Our self-esteem tends to rise and fall over time and can sometimes take a battering if we have a negative life experience. Our self-esteem is determined by our view of ourselves which is formed from our experiences and relationships both in the past and present.
The great news is that there are some practical things you can do to raise your self-esteem and the even greater thing is that you can start right away!
Accept compliments. It’s amazing how many of us brush off a compliment when it comes our way. This is bad for our self-esteem because it means we’re telling ourselves that we’re not worthy of the compliment, or that we don’t deserve it. It can also make the compliment giver feel rejected! Many people feel embarrassment when receiving a compliment but all you need to say is ‘thank you’. This doesn’t need to be followed by a justification such as ‘well I was just lucky’ or ‘I didn’t do anything really’. Don’t give those kind of negative thoughts space.
Assert yourself. I don’t mean by picking fights! Being able to share your view with others reminds us that our opinions are worth having and are valuable. By always agreeing with other people even if we don’t share the same opinion, it adds to our feeling that other people are in some way better than us and can even make us appear inauthentic.
Say no. When you say ‘yes’ to something you don’t want to do or don’t have time to do, you’re saying ‘no’ to you. Prioritise yourself sometimes.
Prioritise me time. You are as important as anyone else in your life. Put aside time to do things that you enjoy, especially if you are someone always doing things for others.
Consider all the possibilities. It’s very easy to make blanket statements which aren’t necessarily accurate. For example ‘I’m always so unlucky’ or ‘I never win at anything’. Is it really so black and white as this, or is it that you are sometimes unlucky or don’t always win at things? Can you think of a time when things have gone your way?
Let go of comparing yourself to others. Perhaps the hardest of all challenges. A good start is to write a list of positive things about you. Your list could include things about your appearance, personality, things you have done, or anything else you can think of. Read the list when you find yourself comparing you to others to remind yourself that you have positive qualities too.