15 Ways Boost your Self-Esteem
1. Know thy self
The more you truly know yourself deeply, the more you can rationally see your positive and (not so positive) aspects. From this place of real self understanding, you can take pride in the fact that you are do (at least the first steps of) your personal self-improvement work. Start listening to your thoughts and jotting things down in your journal. What are they negative ones actually saying? Are these things actually true or just your skewed perspective? Ask yourself why you have these negative thoughts about yourself. What are your fears? What is it that you’re protecting? Think about your perceived limitations. Are these actually real limitations or are they just things that you decided to believe along the way? Now consider all the things that actually make you wonderful? What are you good at? What special talents do you have? What parts of your physical self do you really like? I bet you can come up with far more real positives about yourself than you can about your actual negative attributes.
2. Kill negative thoughts
When negative thoughts creep into your mind….stop them in their tracks! Whether you want to try the rubber band on the wrist trick or say something outloud, try to interrupt that thought pattern. Then, once the cycle has been interrupted, replace that statement in your mind with its positive counterpart.
3. Say nice things to yourself
Whenever you get the chance (either outloud or silently) shower yourself with sweetness and compliments. This might seem out of your comfort zone but you’ll get used to it. When you are in your car, flip down the mirror, look in your own eyes and say, “You’re looking good today.” When you do something that goes well (no matter how small) take a moment and tell yourself, “Nice job. You’re pretty good at that.” Come up with the perfect loving mantra to let play on repeat in the back of your mind. For example, “I love myself and I respect myself.” It’s up to you to come up with your own that will feel particularly meaningful to you. And just repeat. Say them when you wake up in the morning and when you go to bed… and most importantly anytime negative thoughts come up, replace them with these instead. At first it might feel odd to be saying these nice things to yourself all the time but, trust me, keep saying them and your brain will start to believe them. We can totally rewrite the programs in our brains with repetition. Whatever thought you reinforce and repeat, will be the one that is believed and accepted. It’s totally up to you to fill yourself with positive ones.
4. Primp a little
Yes, when it really comes down to it, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. But…. Giving some attention and care to your outer appearance will only make you feel better. I don’t know anyone who ever looked in the mirror after some loving self-grooming and primping and said I hate when I look nice. Even if you are the only one to know the difference, you’ll go out into the world just feeling more confident and ready to face the people.
5. Play dress-up
There’s something to be said for simplicity and non-materialism but if you’re feeling dumpy and particularly down on yourself, a fun sexy/dapper outfit could really shake you out of that funk. If it’s a casual event that you’re going to, you don’t need o take it too far and make yourself feel out of place but playing with clothes can be a really empowering way to express yourself creatively. If you don’t feel like you have much money to spare to drop on new duds, the thrift store or just one great accessory could totally mean the difference between “drab” and “fab!”
6. Upgrade your self-image
So now that you’ve done some much needed extra hygiene maintenance and have some new style to rock, check yourself out in the mirror again and admire what you see. This is a moment to be proud and fall in love with yourself. (Don’t worry, no one else is watching.) There is a big difference between pride and self-love and arrogance and superiority. Theirs is nothing at all that is “sinful” about being proud of yourself and approving of what you see.
7. Make a list and Get shit done
Sometimes the low self-esteem comes, not from our physical appearance, but from how we view our success and effectiveness in the world. Getting proactive and getting organized can be incredibly empowering. You might have this mental nagging on repeat in your mind about all the things that you would like to accomplish in your day/week/month/year/lifetime. It’s running in an endless loop making sure you don’t forget any piece of it. that list is pretty long and seems completely overwhelming. At this point, you end up feeling inadequate because you don’t seem to be making any progress and your mind just keep s being stressed about the mental running list. So… get out your pen and paper and write it down! Our going to start and action plan. Maybe even divide the list by small tasks that can be done in a day, bigger projects and then more longer term goals. This is a great time to prioritize the things that really matter and will support your overall well-being and peace-of-mind. First of all this will free up your mind from the endless loop of trying to remember all that stuff. Next you can start accomplishing (and crossing off the list) all those little, one-day things. These small accomplishments alone can start building some pride and offering some relief. As you take on the bigger projects, try to confront them with a sense of greater awareness and how you are really adding benefit to your life (and perhaps the lives of others) in doing them. Let each activity add to your sense of accomplishment and self-care.
8. Clear out the clutter
This one can definitely be an expansion on the last one. Clearing out the clutter of your mind… that long to-do list, the procrastinated conversations and (yes that too) clearing out the clutter of your physical space. While some people don’t seem to “mind” it, living in complete chaos is not good for anyone’s mental health. It causes undue stress, often poor hygiene and a lack of control. If you’re someone who suffers from low self-confidence, it couldn’t hurt to stock up on as many pride points as possible. By having your home/car/office in a state that reflects harmony and portrays a person who you are proud to show to the world, you can gain a sense of well-being and inner calm. For some people, the thought of having anyone else see how they keep their living space can bring them to a paranoid panic
As crappy as things may feel in your life, there’s always something to be grateful for. The world is full of blessings and it’s up to us to choose to focus on them rather than getting completely marred down in the negatives. For instance, you are feeling overweight and lonely. You want a relationship and more friends. You have a job but you don’t like it very much and aren’t making as much money as your skills and education are worth. At this point, things are feeling rather bleak. You can choose to wallow in that sorrow or take stock in your life and choose to be grateful for the positives. It’s springtime and the flowers are blooming, you have a really close relationship with your sister, you have enough money to go o the grocery store and buy what you need, you finally like the apartment you’re living in and you have a cat that absolutely adores you. Sure, there are some definite, real things that you would like to change in your life but can recognize that you do have some very tangible and positive things going on too. Being in a place of gratitude tells the universe that you are an appreciative person. The universe will reward you with more blessings to be grateful for. And when those blessings come your way… you’re gonna notice and be grateful (because that’s just the kind of person that you are). Being grateful is a moment to remind you of all the positive things in your life. Additionally, it helps put things in perspective and can remind you about what is truly fundamentally important. Even at times when life seems to be crashing down around you, it is a time to be grateful. Through these times of major challenges come beautiful life lessons making you a stronger person. If you had only one prayer in your life, that prayer could be “Thank you.” And again… “Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.”
10. Pay it forward
Sometimes when we feel the worst about ourselves, the best medicine we can do is to get out of our own heads (and out of our own way) and do something nice for someone else. Paying it forward can remind you of the blessings in your life and what you have to be grateful for. It can give you the opportunity to share some of that goodness with others who need it to. In the process of this sharing (or helping) you can get a chance to just focus on something outside of yourself for a while. And after the fact, don’t you just feel good knowing that you choose to live with a generous spirit?
11. Get active
This activity can be interpreted in two different ways. One way is to get active out in the community. To take action steps towards changing things in your life. The complacency of sitting on that couch is not creating your positive changes in your life. Getting fired up and passionate about life will though. That’s not to say that some much-needed r&r isn’t beneficial too but it should be enjoyed when it’s really deserved and not just out of boredom and lethargy. In yoga, they say that the 5 minute savasana (meditative rest) is the most important part of the whole practice…. But that is only true after having just engaged in the whole hour of physical and breathing practice… This leads me into the other side of getting active and that is about making physical activity and exercise a priority. Even if you aren’t wanting to trim down or bulk up, exercise releases brain chemicals (endorphins) that specifically produce feelings of happiness and reduce feelings of pain. And the fact that you can feel proud of yourself for doing the exercise in the first place is a great place to start on your quest for confidence and joy.
The old idiom “fake it till you make it” really does work. Smiling releases “happiness” hormone and will actually improve your mood from the inside out. Not to mention, when you smile (or even just hold that internal contented partial smile) others around you are drawn to the warm positivity the you are radiating. So here your are in this positive feedback loop. You smile and others smiles back at you and then you feel better and want to smile even more. Sounds pretty simple, right?
13. Stand tall
This might sound coming funny from me because, when ”standing tall”, I still only reach 5ft but having good posture and can change both your internal perception of yourself and the message that you’re giving to those around you. Without going to unnatural/uncomfortable extremes, try standing with your back straight, your shoulders back (a little) and your head up. Seeing someone who’s head is bowed and back all hunched of screams of self-loathing. Show yourself and show the world that you are proud to be you, glad to be there and are ready to engage.
14. Baby steps
Through all of these changes and self-growth, please be patient with yourself. Every tiny baby step is an important piece of your way to self-acceptance and confidence. Things are not going to just change overnight. It may take a few weeks or maybe a few months to see any major shifts in consciousness but every positive change you make is a helpful piece getting you a little closer to your personal happiness and contentment. Remember to celebrate all the little accomplishments. For example, yesterday you may have had negative self-talk and today, when it creeped up, you put your foot down and replaced it with a positive one. Another example… you are about 50 pounds overweight and your personal body image is really struggling. Maybe you haven’t actually lost any weight yet but you DID go to the gym and for dinner you chose to have the grilled chicken and vegetables instead of the burger and fries. Now that’s a big step in the right direction. Give yourself a pat on the back and allow yourself to feel proud of your progress and dedication. You are on your way!
15. Know your stuff
So often our self-esteem issues actually stem from a general feeling of incompetence and unsuredness. While you’re not going to fabricate a doctorate overnight, doing a bit of research can go a long way to helping you feel more competent to converse about certain topics. Almost anything you want to know, you can find on the internet these days. You want to be more knowledgeable and worldly? Just commit a little bit of time to expanding your knowledge base by doing some simple research and you can feel like a whole different person. You might know that you’re going to a dinner party at a friend’s and you know the guest attending will likely be talking a lot about some particular shared interest that you know nothing about. Rather than beating yourself up at the dinner table, staying quiet so you don’t embarrass yourself and feeling like an outcast, do yourself a favor and devote 20 minutes to reading an article or two to give yourself at least a tiny bit of basic knowledge about the subject. You’ll end up feeling so much more confident participating in the conversation. Also having your own areas of interest that you are quite knowledgeable about can give you a safety zone of conversations to start on dates and such. This can give you an area where you are truly knowledgeable, competent and confident.