Self-esteem is something that affects all of us and is so important to our overall wellbeing. Your self-esteem is constantly evolving with the events in your life—it can even change on a day to day basis. Some days you may feel confident and secure in who you are, and other days you may feel like you can’t do anything right. Unfortunately, if you struggle with persistent low self-esteem, it can negatively impact your quality of life. In this blog we will share 7 ways to boost your self-esteem so that you can start feeling better.
How To Improve Self-Esteem in 7 Simple Ways
If you have ever felt stuck or overwhelmed in how to improve your self-esteem, then keep reading! Improving self-esteem is not an easy or quick process, but there are several simple things that you can start doing that will help you start feeling more confident and better about yourself.
1. Become More Aware Of Your Thoughts
Consider your thoughts and feelings objectively and acknowledge them. You may not even be consciously aware of the negative thoughts you’re having about yourself. The first step towards seeing your true value is to understand how you see yourself now. Try keeping track of your thoughts and feelings about yourself each day in a notebook—it can help give you a better idea of what your thoughts are and how often you’re having them over a period of time.
Pro Tip: Practicing daily mindfulness exercises can help us become better aware of our inner world, such as our thoughts, feelings, and body sensations. Read our post here on simple ways to practice mindfulness so that you can start learning to pay attention to your thoughts more!
2. Recognize Self-Esteem Triggers
Low self-esteem is often intensified by particular situations that make you especially nervous, sensitive, or self-conscious. For instance, public speaking or presentations, receiving criticism from others, having a fight or confrontation with someone, and many other situations can often magnify concerns about self-esteem and push them to the surface.
To help improve your self-esteem, it can be useful to explore and recognize what situations seem to make you feel worse. Once you can identify the experiences that are most harmful to your self-esteem, you can begin to anticipate and prepare ahead of time to help protect yourself and practice coping mechanisms without having to avoid those situations.
3. Practice Positive Self-Talk
When you suffer from low self-esteem, you may have the tendency to think the worst of yourself or of an experience you’ve had. It’s easy to get trapped in all-or-nothing thinking patterns, focus too much on the negatives, or even find a way to twist something good into a negative without realizing it.
If you realize your thoughts about yourself are predominantly negative and damaging, it’s time for a change! Remember that your feelings are not facts and practicing positive self-talk can help you change your inner narrative. By being more aware of how you talk to and about yourself, you can identify negative thoughts and begin to replace them with more truthful and positive alternatives. It may seem difficult in the beginning, but stick with it—changing negative thought patterns takes time.
Pro Tip: To engage in more positive self-talk, ask yourself if you would be saying those words to a friend. If the answer is no, you are likely engaging in negative self-talk and need to practice being more self-compassionate. Try speaking to yourself in ways you would to a dear friend or loved one- you deserve kindness, too!
4. Create Boundaries and Stop People Pleasing
Helping others and volunteering your time to a worthy cause can be wonderful for your self-esteem. But this may have the opposite effect when you feel obligated or pressured to help other people, even at the expense of your own needs. If you feel that you are being taken advantage of, or that you aren’t being respected, it can make you feel undervalued. It can also increase chances of burnout and leave you feeling stressed or overwhelmed.
This is why it is so important to learn how to stop people-pleasing behaviour and create healthy boundaries in both your personal and professional life. Think about what would make you feel safe and respected, then set aside time to speak with those you care about to establish those boundaries. Make sure you are clear, specific, and firm; don’t be afraid to enforce your boundaries when needed! It may be a bit nerve-wracking at first, but your wellbeing and relationships will be better for it.
5. Avoid Comparing Yourself To Others
It’s easy to get caught up comparing yourself to others—lots of us do it! Unfortunately, it can also lead to feelings of inadequacy or envy. After all, we see people living their “best lives” constantly on social media, in movies, and even among friends and family in real life. We can become so focused on what others have that our own self-worth can get wrapped up in trying to keep up with others we think are more successful or happier than us.
Instead of focusing on what you can’t do, or what you don’t have, try to remember that everyone is good at something different and another person’s success does not mean your failure. Your journey, your talents, and your hopes and dreams are all unique. Just because you’re following a different path from others and going at your own pace, that doesn’t mean that it’s the wrong path. Stay true to yourself and focus on what makes YOU happy.
6. Try Physical Activity
We often forget or don’t realize that physical and mental health are intimately connected. It may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but getting more physically active can be a great way to boost your self-esteem!
Becoming more active can help improve mood by giving you a little kick of endorphins. And, if your low self-esteem is tied to body image perception, getting more active can also help to improve your confidence and how you view your body. Finally, being more active can help give you a sense of accomplishment and can encourage you to push your own limits. Whether it’s something indoors or outdoors, give physical activity a try!
7. Get Out Of Your Comfort Zone
When you have low self-esteem, it can be common to shy away from anything challenging or unknown. You may be worried about failing or embarrassing yourself. Don’t worry, you’re not alone and it is understandable to feel nervous about trying something new!
However, when you challenge yourself and succeed, even if it’s a small step or victory, you can prove to yourself that you are capable of more than you believe in your moments of self-doubt. Take on new challenges but do not set the target too high: make sure your goals are reasonable and realistic. After you succeed, you can set the target a little bit higher. Leave your comfort zone, but do it gradually. You may even have fun while you’re doing it!
The Bottom Line
Low self-esteem has a huge impact on wellbeing and can make you feel worthless, insecure, and undeserving. When you feel this way, improving your perception of yourself can seem impossible—but change is possible!
Don’t believe every negative thing that you say about yourself, and treat yourself with respect and compassion. It can take time, but hopefully these tips can help you establish a healthier and happier version of yourself.
If you still feel unsure or overwhelmed in how to improve your self-esteem and want some support or guidance, we’re here to help! Inner Growth Counselling offers various in-person and virtual counselling services in Barrie, ON and a number of therapists in Barrie to choose from. Please contact us for more information or to schedule a free consultation or appointment online.
Our team of online and in-person Barrie counsellors provide quality and effective counselling services in Barrie and virtually across Ontario to individuals (6+), couples and families. We also offer an Affordable Therapy Program that provides counselling services in Barrie to individuals (12+) who are facing financial challenges that need mental health support.