Self-esteem is the term used to describe a person’s overall self-worth, self-image, personal value, or view of their self. It is not a simple concept and involves a variety of factors and beliefs about yourself. It can be from internal to external traits, including appearance, emotions, talents, beliefs, or actions. Self-esteem is not only determined internally or maintained by personal thoughts, but can be influenced positively and negatively by others and the environment. Self-esteem is a core foundation for personality and mental health. Low self-esteem is one of the most difficult traits to build upon because often people who suffer from it don’t believe it is possible to improve or that they deserve to make the improvements. It is especially difficult when external factors that are out of the person’s control contribute to it. Low self-esteem can lead to a variety of complications including depression, anxiety, relationship difficulties, or occupational and academic troubles.
All this being said, there are ways to improve upon self-esteem. Start where you feel most comfortable and build from there. As your confidence and self-esteem grow, each step will be easier and easier.
- Make a list of your strengths to review each day. If you cannot make a list yourself, have someone you trust start it for you.
- Take care of yourself. First start with basic hygiene, then move onto what makes you feel good, such as a new hair cut or manicure.
- Dress in clothes that are comfortable and make you feel confident. Comfort is just as important as looks. If you feel comfortable and like the way you look it builds confidence.
- Think positively about yourself and reduce negative self-talk. We are our own worst critics and it is easy to bring ourselves down through how we think about ourselves. Remind yourself about your successes rather than your perceived failures, compliment your outfit or hair, reward yourself for finishing a task.
- Take care of yourself physically. Take care of medical needs. Eat healthy. Exercise regularly.
- Reduce unnecessary stress. Excessive stressors can lead to feelings of inadequacy and lessen self-esteem.
- Find a hobby or join an activity. Take up a sport or a craft.
- Create an environment that you are proud of. Decorate your home and create a comfortable and healthy environment. Reduce clutter and keep things clean.
- Be honest and true with yourself. Don’t change to make others happy but be who makes you happy.
- Set small goals that you can achieve to build confidence.
- Be deliberate in your action. Set an intention for your day and make a conscious decision about how your day will be then follow through.
- Do something nice for others, volunteer, or donate.
- Spend time with family and friends that build you up and avoid those who are negative and contribute to low self-esteem. Positive influences can give the external support that you need to build up internal confidence.
- Forgive yourself; for failures, for mistakes, for hurts, for the past. Forgiveness allows you to move forward and removes the weight you may be holding.
- Fill your mind and space with positivity. Keep positive quotes, listen to happy music, avoid violent imagery in movies and television.
- Find a spiritual leader or group to help build your spirit.
- If you need it, get professional help. There is no shame in meeting with a psychotherapist and they can help support and build confidence and self-esteem, as well as addressing the emotional and mental health damage it can cause.