life.
Little tip: for affirmations to really work, it is important to truly believe in them and attach an emotion while pronouncing them out loud. For example: if someone who is overweight and wants to lose few kilos will be standing by the mirror and will be repeating “I am fit and slim”, eventually reality will hit them like a train and they will just drown even deeper into negative thoughts.
Instead they could try to say “I am in process of becoming fit and slim, I am in process of getting my dream body”. While enhancing your affirmations of such simple phrase, we create new neurons in our brain that would lead us to the way of achieving desired state.
Affirmations have to be also always stated in positive, since our subconscious has was of picking up negative statements and making them happen as well. For example: “I am no longer overeating “, could be replaced with “I am in process of making healthy food choices”. Same thing for any other cause: “I am in process of attracting my dream partner”, “I am in process of getting the job I want” ……
- Challenge yourself
Step out of your comfort zone. Give yourself permission to try new things and to embrace challenges. It doesn’t always have to be a big, life-changing moment. Doing little things like standing up for yourself or for others can help you feel good.
Understanding where your self-esteem issues come from can help you realise that your circumstances, past or present, don’t define you. It enables you to consciously move away from these self-destructive thought patterns and habits. In doing so, you can move towards self-acceptance and self-love.