How can we increase our self-esteem?
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Sally Klinkenborg, (MNCS (Acc.), Ad Prof Dip PC, MBACP
25th September, 2010
Self-esteem could be regarded as a natural by-product of engaging with life positively and healthily.
Low self-esteem often originates in childhood. Once this is recognised and has been explored, it is not necessary to dwell on this. It is helpful however to look at ways in which self-esteem can be increased.
We can increase our self-esteem by the following:
Mastering a skill - becoming competent at something. This could be learning to play an instrument; taking up a new occupation; joining a group or organisation; finding a new leisure pursuit.
Knowing that we are loved by family and friends, or people who are significant to us; being accepted for who we are - being shown unconditional love and acceptance.
Becoming engrossed in an activity. This could be painting or drawing; reading a book; meditation; something where we need to focus and concentrate.
Doing something for others. This can work in two ways: we feel that we are contributing something useful and also we are taking our minds away from whatever is troubling us. There can be a sense of accomplishment and achievement.
This is linked to focussing outwards, as we are more likely to feel good about ourselves this way. As human beings we need to make a connection to others that will give meaning to our lives.
Keeping a journal. By making a record of our achievements, however small, and how they made us feel, we can increase our self-esteem. We will then know what helps us to become a person who is grounded and leads a meaningful life.
So be realistic about your self-esteem. If you feel that this needs increasing, then look firstly at what caused it to be low. Then focus on what you can do to increase it, using the above as a guide. You may need to enlist the help of a qualified therapist to do this. This is a courageous step that can ultimately help in lifting your self-esteem.
Finally, be kind to yourself - you are human and therefore fallible and cannot always get things right. But, because you are human, fallible and unique, you are worthwhile.
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