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Self-esteem is a popular topic these days, with even parenting guides encouraging parents to start young in encouraging their children’s self-esteem.
It’s not hard to see why — people with a good sense of self-esteem consistently have better mental health and are happier and more successful.
But what happens when you don’t have a high self-esteem? It’s not too late.
When you struggle with low self-esteem, improving your sense of self-worth can be a journey that takes both time and dedication.
However, there are things you can do right now to get you started on that journey. Below are 12 simple activities that you can do to boost your self-esteem today.
1. Make Yourself a Priority
From the time we are young, we are taught that putting other’s needs before our own is a virtue, while prioritizing your own needs is selfish. However, you can’t have a good sense of self-esteem if you don’t make your own needs a priority.
So what does prioritizing your own needs look like in the real world? It means meeting your own needs instead of ignoring them for the sake of others.
This can be easier said than done, especially if you are a parent or work in a demanding work environment, but when you recognize that your own needs have value, you begin to realize that you yourself have value.
2. Stop Being a People Pleaser
As Aesop once said, “He who tries to please everybody pleases nobody.” This includes yourself — if you spend your whole life trying to please everyone, you won’t find personal happiness.
That is because people pleasers have an unfortunate habit of making everyone else a priority over themselves and pretending to be someone other than their authentic selves.
As you can imagine, pretending to activities that you actually can’t stand or pretending to possess certain qualities you don’t actually have in order to get others to accept you can have a negative effect on your self-esteem.
You are, in essence, telling yourself that you aren’t good enough. The next step towards boosting your self-esteem, then, is forgetting what others want you to be and being your own authentic self.
3. Find Yourself
If you’ve spent your whole life ignoring your own needs and pretending to be someone else in order to please others, you may not know what your authentic self actually is. This is your chance to figure that out!
Turn your gaze inwards and analyze what really drives you and brings you joy. It may feel strange at first, but there is no wrong emotion in this scenario — all are an important step towards authenticity and increased self-esteem.
4. Watch Your Self Talk
Part of developing a healthy self-esteem requires analyzing how you talk to yourself.
We all talk to ourselves in some way, whether out loud or just in our heads, and the language we use can be a significant insight into how we view ourselves. Negative self-talk (i.e. calling yourself ugly or unlikeable) creates a feedback loop where your self-esteem drops, which leads to more negative self-talk, and so on.
The most effective way to break the cycle is to counter that negative self-talk through being kind and positive towards yourself.
Anytime something negative pops into your mind, counteract those thoughts by writing down something positive (i.e. a list of your positive attributes) until positive self-talk becomes a habit.
5. Don’t Beat Yourself up over Your Mistakes
As humans, we are frequently harder on ourselves than we are on our loved ones. Unfortunately, many of us view our mistakes as personal or even moral failures.
The thing is, we are all human, and all humans make mistakes. Instead of dwelling on your mistakes as some sort of personal punishment, try to view these mistakes as opportunities to improve yourself. Just by changing your way of thinking, you can boost your self-esteem.
6. Acknowledge Your Successes
On the flip side, you should also recognize your achievements. It is common for many of us to downplay our successes.
We say “It wasn’t that big of a deal. Anyone could do it.” This leads to feelings that we haven’t achieved much with our lives, hurting self-esteem.
If you want to boost your self-esteem, you should celebrate your successes. Think about the person you were just a few years ago, and recognize how much you have grown and changed.
Write your successes down and as time goes on you’ll be amazed at how much you have accomplished.
7. Be Grateful
Cultivating a healthy sense of self-esteem also involves the ability to be grateful for what you have. Some individuals tie their entire sense of self-worth in what they have, but someone else will always have more than you do, whether it’s more money, better looks, etc.
Instead of getting caught up in what you don’t have that others do, focus on what it is that you do have. Be grateful. When you focus on being grateful for the things that you do have, you start to feel happier with your life and more self-assured.
8. Nurture a Positive Attitude
A lot of changing your self-talk, emphasizing your successes over your failures, and being grateful has to do with maintaining a positive attitude. Such an outlook can be difficult to cultivate, as our brains naturally tend to dwell on the negative instead of the positive.
The first step towards nurturing a positive attitude is to associate with positive people. Negative people can only bring you down to their level. Positive people can only help you improve.
9. Commit to Your Decisions
Another way to cultivate positivity in your life is to fully commit to your decisions.
Once you have decided on a course of action, don’t waste your energy on self-doubt and second-guessing yourself. Use that energy to do the necessary research and work to see your task through.
When you give in to self-doubt and second thoughts, you are telling yourself that you don’t view yourself as a competent adult capable of making the right decisions and successfully completing a task.
As such, committing yourself to your decisions boosts your self-esteem by eliminating those doubts and insecurities.
10. Learn How to Say No
Another aspect of making yourself a priority and committing to your decisions is learning how to say no in a decisive yet respectful way. When you learn how to say no, you teach others that your boundaries are to be respected and that you won’t be taken advantage of.
One of my favorite quotes from the late Steve Jobs emphasizes the importance of saying no:
“People think focus means saying yes to the thing you’ve got to focus on. But that’s not what it means at all. It means saying no to the hundred other good ideas that there are. You have to pick carefully. I’m actually as proud of the things we haven’t done as the things I have done. Innovation is saying no to 1,000 things.”
Substitute focus for happiness and you’ve got a winning strategy for life, not just business.
By teaching others to respect your boundaries, you affirm to yourself that you are allowed to have needs and boundaries. You also avoid getting stuck with tasks that drain your energy and sense of positivity.
11. Be Generous to Others
Making your needs a priority and learning how to say no to the things you don’t want to do doesn’t mean that you have to shut others out in order to build up your own self-esteem.
In truth, humans are social creatures and a lack of meaningful human connections can severely impact your self-esteem.
For many people, helping others gives them a sense of meaning and purpose in life.
If you have the time and the means, give to charity, volunteer your time to a cause you feel passionate about, or even give blood at the local blood bank.
12. Love Yourself
At the end of the day, a person with high self-esteem is a person who loves himself. This doesn’t mean loving yourself as Narcissus loved his reflection, but rather loving yourself as a person who has value and worth.
When you love yourself, you lead a healthier life. You take care of your body by exercising regularly, eating the right food, and you take care of your mind with positive talk and a healthy social life.
In short, even if you currently don’t have a high sense of self-esteem, there are simple steps that you can take to start developing a strong sense of self-esteem today.
Some of these twelve activities might not be easy at first due to ingrained habits developed over a lifetime, but if you consistently practice these actions every day they will start to become second nature and you will start to see an improvement in your self-esteem.
by Daniel Fries
Daniel Fries is an entrepreneur and writer. He is the co-author of two highly-cited papers in the field of translational oncology research. Dan’s diverse background includes positions as a research associate at OSI Pharmaceuticals, an associate scientist at Medtronic Cardiovascular, and research scientist at both the Michigan Center for Translational Pathology and the Meyerson Lab at Dana Farber of Harvard Medical School. Currently, Dan manages and operates a portfolio of internet companies, and has partnered with Wired Investors to help grow the company the in the rapidly expanding micro-private equity space. Dan holds a BS/BA in molecular biology and Spanish from the University of Michigan. He speaks Spanish fluently and currently splits most of his time in between startup incubators in Chicago, Saigon, and Mexico City. He is fascinated by the potential of exponential technologies in both biotech and cryptocurrency.
Fries, D. (2018). 12 Simple Activities You Can Do to Start Building Self Esteem Today. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 11, 2020, from https://psychcentral.com/lib/12-simple-activities-you-can-do-to-start-building-self-esteem-today/
Scientifically Reviewed Last updated: 8 Oct 2018 (Originally: 19 Jun 2017) Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Oct 2018
Understanding the causes of low self-confidence is a first step in boosting it.
The most important thing to know about low self-confidence is that it is not your fault.
The factors that contribute to low self-confidence combine and interact differently for each person. Your genes, cultural background, childhood experiences, and other life circumstances all play a role. But don’t lose heart — although we can’t change the experiences in our past that shaped us, there is plenty we can do to alter our thoughts and expectations to gain more confidence.
Genes and Temperament
Some of what molds our self-confidence is built into our brains at birth. I mention these factors not to overwhelm you, but to let you know that you shouldn’t blame yourself for your self-image.
Studies have shown our genetic makeup affects the amount of certain confidence-boosting chemicals our brain can access. Serotonin, a neurotransmitter associated with happiness, and oxytocin, the “cuddle hormone,” can both be inhibited by certain genetic variations. Somewhere between 25 to 50 percent of the personality traits linked to confidence may be inherited.
Some aspects of our behavior also stem from our temperament. If you’re naturally more hesitant and watchful, especially in unfamiliar circumstances, you may have a tendency called “behavioral inhibition.” When you’re confronted with a situation, you stop and check to see if everything seems the way you expected it to be. If something appears awry, you’re likely to move away from the situation.
Behavioral inhibition is not all bad. We need some people in the world who don’t impulsively jump into every situation. If you’re a cautious and reserved person, self-confidence may have eluded you. But once you understand yourself and the tools in this book, you’ll be able to work with your temperament and not fight it.
A number of individual experiences can lead to feeling completely unsure of yourself or even worthless. Here, I’ll discuss a few.
Trauma. Physical, sexual, and emotional abuse can all significantly affect our feelings of self-worth. If you find yourself replaying memories of abuse or otherwise feeling tormented by or ashamed of your experiences, please consider seeking treatment from a licensed clinician.
Parenting style. The way we were treated in our family of origin can affect us long after childhood. For instance, if you had a parent who constantly belittled you, compared you to others, or told you that you would never amount to anything, you likely carry those messages with you today. A parent’s struggles with mental health and substance abuse can also change your relationship with the world.
Bullying, harassment and humiliation. Childhood bullying can leave a mark on your confidence when it comes to looks, intellectual and athletic abilities, and other areas of your life. Humiliating experiences in adulthood, including workplace harassment or a peer group that disrespects or demeans you, can also make you less willing to speak up for yourself or pursue ambitious goals.
Gender, race, and sexual orientation. Scores of studies show women are socialized to worry more about how they’re perceived and, therefore, to take fewer risks. Racial and cultural background and sexual orientation can make a difference, too. If you’ve been on the receiving end of discrimination, you may have internalized some negative, untrue messages about your potential and whether you “belong.”
Lack of self-confidence can come from not knowing the “rules” of the confidence game. For example, if we think we have to feel confident in order to act confidently, we set ourselves up for failure.
Perfectionism is another form of faulty thinking that contributes to low self-confidence. If we believe we have to have something all figured out before we take action, those thoughts can keep us from doing the things we value. Even learning and understanding what confidence is and isn’t is a big step toward boosting it.
The World Around Us
Many media messages are designed to make us feel lacking. Companies that want to sell you products usually start by making you feel bad about yourself, often by introducing a “problem” with your body that you would never have noticed otherwise. (The movie Mean Girls memorably skewered this idea: The main character, new to American high-school culture after years of homeschooling in Africa, is bewildered when her new clique stands around a mirror criticizing themselves. “My hairline is so weird,” says one. “My nail beds suck!” proclaims another.)
Now that social media has become ubiquitous, the messages hit closer to home. It’s easy to believe that everyone around you has the perfect marriage, a dream career, and supermodel looks to boot. But remember: What people post online is heavily curated and edited. Everyone has bad days, self-doubt, and physical imperfections. They just don’t trot them out on Facebook!
“One reason we struggle with insecurity: We’re comparing our behind-the-scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.” —Steven Furtick
Anxiety and Depression
It’s common for anxiety and depression to go hand-in-hand with self-confidence issues. If you’ve already been diagnosed with an anxiety disorder or depression and are working with a therapist, you could bring in your workbook and perhaps go through it together. It’s brave of you to address your self-assurance stumbling blocks, and building confidence will also help you lessen anxiety and depression.
Questions to Consider:
Which of the contributing factors described in this section resonate the most with you?
What specific experiences in your life do you think had the biggest negative effects on your self-confidence?
2. Learn why self-confidence is so important. Start here.
4. Try these four proven approaches to increase your confidence level.
Copyright © 2018 by Barbara Markway and Celia Ampel.
Have you ever been lonely in a crowd? Have you ever been perfectly content all alone? Me too. And I have also suffered from loneliness.
Loneliness is a complex mental and emotional phenomenon that has at its base a powerful emotion that has survival value for children. All of us have experienced some degree of abandonment, if only for a short time, and remember the painful and scary feeling that goes along with it.
Whenever we are reminded of this feeling or anticipate it in the future, we get a twinge of abandonment distress that we experience as loneliness. This can happen among a crowd of friends or even after making love. It can be pretty confusing and can put you off your game if you don’t know what’s going on.
Here are some tips for recognizing loneliness for what it is and dealing with it in the healthiest ways.
1. Realize that loneliness is a feeling, not a fact. When you are feeling lonely, it is because something has triggered a memory of that feeling, not because you are in fact, isolated and alone. The brain is designed to pay attention to pain and danger, and that includes painful scary feelings; therefore loneliness gets our attention.
But then the brain tries to make sense of the feeling. Why am I feeling this way? Is it because nobody loves me? Because I am a loser? Because they are all mean? Theories about why you are feeling lonely can become confused with facts. Then it becomes a bigger problem so just realize that you are having this feeling and accept it without over reacting.
2. Reach out because loneliness is painful and can confuse you into thinking that you are a loser, an outcast. You might react by withdrawing into yourself, your thoughts, and your lonely feelings and this is not helpful. At its best, anticipation of loneliness might motivate us to reach out and cultivate friendships, which is the healthiest thing to do if you are sad and alone. When you are a child, and your sadness causes you to cry, you may evoke a comforting response from others. If you’re an adult, not so much.
3. Notice your self deflating thoughts. We often create self centered stories to explain our feelings when we are young, it is not unusual for children to assume that there is something wrong with them if they are not happy. If they are lonely and sad, children may assume other people don’t like them when this is rarely the case.
Victims of bullying may well have fans and friends, but they often aren’t aware of it because the shame and loneliness get more attention. Habitual assumptions about social status continue into adulthood and if you are looking for evidence that the world sucks, you can always find it.
4. Make a plan to fight the mental and emotional habits of loneliness. If you realize you are dealing with an emotional habit, you can make a plan to deal with loneliness. Since healthy interaction with friends is good, make some effort to reach out to others, to initiate conversation and face time even when your loneliness and depression are telling you not to. Yes, it is work, but it is worthwhile, just like exercising is worthwhile even when you are feeling tired or lazy.
5. Focus on the needs and feelings of others, the less attention on your lonely thoughts and feelings. I can walk down the street thinking about myself, my loneliness and the hopelessness of it all, staring at the sidewalk and sighing to myself. Or I can walk down the street grateful for the diversity of people I get to share the sidewalk with, silently wishing them good health and good fortune, and smiling at each person I meet. The latter is more fun, even though I sometimes have to remind myself to do it on purpose.
6. Find others like you. Now days there are more tools than ever before to find out where the knitters, hikers or kiteboarders are congregating so that you can get together with those who share your interests. This makes it much easier to identify groups with which you will have something in common, a natural basis for beginning a friendship.
7. Always show up when meeting up with others. You don’t have to run for president of the knitters society at your first meeting. But you do have to show up. I have been telling others to practice yoga for 20 years and promising I would do it myself for just as long, but except for the occasional coincidental yoga offering at a retreat, I didn’t take the trouble of finding a class I could attend regularly until a month ago. Now I am enjoying it and it wasn’t that hard. I have put a reminder in my phone to resign from the procrastinator’s society.
8. Be curious, but don’t expect perfection or applause. Each time you show up is an experiment, a micro adventure in social bonding. If you are curious about and interested in others, they will be attracted to you because you are giving them attention. So you will get attention in return. Curiosity about others also takes your focus away from those painful feelings that tend to make you hide and sulk.
9. Kindness goes a long way. “There’s nobody here but us chickens.” This is one of my favorite lines from The Lazy Man’s Guide to Enlightenment by Thaddeus Golas. Underneath the impressive facades of the high fliers are the same set of emotions we all are born with. Celebrities suffer from stage fright and depression too.
You have the power to offer loving kindness and generosity of spirit to all you come into contact with. It isn’t instinctual to be kind to strangers or people who scare you. But it is a choice. It is a choice that Jesus and Ghandi used intentionally. And in the long run it is a winning choice. The alternative, being mean or stingy with those you don’t know well, can get you a reputation as a Scrooge.
10. Be persistent even if a particular group does seem to be a dead end for you, try another. AA and AlAnon recommend that everyone try six different groups to find one that suits you best. If you are persistent, challenging the assumptions and feelings that tell you to give up and resign yourself to a life of loneliness, and showing up and being curious and kind to others and more and more groups, the odds are in your favor.
And once you have a friend or two, nourish those friendships with time and attention. Don’t be too cautious about whether you are giving more than you are getting at first. If you make more friends and some of them are takers, you can choose to spend more time with the friends who reward your friendship.
Mindfulness and its proven impact on loneliness: What you should know
(BPT) – Maybe you know someone who stands by taking five minutes each morning to meditate or finds time after lunch to quiet his or her mind and focus on breathing. Whatever the method may be, incorporating “mindfulness” practices into your life can have a wide range of positive health benefits like improving your memory, sleep and immune system; reducing stress and feelings of loneliness and increasing compassion toward others and yourself.
Mindfulness means taking time to pay attention to yourself and your thoughts and feelings. Read on to learn how you can put mindfulness into practice in your life to help improve your overall health.
How to make mindfulness a routine part of your day.
- Find five to ten minutes each day to sit quietly and focus on your breath. (Helpful hint: Put your phone on silent or in another room so you can concentrate!) Take the time to notice where your mind goes and how your body is feeling. You just might find that this helps you focus and prioritize your day.
- Before you go to bed take time to focus on the good things that happened that day. Write your thoughts down in a journal. Writing them down can help you deliberately recognize the positive, even on a tough day.
- Search for “mindfulness apps” on your smartphone or tablet that lead you in a mindfulness exercise. For many people, using an app is an easy way to remain consistent with the practice. And many of these apps are free!
Feeling lonely? Mindfulness can help.
Mindfulness has been shown to help older adults overcome a silent but urgent health issue: loneliness. It is estimated that more than half of adults age 65 and over regularly experience moderate to severe loneliness. Loneliness is characterized by a marked difference between someone’s desired companionship and actual relationships. Through unique studies conducted by UnitedHealthcare and AARP, researchers are applying the techniques of mindfulness to help combat loneliness in older adults.
Loneliness poses a serious threat to the quality of life for older adults. It is linked to negative health outcomes such as higher risk of dementia, mortality and disability.
“The health risk of chronic loneliness, in older adults, is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day, and has a greater impact on mortality than obesity,” said Dr. Charlotte Yeh, M.D., chief medical officer, AARP Services Inc. “That is why UnitedHealthcare and AARP Services Inc. are collaborating to identify actionable solutions, geared for any individual across the spectrum of loneliness.”
Researchers looked at whether mindfulness interventions, like breath awareness, self-compassion and kindness exercises, could positively impact a person’s optimism and quality of life — all factors that help reduce loneliness.
Conclusions were encouraging: Mindfulness activities were shown to decrease loneliness among older adults. The research demonstrated that mindfulness reduced stress, and improved memory, sleep, the immune system, resiliency and compassion for self and others.
Although loneliness is complex and challenging to address, a mindfulness practice may help you live your best life.
The messages we give to ourselves every day have enormous power. Anything that is repeated and repeated and repeated can become “truth” — even when it isn’t. Any coach will tell you that practice doesn’t necessarily make perfect but it certainly does make permanent.
Repeating negative messages can wear down our sense of self as surely as a constant stream of water will wear down even the hardest stone. Repeating positive messages, on the other hand, is more like creating a pearl in an oyster. With each additional positive message, our confidence and competence grows.
Positive psychologists have studied this extensively. As long ago as the 1950s, Abraham Maslow said that a self-actualized person is someone who focuses on her talents and strengths. Director of the Penn Positive Psychology Center Dr. Martin Seligman, who has been called the father of positive psychology, has found that when people identify and use their top strengths regularly, they can be more productive and can experience a high level of self-esteem. (If you’d like to identify your top strengths, you can take Dr. Seligman’s free quiz).
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has concluded that positivity helps “broaden our ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical.”
What all this means on a practical level is that deciding to emphasize the positive is the key to a happy and productive life. Yes, deciding. Where we put our attention is a decision. It can seem like dark clouds cover every silver lining. But that silver lining is still there if we look for it.
Feeling good (or at least better) will not happen if we tell ourselves over and over that we are helpless and the situation is hopeless. To strengthen or improve our mental health, we all need to think the way mentally healthy people think: Shifting our focus from all that is wrong to whatever we can find that is good, positive and possible in ourselves, other people and in our situation is the key to thriving.
7 Things Mentally Healthy People Tell Themselves
“I am a lovable.” No child is born who is not lovable. Look at any newborn. That button nose and those tiny fingers and toes are meant to engage adult’s protective and loving feelings. You were no different. The adults around you when you were small may have been too wounded, too ill or to overwhelmed to love you but that is on them. You were and are — just by the fact of your existence — a lovable person.
“I am capable.” From the time they take their first breath, humans are wired to learn, to adapt, and to grow. You have been learning and growing every minute. You may not have been taught all you need to know to manage your feelings or to take care of yourself. You may have learned unusual behaviors or in order to survive. But you are never too old to learn new skills. Anything you’ve learned that is not helpful or healthy can be unlearned.
“Most other people are lovable and capable, too.” It’s crucial not to let negative or painful experiences with a few negative or toxic individuals color our opinion of everyone. The majority of people in the world do mean well and are doing the best they can. Once we’re adults, we can choose who we want to surround ourselves with. We can seek out the people who are living lives that are decent, warm and contributing good to the world.
“Success comes from doing.” It’s been proven over and over again by researchers: Feeling good comes from doing good things. Positive self-esteem is the outcome, not the prerequisite, for being successful in relationships, school, work, sports, hobbies — just about anything. We all have a choice whether we wait to feel better or we do the things that we know will help us become better.
“Challenges are opportunities.” Life isn’t always easy or fair. How we meet challenges and obstacles is a choice. Healthy people find ways to engage with a problem and look for ways to solve it. They refuse to let their fears keep them from trying something new, even if it is difficult. Stretching ourselves outside of our comfort zones is what helps us grow. Mentally healthy people also recognize that sometimes the opportunity hidden inside a challenge is the opportunity to say “no.” Not all problems are worth solving. Not all problems can be “solved” as they are defined.
“It is only human to make mistakes”: Mentally healthy people know that a mistake is not the reason to give up. It is an opportunity to learn and try again. Willingness to acknowledge and fix our errors is a mark of strength. Cultivating the courage to be imperfect is central to being willing to try again.
“I have what it takes to cope with change — and to make changes.” Change is inevitable in life. Mentally healthy people believe in their ability to cope and to adapt to changes. They aren’t unrealistic. They don’t deny the seriousness of a problem. They do acknowledge when a situation is very difficult. They don’t criticize themselves for not wanting to deal with whatever it is they have to deal with. But they have a deep seated belief that if they do tackle the problem, they will eventually find a solution or a way around it.
You’re taking a 12-question biology test. You get 10 questions right and 2 questions wrong. You decide, “I’m stupid.” You tell a joke that your friends don’t quite get. You decide, “I always play the fool.” Your boyfriend breaks up with you. You decide, “I’m unlovable.”
When we lack self acceptance we bully ourselves into a rigid pursuit of perfectionism. We mercilessly judge, critique and flog ourselves into an impossible quest that dooms us to failure, guarantees unhappiness, and even induces physical and mental health problems. According to Richard Holden’s book, “Happiness Now!”, “Happiness and self acceptance go hand in hand.”
HERE ARE SOME SUGGESTIONS FOR FINDING SELF ACCEPTANCE:
LAUD YOUR STRENGTHS
Many people scrutinize perceived weakness and are dismissive of their strengths. The more we think about these shortcomings, the more ingrained they become, until they cast a long shadow over our merits. You can focus on your virtues and abilities by writing them down. If you’re struggling to write a list, simply write down one thing a day (and don’t criticize yourself for not writing more).
You can begin with something simple, such as, “I’m compassionate.” As the list grows, the old script withers. You’ll start recognizing your strengths, such as intelligence, creativity, problem solving and leadership.
Reinforce your self-esteem by listing the challenges you’ve surmounted, the goals you’ve achieved and the lives you’ve touched. Keep adding to this list.
It’s often easier to forgive others than to forgive ourselves. Past regrets can hobble our pursuit of self-love. Forgive yourself and move on. Learn from your mistake, use it as an opportunity for growth and remember that you can’t change the past. Remind yourself that you’re not that person anymore. If guilt bubbles up, tell yourself, “When I made this decision I didn’t know what I know now.”
SILENCE YOUR INNER CRITIC
Our brain is wired with negativity bias,a type of radar that seeks out negativity in order to protect us. This early warning system served our prehistoric ancestors well when a predator was looming. Now, however, our brain vilifies minor things such as a misplaced set of keys, a bad haircut — triggering our inner critic to pounce on and magnify small infractions one hundredfold.
When the inner critic throws a tantrum, manipulating you to believe, “If I lose, I’m a failure,” it can help to repeat a calming, supportive mantra such as, “I’m only human and I’m doing the best I can with what I know right now.” The critic thrives on black and white statements. Take comfort in the fact that our errors and shortcomings can be positively regarded as chances for growth and acceptance of self.
FORGET ABOUT IMPRESSING OTHERS
We often fixate on finding acceptance by “looking good” to others, and beat ourselves up if their reaction is lukewarm or nonexistent. We seek their validation that we’re smart, accomplished, lovable, and base our own assessments of ourselves on theirs. This also puts us in a miserable place of subjugation.
On your path to acceptance of yourself, know that if you cater to others and try to do so without failing or having missteps, your fear of mistakes will make you live so hesitantly that you’re not really living at all. What you can achieve has nothing to do with what others think is possible for you.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
Many people refuse to allow themselves even a morsel of kindness because they believe that it is selfish, undeserved or a sign of weakness. Weakness, however, is part of being human. When you love yourself you discover acceptance of yourself. Accepting yourself germinates when you love yourself because of your flaws, not despite them.
CELEBRATE SMALL WINS
You don’t have to swim the English Channel, marry a rock star, or write a bestseller for your achievements to have meaning and value. What about the rose bushes you nurtured that finally burst into blossoms? Or your diligent couponing that slashed $30 off your last grocery bill? How about the first time your child tied his shoes?
When you acknowledge the small stuff, these achievements build upon each other to strengthen your sense of competence and confidence. In his book, “The Power of Habit,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Charles Duhigg says, “Research has shown that small wins have enormous power and influence disproportionate to the accomplishments of the victories themselves.”
We — not the outside world — can be our own worst enemies, sabotaging acceptance of ourselves with grueling self-judgment, criticism and loathing. As a result, we don’t grow, and our world becomes smaller and smaller, constricting like a noose around our neck. Happily, this doesn’t seal your fate.
Self acceptance is your birthright, and these tips can help you achieve it.
“Love who you are, embrace who you are. Love yourself. When you love yourself, people can kind of pick up on that: they can see confidence, they can see self-esteem, and naturally, people gravitate towards you.” – Lilly Singh
Everyone needs a boost every once in a while. As much as we like to think that our self-esteem is fine, it always helps to give ourselves little boosts and reminders. If you find that your day-to-day life could use a little self-esteem boost, never fear. You’re not the only one, not by a long shot!
“Recognizing inner worth, and loving one’s imperfect self, provide the secure foundation for growth. With that security, one is free to grow with enjoyment, not fear of failure — because failure doesn’t change core worth,” says author of The Self-Esteem Workbook Glenn R. Schiraldi, Ph.D.
If you’re looking to find tricks that will help boost your self-esteem whenever you need it, look no further. You’ll be able to get your own self-esteem back up in no time.
10 SELF-ESTEEM TIPS TO MAKE YOU FEEL PROUD OF WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW
1. LOOK AT YOUR LIFE OBJECTIVELY
If things aren’t going so well, take a step back. Are they really that bad? It doesn’t do anyone any good to compare your suffering to someone else’s, but stepping back and looking at your life and situation objectively can help you stop feeling so low. After all, things probably aren’t as bad as they seem at first. Once you’re able to see that, your self-esteem will bounce back easily.
2. ADMIRE PAST ACHIEVEMENTS
When your self-esteem feels like it’s falling, don’t forget to look back at all the things you’ve accomplished. Look at where you were two years ago versus where you are now. Look back on all your school awards, your accomplishments, job advancements or relationship milestones. Whatever reminds you of how far you’ve come! It’ll make you feel much better.
3. ACKNOWLEDGE 5 POSITIVE THINGS
Sometimes, it can be hard to see the good things in life, and that can damage our self-esteem. When that happens, try pointing out five positive things about yourself and your life. Maybe you’re good at making people feel better, or great at handling difficult phone calls. No positive thing is too big or too small to make you feel better. Remember, “Reminding yourself of all your assets is a sure confidence booster,” says licensed psychologists Leslie Sokol, Ph.D. and Marci Fox
4. DETOX YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Seeing the carefully constructed lives of all the people around us can really start to put us in the dumps. It looks like people are doing and achieving so many amazing things, and it feels like we’re just stuck. To boost your self-esteem, turn off your social media. Delete your apps, log out, and focus on your life. Enjoy your time with friends and family without documenting it on Instagram or Snapchat.
5. READ AN OLD DIARY
If you have a journal that you’ve kept since high school, then a good way to feel a little better about yourself is to read back through it. All of your silly, high school drama will seem so hysterical now. It’s a good way to remind yourself that you’re not that person anymore, and thank god!
6. GIVE YOURSELF A PEP TALK
Yep, out loud. Talking to yourself is a great way to shake yourself out of feeling poorly. Not only that, but talking out loud to yourself is guaranteed to make it easier to internalize your messages.
“Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. You are, after all, a miracle of consciousness, the consciousness of the universe,” adds psychiatrist, philosopher and author Neel Burton, MD.
So, when you’re feeling particularly low, give yourself a pep talk. Treat yourself the way you would a close friend.
7. NO NEED TO BE PERFECT
Analyze your perception of what ‘perfect’ means. Are you trying to reach the heights of someone else, or are you trying to achieve an impossible standard? Letting yourself stop worrying about being perfect can be an amazing self-esteem boost.
Ariana Grande once said, “Be happy with being you. Love your flaws. Own your quirks. And know that you are just as perfect as anyone else, exactly as you are.” Remember, perfection is entirely subjective. Doing your best can be perfect, and your best won’t be someone else’s best. It’s all about doing what’s right for you.
8. YOU’RE NUMBER ONE
Sure, doing things for friends and family members is important, but you have to remember that it’s okay to put yourself first sometimes. If you need a day to relax, it’s okay to say “no” sometimes. Don’t be afraid to put yourself first if you need to have time to let your self-esteem reboot. It’s okay to treat yourself when things get too much!
9. BE SPONTANEOUS
Get in your car and take a road trip one town over! Go out to a new bar! Play a game you usually wouldn’t, or read a genre of book you’ve never tried before. Being spontaneous and acting out of character can be a great way to change up your life and give you a little boost of excitement. When we’re feeling low, sometimes all we need is a little change of scenery.
10. HANG WITH FRIENDS
This is a sane way to remind yourself how loved and appreciated you are. When you’re not feeling so hot, getting together with friends is an automatic self-esteem booster. After all, friends are there to lift you up and validate you.
“A healthy dose of skepticism and uncertainty about ourselves is a good thing because it helps us make better decisions. No one knows everything or has perfect instincts, and having good friends on whom we can rely for advice helps improve our sense of self-confidence and make better decisions,” says psychologist and author Irene S. Levine, Ph.D.
Don’t be afraid to reach out when you need some self-esteem boost. Your friends will always have your back!
No matter how you usually feel in your day-to-day life, it’s probably true that your self-esteem isn’t always infallible. You may need a reminder from time-to-time, like everyone. Learning the best way to boost your self-esteem will make it easier for your self-esteem to stay high.
- More than one-third of married couples in Canada sleep in separate bedrooms.
- Having a low opinion of yourself is not modesty. It’s self-destruction.
- People who eat fish at least once a week have thicker, stronger and more resilient brains.
- 71% of breakups happen because of mood swings.
- Every year, about 86,000 people are injured by tripping over their pets.
|Ranch dressing (and many other foods) contain titanium dioxide to keep it white
– Titanium dioxide is also used in most sunscreens and might be a carcinogen.
- When soft music is playing in the background, people are able to focus better.
- Kissing can increase your lifespan.
- Studies have proven that driving in city traffic is just as stressful as participating in extreme sports like skydiving.
- Ranch dressing contains titanium dioxide to keep it white – Titanium dioxide is also used in most sunscreens and might be a carcinogen.
I know from my own experience and behavior, and that of my clients, that it’s very easy to forget which behaviors are good for me. This is particularly true when I’m stressed, tired, excited, or out of my usual environment. At times like these, good habits are forgotten and beneficial behaviors go by the wayside.
I strongly suspect this is the case for most people, so I’ve created a well-being checklist to help you get back on track and support yourself. By practicing some of these behaviors you can lessen your stress and stop yourself from becoming burnt out or exhausted. As a result, you’ll feel more relaxed and able to enjoy your leisure time.
What’s my sleep like?
Most people need six to seven hours of good quality sleep. (There are exceptions, but not many.) Make sure you are not overstimulated before bed, and don’t eat a heavy meal, exercise, or use electronic devices within two hours of going to sleep.
What’s my digestion like?
Eating too much fat and sugar, having too much caffeine, and eating a high-carbohydrate diet depletes our energy, even if we get an initial boost from it. Small amounts of good protein, fruits, vegetables, seeds, and nuts all support our system. Try to nurture your gut by chewing your food well and not eating in a hurry. And follow the 80/20 rule by eating well 80 percent of the time and pleasing yourself 20 percent of the time.
How much do I drink?
First, are you hydrated? Make sure you get enough liquids on hot days and busy days, preferably water. Second, how much alcohol do you drink? Alcohol is a depressant that slows down your immune function and can damage your liver and cells. Try to have three or four days when you don’t drink, and keep an eye on quantity. Also, alcohol disrupts your sleep pattern.
How do I feel about myself? How’s my self-esteem?
Do you like yourself and think you are doing a good job in or out of the home? You can improve your well-being by recognizing when you do well: Finish the laundry, then sit and have a cup of coffee. Got that project done on time? Treat yourself to your favorite sandwich. When things don’t go so well, be your own cheerleader. What can I learn from this? Maybe I need to ask for help. Make your self-talk positive.
How fast am I going?
Speeding up is a natural response when we are under stress. Unfortunately it tells our body and brain that there is a threat. Initially you will be able to respond faster, but soon you will exhaust yourself and become anxious. Slow down and assess the situation. Maybe you need more help, maybe the tasks you have to complete in one day are too numerous, or maybe your expectations are unrealistic. Whatever the case, driving yourself forward is not the answer. Learn to prioritize and be realistic and let the rest go.
Do I regularly multitask?
Constantly doing two or three things at the same time means you do none of them to the best of your ability, and you fail to get the most out of what you are doing. If you’re at your child’s school play and you’re texting, where’s your focus? How much are you enjoying yourself? Juggling is not a good thing to do every day unless you work for the circus. There’s a reason we don’t ask surgeons to re-wire our houses or plumbers to teach physics or professors to cook restaurant meals. I’m sure there are people who are multi-talented but specializing is better for us (and usually better for those around us).
Do I have one or two really good friends I can count on, and do I keep in touch with them?
Social contact with people who know and understand us is supportive and relaxing. Humans are social animals who need nurture, contact, and approval. Make sure you’re getting this. We need to be with people with whom we can just be ourselves and be appreciated for who and how we are. If your family doesn’t fit the bill, seek out friends who do and make sure you nurture these relationships; they can keep you afloat when something goes seriously wrong and support you and engender resilience in everyday life. (see: Weiss, R.S. (1974), The Provisions of Social Relationships)
How much of my day do I spend interacting with electronics instead of people?
This is fine, up to a point. You may be an IT specialist and that’s your job. However, humans need human contact for support, self-worth, and fun. Make sure that you put away your phone and turn off the computer and TV now and again and have an “electronics holiday.” We are not designed to have relationships long distance. Contact and interaction support our humanness and well-being. Make sure you get your share.
What do I do on a daily basis that gives me leisure and/or pleasure?
We all need downtime. Do you have a hobby? Do you read? Do you play a sport? Humans are designed to play, so try to find time for something that you enjoy that gives you a break from your normal tasks. Additionally, do you take pleasure in small everyday things? This can be as simple as a cup of coffee on your way to work, enjoying the view from your office window, or appreciating the man who always says hello to you. Don’t take these things for granted—everyday small pleasures improve our life. You can join in by smiling at people and saying thank you for small courtesies.
How grateful am I?
A sense of gratitude can boost your well-being and even alleviate depression. I suggest that at the end of every day you find at least three things to be thankful for. They can be basic, simple things, such as “the roof over my head” or “legs that take me wherever I want.” This brings into your awareness how fortunate you are. Not everyone has these things. Don’t forget to thank your family, partner, and friends, too. People who feel fortunate and express gratitude are more optimistic and resilient. If you do this every day for a month, the list of positive things you notice will grow exponentially and the list of things that are wrong in your life will shrink and lose their ability to affect you.
Remember, this is my list, compiled from working with clients and monitoring my own bad habits, so not everything on it may resonate with you. We are designed to pick up when things aren’t right for us, so trust your instincts and start to support yourself both physically and mentally—you’ll see your well-being soar.
HERE ARE 5 THINGS THAT HAPPEN WHEN YOU’RE IN AN HONEST RELATIONSHIP:
1. YOU GROW SPIRITUALLY AND EMOTIONALLY.
When you are in an honest relationship, you learn things about yourself through your counterpart. You grow together in many aspects. You enrich each other. No one is pushing anyone. You are both gently expanding and changing to the best parts of yourself. An honest union enhances each other to grow. They support one another in careers, parenthood, spirituality, health, sexuality, and other facets of life. As individuals you thrive, and together you are a team.
2. YOU ARE VULNERABLE, AND IT’S FREEING.
Trust is underrated in relationships. It’s that one component that binds partnerships. Once that’s gone, it’s difficult to get it back. Vulnerability is perhaps the glue that holds an honest union together. It takes courage and strength to be raw. By exposing all to one another, you are set free of expectations, assumptions, and disappointments. There are no guessing games. There is no hidden agenda. You can show the strong and weak parts and still be loved by your partner.
In an honest relationship, there is no criticism because you are both open to whatever happens. This becomes part of the attraction. It’s not based on co-dependency, but rather the admiration of strength and courage. At times, life is a journey of challenges and difficult circumstances, but together you make it through.
3. YOU FORGIVE EASILY.
There are no perfect relationships, because we are imperfect humans. We will make mistakes. We will have bad days. You will argue and disagree on many things, however you don’t hold grudges. You get past it and move to the next issue. You learn that holding anger is destructive, so you move away from it by letting things go. Forgiveness solidifies the partnership. You learn the art of agreeing to disagree while still supporting the other. As Martin Luther King Jr. quoted, “Forgiveness is not an occasional act, it is a constant attitude.”
4. YOUR SELF-WORTH IS IN A HEALTHY PLACE.
You can both admit your weaknesses and still love one another without judgment. Dr. Dovid Lieberman, speaker and author has dedicated his research on self-esteem in his book, Real Power, in which he shares, “When a person has very low self-esteem, it does not matter how accomplished he appears; such a person is dependent upon everyone and everything to feed his ego…. A healthy sense of self-esteem endows us with the ability to give. To the degree that we do not like ourselves, we cannot receive, we can only take. The more self-esteem we have, the more we are whole, as receiving is a natural consequence of giving.”
When we are in an honest relationship, we feel good about ourselves. We can transform and transcend love for ourselves because we are being emotionally sustained.
5. YOU LEARN TO COOPERATE, COMPROMISE AND COMMUNICATE.
In this new era of self-promotion, it seems that communication is not always available. Most people put themselves out there in social media without any regard to their partner’s feelings. But, healthy-loving relationships understand and accommodate each other. They affirm one another to meet their needs. Compromising is healthy, but it can also lead to unhealthy boundaries where one partner is constantly taking and the other is always giving. Cooperation is a unit and you learn to faithfully support one another. But without communication, there is nothing.
The key to an honest relationship consists of the 3C’s: cooperation, compromising, and communication. Honest relationships don’t take the other person for granted. They don’t bulldoze one another. They know that in order to succeed in their partnership, there is equal parts of giving and receiving. There are times that they will need one to help pull the other up. Communication allows them to freely share without feeling used or abused.
Honest and loving relationships learn from each other. They learn new perspectives, share goals, and succeed because they are a team. They grow through the changes. They compromise, share, support and most of all, provide a safe haven for their souls to transcend. There is nothing more beautiful than the authenticity from your partner who is also your best friend.
Writer Paulo Coelho has an incredible line in the book, The Alchemist, that reads: “Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” When you are in an honest relationship, your heart feels the priceless treasures. From the time we are children, we are exposed to fairy tales. Little girls begin believing in hopeless love. Little boys play games about knights and saving others. What entails a loving and honest relationship? You might have to kiss a lot of frogs before finding your “One,” but when you do, you will know it.