As children we usually could not choose the messages that made us feel good or bad; as adults, we can choose whether or not we accept or reject these messages. Self-esteem is a process that can be learned and developed if you are ready to make some changes. Following are some steps to help you improve your self-esteem.
1. Take a look at your past successes, as what you focus on expands. This does not have to be huge transformations. This can include “minor victories,” like getting more organized, reaching a business goal, reading a book, from front to back, etc. As you look back and see the accomplishments, recreate the feelings in your body…the feelings of satisfaction and joy you experienced when you first attained each success.
2. If you are feeling stuck in a job/career you hate or despise, get involved in work or activities you love. It is very difficult to feel good about yourself if you are not in alignment with your work/career. Positive self-esteem flourishes when you are engaged in work and activities you love and enjoy, that make you feel good and valuable. If you cannot make the move to explore alternative options at the present time, you can still find solace in hobbies and activities which you find stimulating and enjoyable.
3. Stop comparing yourself with others as there are too many “opponents” – instead say to yourself, “They are authentic, creative, smart, etc. you get the picture…and then say “So am I.”
4. Avoid critical self-judgment. When you repeat negative self-talk, (only humans do this), about yourself and your abilities, you are cutting yourself short from living a much more fulfilling life. In place of the negative self-talk, work with kindness, care and consideration for yourself, if you don’t – who will? Write affirmations such as “I am valuable and deserve to live my best life.” Repeat the statement out loud especially the first part of the day.
5. Live your own life and believe in what you can do and will become. Avoid the mistake of listening to others that have directed what is best for you. If you are living your life based on avoiding rejection from relatives and others, you are not being your authentic self, your self-esteem is lowered. By following your own path you will gain your own respect and feel good about yourself as you are living your right life.
6. Find like minded people, for support, validation, and confirmation. When you associate with and are surrounded with positive and supportive people, you feel better about yourself and this carries over into your outlook on life.
7. Many people have a tendency to focus on their inadequacies and shortfalls, and then wonder why their life is not working the way they would like. Instead, focus on your positive qualities; you do have many of them. Ask family members and others what positive qualities they see in you. They may see you as being unselfish, creative, helpful, loving, etc. When you focus on your positive traits you open up the gates to achieve what you want to create in your life.
8. Offer to help others, volunteer at an organization, school, wild animal shelter, etc. When you give of yourself to those around you, when you do things for others, help human or animal kind, you are making a positive contribution…thus you feel more valued and this raises your confidence and self-esteem.
9. Take that leap of faith. If you live out of fear and self-doubt, if you sit on the sidelines and avoid change or challenges, you won’t develop high self-esteem. When you take the risk in spite of the fear and self-doubt, you feel SO much better about yourself. When you surrender, move forward and believe, your self-esteem will thank you for it.
Many people start life with big dreams, ideas of changing the world, making a mark. Then over the years, their self-esteem is undermined by their own inner voice or that of others.
Embrace who you really are and become empowered. You have enormous potential and capacity for experiencing love and kindness for self. As you begin to take more risks, are not as afraid of failure; and not as concerned with the approval of others, your self-esteem flourishes. More of the authentic you will emerge and you extend that love to others. You find an inner peace and truly appreciate the magnificent person you truly are.
As usual, I would love to hear from you, what will be your first step?
Other insights or stories you would like to share, let us know in the comments below.