Most people have heard of self-esteem; how we feel about ‘who we are’. It is more than being confident, as confidence can relate to specific qualities rather than our thoughts about our value as a human. There is little doubt that self-esteem is an essential factor in our happiness; positive self-esteem helps us to achieve, to take life’s knocks on our chin, and to engage in satisfying relationships and friendships. Research suggests that self-esteem increases over time, depending on our experiences in childhood and early adulthood, before stabilising and then falling in old age. It is reasonable to want to improve self-esteem – here are some ways:
- Listen to your self-talk. Treat yourself kindly by being encouraging, supportive, and kind to yourself. Rationalise negative thoughts so you have a balanced and honest self-view. Remember your positives.
- Don’t allow anyone to mistreat you either – check your relationships and friendships are not one-sided or even abusive.
- Take time for fun and enjoyable activities; this might be exercise, a hobby, or social events (everyone enjoys different things).
- Learn new skills. Set short and appropriate goals as achievement can raise self-esteem.
- Take good self-care; this might be by making good lifestyle choices, perhaps by cutting down or stopping drinking alcohol, eating well, or getting a massage.
- Use assertive communication. You are more likely to get your needs met. People who are passive in their communication often get walked all over.
- Experience feelings. Learn to ‘sit with’ uncomfortable feelings and consider what you might need to support yourself at the time; remembering that difficult feelings come and go.
- Accept compliments! This can be difficult but merely saying “thank you” is useful.
- Avoid comparing yourself to others. Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, and qualities, you included.
- Learn to value and appreciate your own qualities – write them down to remind yourself, especially in a low moment. You might ask a friend to help you with this.
- Use positive affirmations or mantras. Try to embrace the affirmation and live with these good values.
- Try to stop worrying – accepting what you cannot change or control. Acceptance of ourselves and our future is fantastic for self-esteem.
A Psychologist can help you to achieve positive and increased self-esteem using evidence-based therapy. Reach out if you need support or encouragement.
Sources: Psychology Today, Psych Central