Proven tips to boost self-esteem
If you have low self-esteem, the world can seem a very hostile place. It makes us feel dislike and even hate ourselves or things about us. It is easy to assume that because you don’t like yourself others won’t like you either. We may feel guilty for spending time or money on ourselves. While it is not a mental health problem, it is often closely linked with mental health issues like depression and anxiety. When you suffer from low self-esteem, often you miss experiences, opportunities, and relationships in life.
It is difficult to give a single cause of low self-esteem. Many life events can attack our self-esteem and start the downward spiral in our confidence. Events such as experiences in childhood, or perhaps you have been bullied, been made redundant or suffer from illness.
There are simple steps that can break unhelpful thinking patterns build confidence offer a boost to your self-esteem.
Silence the inner critic
Often we will have an inner voice that provides a running commentary. This critical voice can run us down over time. Learn to challenge what this voice is saying by creating a stop word or phrase. It could be as simple as: “stop”. Each time you find yourself berating yourself shout your phrase in your mind then re-focus your thoughts in a more constructive way. Challenge the thought; ask yourself would you talk to your best friend this way? How can you learn from the experience and move on?
Learn to be assertive
Often we will take the easiest path and say yes. Learn to set boundaries that the value what you need. It can be difficult to ask for what you need or want. Notice that your needs are just as important and worthwhile as others and deserve equal billing. Being clear about what you can offer and need makes it easier to say yes and no. Learn to take a breath before saying yes. Check your answer against your values before speaking. Give yourself the opportunity to answer authentically rather than on automatic.
Celebrate the positive
We all have successes in our lives. Yet with low self-esteem we find it much easier to concentrate on our mistakes than our triumphs. Take a moment to review your triumphs and remember that there is a balance here. Each day take a moment to write down 3 good things that have happened to you. These may be simple things such as: “got up in time for work”. Take time to do small things for yourself like accepting compliments rather than batting them away, simply say “thank you”.
If you have lived with low self-esteem for a long period, you can feel powerless to change it. You may have little confidence in your own abilities and each mistake drives the vicious circle convincing you even more of your worthlessness. Yet by taking positive steps and noticing that even mistakes help you to learn things about yourself you can begin to break the cycle. Perhaps counselling may help you get started.
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice, he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.