When it comes to your self-esteem, only one opinion really matters: yours. And even that must be carefully evaluated; we tend to be our own harshest critics. Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D, author of the Self-Esteem Workbook, describes healthy self-esteem as a realistic and appreciative opinion of oneself. He writes: “Unconditional human worth assumes that each of us is born with all the capacities necessary to live fruitfully, although everyone has a different combination of abilities, which are at different levels of development.” He emphasizes that core value is independent of external values that the market values, such as wealth, education, health, status, or the way one has been treated.
Simply put, self-esteem is your opinion of yourself and your abilities. It can be high, low or somewhere in between. While everyone occasionally has self-doubt, low self-esteem can make you feel insecure and unmotivated. You may be able to identify some things that are affecting your opinion of yourself (perhaps you are being bullied, or you may be feeling lonely), or it could be a mystery. Either way, if you’re wondering how to improve your self-esteem, here are some of our best tips.
Some navigate the world, and relationships, looking for any evidence to validate their self-limiting beliefs. Like the judge and jury, they are constantly put on trial and sometimes sentenced to lifelong self-criticism. The following are eight steps you can take to increase your feelings of self-esteem.
Tips for improving your self-esteem
1. Be aware
We cannot change something if we do not recognize that there is something to change. Simply by becoming aware of our negative internal dialogue, we begin to distance ourselves from the feelings that it causes us. This allows us to identify with them less. Without this awareness, we can easily fall into the trap of believing our self-limited conversation, and as meditation teacher Allan Lokos says, “Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that, thoughts.
As soon as you are on the path of self-criticism, be aware of what is happening, be curious about it, and remind yourself: “These are thoughts, not facts.”
2. Change history
We all have a narrative or story that we have created about ourselves that shapes our self-perceptions, on which our core image is based. If we want to change that story, we have to understand where it came from and where we receive the messages we tell each other. Whose voices do we internalize?
“Sometimes automatic negative thoughts like ‘you are fat’ or ‘you are lazy’ can recur in your mind so often that you start to believe they are true,” says Jessica Koblenz, Psy.D. “These thoughts are learned, which means that they can be unlearned. You can start with affirmations. What do you wish you had believed about yourself? Repeat these phrases for yourself every day. ”
Thomas Boyce, Ph.D., supports the use of affirmations. Research by Boyce and colleagues has shown that “fluency training” on positive affirmations (for example, writing down as many different positive things as you can about yourself in one minute) can decrease self-reported depression symptoms using the Beck Depression inventory. A greater number of written positive statements correlates with a greater improvement. “While they have a bad reputation because of late-night television,” says Boyce, “positive affirmations can help.”
3. Avoid falling into the rabbit hole to compare and despair
“Two key things I emphasize are practicing acceptance and not comparing yourself to others,” says psychotherapist Kimberly Hershenson, LMSW. “I insist that just because someone else seems happy on social media or even in person does not mean they are happy. Comparisons only lead to negative internal dialogue, leading to anxiety and stress.” Feelings of low self-esteem can negatively affect your mental health and other areas of your life, such as work, relationships, and physical health.
4. Channel your inner rock star
Albert Einstein said: “They are all geniuses. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its entire life believing that it is stupid. “We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Someone can be a brilliant musician, but a terrible cook. No quality defines its core value. Recognize your strengths and the feelings of trust they generate, especially in times of doubt It’s easy to make generalizations when you “go wrong” or “fail” about something, but reminding yourself of the ways you move offers one more realistic perspective of yourself.
Certified psychotherapist and sex therapist Kristie Overstreet, LPCC, CST, CAP, suggests asking yourself, “Was there a time in your life when you had better self-esteem? What were you doing at that stage of your life? If you find it difficult to identify your unique gifts, ask a friend to point them out to you. Sometimes it is easier for others to see the best in us than for us to see it in ourselves.
Many studies have shown a correlation between exercise and increased self-esteem, as well as better mental health. “Exercise creates both physical and mental empowerment,” says Debbie Mandel, author of Addicted to Stress, “especially weightlifting where you can gauge achievement. Exercise organizes your day around self-care.” She suggests dropping a task off her endless to-do list daily for the sole purpose of relaxing or doing something fun, and seeing how she feels. Other forms of self-care, such as adequate nutrition and sufficient sleep, have also been shown to have positive effects on one’s self-perception.
6. Do to others
Hershenson suggests volunteering to help those who may be less fortunate. “Being in the service of others helps you get out of your head. When you can help someone else, it makes you less focused on your own problems. ”
David Simonsen, Ph.D., LMFT, agrees:
“What I find is that the more someone does something in their life that they can be proud of, the easier it is for them to recognize their worth. Doing things that you can respect about yourself is the key that I have found that works to increase one’s value. It is something tangible. Helping in a homeless shelter, animal shelter, giving time in an organization of older brothers or sisters. These are things that mean something and give value not only to oneself, but also to another person ”.
There is much truth in the fact that what we publish in the world tends to make us a boomerang. To test this, spend a day intentionally expressing positive thoughts and behaviors towards those with whom you come in contact. As you go through your day, be aware of what comes back to you and also watch if your mood improves.
Is there someone in your life that you haven’t forgiven? A former partner? A member of the family? Yourself? By holding on to feelings of bitterness or resentment, we keep ourselves caught in a cycle of negativity. If we have not forgiven ourselves, shame will keep us in this same cycle.
“Forgiving yourself and others has improved self-esteem,” says Schiraldi, “perhaps because it connects us with our innately loving nature and promotes acceptance of people, despite our shortcomings.” It refers to the Buddhist meditation on forgiveness, which can be practiced at any time: “If I have hurt or hurt someone, knowingly or unknowingly, I ask for forgiveness. If someone has hurt me, knowingly or unknowingly, I forgive them. For the ways I have hurt myself, knowingly or unknowingly, I offer forgiveness. ”
8. Remember that you are not your circumstances
Finally, learning to differentiate between your circumstances and who you are is key to self-esteem. “Recognizing inner worth and loving yourself is imperfect, providing the secure foundation for growth,” says Schiraldi. “With that assurance, one is free to grow with pleasure, not fear of failure, because failure does not change the core value.”
We are all born with infinite potential and equal value as human beings. That we are something less is a false belief that we have learned over time. Therefore, with hard work and self-pity, self-destructive thoughts and beliefs can be unlearned. Following the steps outlined above is a start in the effort to increase self-esteem, or as Schiraldi says, to “recognize self-esteem.” It already exists in every person. “