If you suffer from low self-esteem, you give yourself little credit for your strengths and skills while focusing your attention on what you perceive to be your weaknesses and faults. You also believe that your thoughts and opinions do not hold much value and believe that other people are better than you. While self-esteem begins developing at an early age and is influenced by many factors, there are several ways in which you can raise your self-esteem.
According to Mayo Clinic, several factors influence the development of an individual’s self-esteem. One factor affecting self-esteem is the messages we receive from the important people in our lives, such as parents, siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, clergy, and friends. Other factors affecting the development of self-esteem include: your thoughts, work and school experiences, religion, illness, injury, and disability, your status and role in society, and culture.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others: Sometimes parents will compare us with siblings in an effort to get us to be more motivated or to work harder. While parents may mean well, we begin to learn to compare ourselves to others around us. As we grow older, we are compared to our classmates, co-workers, and teammates. However, comparing yourself to others sets you up for continued low self-esteem. You will always find someone who has more than you do or is better at something than you are. When you notice yourself comparing yourself to the people around you, stop. Remind yourself that you are good at specific tasks, sports, activities, or that you possess positive attributes.
Focus on Your Accomplishments:Higher Self-Improvement Pursuits suggests focusing on your achievements in order to raise your self-esteem. Acknowledge everything you accomplish, no matter how big or small. Focus on how good that accomplishment made you feel at the time you did it. If it helps you, write a list of things you’ve accomplished in your life thus far and read over them often. Accomplishments may include finishing high school, getting an A on a difficult test, sticking with a difficult task until it was completed, winning an award, graduating from college, landing a job, buying a home, raising your kids, and doing well at a sport. You could also make daily accomplishment lists to help remind yourself of everything you accomplished that day, such as cleaning your kitchen, finishing a project at work, remaining calm in a stressful situation, cooking dinner, and so forth. It is important to remember what you did accomplish when making these lists rather than what you didn’t accomplish. You won’t help yourself by beating yourself up over what you wanted to do and didn’t get done; instead, focus on what you finished and feel good about that.
Positive Affirmations: Positive affirmations can help you develop better self-esteem. Positive affirmations will help change the way you think about yourself and talk to yourself. Instead of giving yourself negative messages, you can begin to give yourself positive messages with affirmations. You may go on the Internet and search, “positive affirmations for self-esteem,” and find countless examples of affirmations you can begin to repeat to yourself. For instance, the website Self-Help and Self-Development has examples of 20 affirmations for self-esteem you may utilize. Pick one positive affirmation each day. Write it down and say it to yourself out loud several times throughout the day.
Surround Yourself with Positive People: Surrounding yourself with positive people will also help you develop better self-esteem. When you surround yourself with negative individuals, they may criticize you or give you negative messages about yourself. You will internalize these messages, prolonging your struggle with low self-esteem. On the contrary, surrounding yourself with positive individuals will encourage you to internalize positive messages about yourself, which will in turn help you feel better about yourself.
Accept What You Cannot Change: First, make a list of the things you like about yourself. These may include your ability to be patient, your ability to connect with animals, your smile, your eyes, how much you care about others, and your intelligence. Next, make a list of the things you do not like about yourself. Which of these things can you change? For instance, if you do not like your hair color, you can dye it. If you do not like your short temper, you can work on practicing anger management skills. If you do not like your passive nature, you can work on becoming more assertive.
Next, determine which things on your list of the things you do not like about yourself you cannot change. For instance, you cannot change the fact that you have a physical disability. You cannot change the fact that you have an injury that limits your abilities. You cannot change your race. It is difficult at times to accept the things we cannot change, but it is an important part of developing better self-esteem.
Accept Compliments: The website More Self-Esteem suggests accepting compliments graciously when someone gives them to you. Instead of countering or dismissing compliments, simply say, “thank you,” when you receive them. When you counter or dismiss a compliment, you are telling yourself that you are not deserving of or worthy of praise or acknowledgement. Additionally, when you do not accept compliments graciously, others will likely acknowledge your accomplishments less often.
Stop Putting Up With Unnecessary Stuff: If you have low self-esteem, it is likely that you often do not voice your opinions, thoughts, feelings, and needs because you feel they are not as important as others’. When you do not voice your own needs, thoughts, feelings, and opinions, others tend to walk all over you and get what they need and want. Stop putting up with this! Your needs, feelings, thoughts, and opinions are just as important as those of the people around you. When you voice your needs and thoughts, you are telling yourself that you are worthy of being heard and of getting your own needs met, which will help you begin to feel better about yourself.
If you suffer from low self-esteem, you probably feel pretty badly about yourself right now. Fortunately, you can raise your self-esteem by practicing these strategies on a regular basis.
Mayo Clinic: Adult Health: Self-Esteem Check: Too Low, Too High, or Just Right:
Higher Self-Improvement Pursuits: 10 Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem:
Hypnotherapy: Twelve Valuable Steps to Raise Your Self-Esteem:
Self-Help and Self-Development: Self-Esteem Affirmations:
More Self-Esteem: 10 Ways You Can Kickstart and Begin Improving Self-Esteem: