Do you feel anxious around other people, or often find yourself self-deprecating or speaking negatively about things more often than you speak positively about them? Do you constantly doubt your looks, your intelligence, your abilities, and play down your accomplishments in front of others, or yourself?
While modesty and humility can be positive traits, low self esteem is not. To have low self esteem is to devalue your own worth, and to hold yourself back from being the person you want to be – or the person that you already are!
If you’re reading this guide, you’ve mostly likely made the first step towards learning how to overcome low self esteem, and that’s great. Most people suffer from low self esteem to varying degrees; it’s totally normal.
Read on for some everyday lifestyle tips for improving your self esteem. You can also check out this self-confidence boosting course to learn more healthy living, self-esteem raising practices.
Tip #1: Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Everyone in the world is different. Different personalities, different likes and dislikes, different living situations, different life circumstances, different privileges, different issues, different abilities, and so on. There is no point in comparing yourself to other people, because you can never know another person’s life story or circumstances completely. What is easy for one person is not necessarily easy for everyone else.
Learn to stop comparing your own abilities, successes, and failures to that of other people. Create standards for yourself based on where you want to be in life, not where you think you should be according to others. This is easier said than done, of course, but the first step towards being happy with yourself is to stop using other people as a measure or standard of your own happiness. Having inspirations or positive influences is great, but not if they’re going to make you feel bad about yourself.
Tip #2 : Talk to Yourself in the Mirror Every Day
People with low self esteem often also suffer from social anxiety. The two usually go hand in hand. If this is the case with you, it helps to practice speaking with yourself aloud in the mirror every day. It doesn’t matter what you talk about; this should be a private meeting between you and yourself, with nobody around to be feel embarrassed about.
Try this right now. Even though you’re by yourself, with nobody else around, do you still feel embarrassed? This is because people with social anxiety and low self esteem usually aren’t afraid of other people – they’re afraid of themselves. Learn how to communicate with yourself, how to identify your wants and feelings, and be comfortable by yourself before you try to force yourself out into the open.
If you can feel secure with yourself, you are making the first steps towards feeling secure around others. Learn more about reclaiming your self-esteem with this guide.
Tip #3: Celebrate Every Success
Reward yourself for every success, no matter how small. Did you finish up a really important project at work? Take yourself out to dinner. Did you finish your homework with time to spare? Take a break by doing something you enjoy – playing a game, watching TV, taking a walk. Maybe you just finished cleaning the house, and don’t have time to do anything. Even so, you should still make the effort to acknowledge that you did something positive, and congratulate yourself for it. Remember to do this every time!
Feeling the weight of every success in life is important for harboring a stronger sense of self-worth, and inspiring you to do more if your self-esteem is nagging you that you don’t do enough. Prove it wrong, and revel in the rewards!
Tip #4: Let Yourself be Happy
People who suffer from extremely low self esteem often don’t find themselves deserving of happiness. That voice in your head that tries to convince you that you aren’t worth it is wrong. It might be hard to fight that voice from the inside, so instead of arguing with yourself, prove yourself wrong.
Work on taking initiative in life. When an opportunity for happiness presents itself, take it. Don’t let yourself miss out on the good things because you think you don’t deserve it. For instance, if you’re with friends, and everybody is brainstorming ideas for the night, don’t stay quiet in the back and go along with anything, even if it’s not what you want.
Put your idea out there. Tell them what you think about the different options. Let yourself participate and take control of how your day will go, instead of letting life drag you around without you having a say. You deserve a say.
Tip #5: Do Nice Things for Others
To have low self esteem is to feel under-valued and depreciated. Many self-esteem boosting practices promote an inkling of selfishness, just to outweigh the feeling of worthlessness. You deserve to be happy, and if it means taking some time to do nice things for yourself, then you should absolutely be a little selfish about it.
But, selfishness can only go so far before it becomes too much. To live a good, healthy life, we need to be conscious and empathetic towards other people. Another great way to turn those feelings of depreciation around is to do nice things for others.
Help out a friend, volunteer at a shelter, or assist a stranger in need. People will appreciate you and the time and effort you’ve taken to help them, and it hopefully that will make you feel a sense of worthiness.
You might be wondering if it’s selfish to volunteer just to feel better about yourself. Maybe, but it’s better to feel good doing good for others than to feel bad about yourself and not help anybody, ever! So don’t feel ashamed about doing good deeds to boost your self-confidence – think of it as a mutually beneficial endeavor, and take pride in knowing that you’ve done something positive for somebody else, and yourself.
Tip #6 – Master a Skill
Having low self esteem means doubting your abilities. The best way to combat that is to pick a skill or a discipline you want to master, and do it. It can be as ambitious as learning guitar, or as small as learning to cook a meal. Pick something that interests you and that you have the resources to practice, and get started.
This endeavor should be approached with caution. If you’re somebody who’s prone to bouts of depression following failure, you should hold off on this one until you’ve followed some of the other steps in this list.
On the other hand, this could also be a good learning experience. Learning a new skill is hard, and it’s hard for everyone. Remember that. As you’re struggling to master this one skill, know that your struggle is not indicative of incompetence, but of determination, as long as you don’t give up. Embrace that struggle, and celebrate when you overcome it.
Picking a skill and working on learning it is a good way to confront your fear of failure head-on, since it’s something you can work on in a controlled environment.
If you feel you’ve chosen the wrong skill, and want to move on to something else, that’s fine too. It means you’re brave enough to admit defeat and not see yourself as a lesser person because of it, and you’ve taken the initiative to seek out something more fitting. That’s just as good a lesson as anything else this exercise can teach you.
Check out this guide on self-esteem boosting activities for more options. You can also work on doubling your self-esteem with this course and learn to conquer your self-defeating thoughts with this course.