Flying high - improve your self-esteem

What is healthy self-esteem? 

Healthy self-esteem is connected to our ability to be assertive, to ask for what we want, but also importantly to let go of the expectation of receiving it. We can affirm our truth and hear and receive another’s truth. We recognise that we are responsible for our own feelings. We can be informed and observe the behaviour of others, rather than react or be controlled by it. We understand that we are the author of our own condition and ultimately ‘what we are not changing we are choosing’ whether it is conscious or not.

Assertiveness can feel fearful and risky as we are not in control of the outcome, but it is ultimately liberating and powerful, for when we are attached to staying in control we betray the part of us that is fearless and as a result we give away our power and authenticity.

Where does low self-esteem originate?

Early on in life you may have learnt that it was not ok to ask for what you wanted directly, show your real feelings, say no to what you didn’t want or act as if you deserved abundance. These are injunctions against having power and are often coupled with disempowering judgments, such as ‘you’re selfish’ from your inner critic (usually of early origin). To change this, act as if your wants and needs are worthy. You will then encourage a new self into existence – one that expects love and abundance, and feels buoyed by extending love and abundance to others

Seven top tips for boosting your self-confidence and self-esteem

  • Say yes when you mean yes and no when you mean no and don’t be afraid to say ‘I don’t know’ when you need more time and space to consider something. Ultimately however, say yes rather than no to life’s opportunities and invitations.
  • Wear clothes, colours and accessories that make you feel good and express your personality. If you are always in jeans for example, experiment with wearing dresses, skirts and heels and notice how this affects your femininity.
  • Develop a compassionate attitude to your self-care, recognising and honouring your unique needs for nourishing foods, exercise that you enjoy and restful sleep.
  • Never compare yourself with others, favourably or otherwise. Just enjoy improving your own performance. See the world with wonder like a child does appreciating nature, music, art and literature – all great ‘food’ for the soul.
  • Plan things you really want to do with people you really want to see and who appreciate you – that way you will have plenty to look forward to.
  • Be willing to progress in your personal development and risk learning new skills. This builds confidence and self-esteem like nothing else.
  • Let go of the need to be perfect in your own or other people’s eyes. Our self-critical, limiting beliefs can send our self-esteem spiralling downwards, making us feel negative and down within minutes. Trust me I know this one and it is an energy zapper to be guarded against at all time! Accept that you are perfect with ‘growing edges’ just like all human beings.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Counselling Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

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Seaford, East Sussex, BN25
Written by Sally Turberville Smith, Dipl. Psych, MBACP, UKCP. Individual & Couple counsellor
Seaford, East Sussex, BN25

I am an experienced counsellor and psychotherapist specialising in relationship issues. I work with individuals and couples who want to understand themselves, their choices and their behaviours better so that they can live happier, more fulfilling lives with less conflict and a greater sense of conn...

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