7 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem
Last week, a couple of readers asked if I had any tips for increasing self-esteem. So that’s what we’re going to talk about today – how to raise your self-esteem.
Traditional advice includes positive affirmation, recognizing your strengths, and meditation – but my advice includes none of these.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m sure affirmations work wonderfully for some people, but they did not work for me because they seemed like a trick – a smoke screen covering the truth – to my highly analytical mind.
Whether affirmations work really isn’t the point – the point is that the advice I dispense on this site comes from my own experience. In other words, I have to write what I know.
And the truth is, I know what it’s like to suffer from low self-esteem, and I also know what it’s like to finally learn to believe in myself. So every bit of advice that I dispense here today has been battle tested in my own life.
There are no easy fixes here because raising your self-esteem requires hard work, introspection, and dedication. So let’s get to work!
Discard Outdated and Unfair Childhood Evaluations
Many people who suffer from low self-esteem learned to think poorly of themselves during childhood, often because someone of significance disapproved of them: a parent, relative, or peer.
It really doesn’t matter who planted the seeds of your low self-esteem; if you’re still dragging the opinion of someone else around with you, it’s time to formulate your own opinions based upon your life as it exists today.
My own struggles with self-esteem can be traced back to specific incidents in my childhood, often involving the bullying and teasing of peers. Once I understood this, I started telling myself that the opinions of a bunch of grade-school kids formed more than 25 years ago were an awfully flimsy foundation upon which to base my current opinion of myself.
My perspective didn’t change overnight, but it did change.
Take Responsibility for Everything in Your Life
Find a mirror, look yourself in the eye, and say, “I am responsible for everything in my life. And only I have the power to make my life better.”
This is not an affirmation – it’s a reality check. And despite the fact that these words may seem self-defeating, I promise you they are the most liberating words I know.
How wonderful it is to know we have the power to take the reigns of our lives and assume responsibility for all our life circumstances.
Improve Your Trouble Areas
Do you have one or two areas that send you into spirals of despair? If so, fix those areas.
When I was younger, I had terrible people skills, which is one of the reasons my peers rejected me in grade school. But as I grew older, I recognized the importance of correcting the problem within me instead of waiting for the world to change. Today, I’m a skilled communicator, comfortable around people, with no self-esteem issues.
The moral here is simple: If you doubt your intelligence, accomplish something intellectual; if you doubt your social skills, accomplish something social; and if you doubt your physical abilities, accomplish something physical.
At first, it may feel like you’re wrestling a bear; and in a way, you are. A trouble area is a beast that delights in dragging you down into its cave to gnaw on your self-esteem. To defeat the beast, you’ll have to plow through some dark, unexplored parts of your psyche.
As you work through your problem areas, you will probably fail before you succeed, which brings us to my next bit of advice.
Failure is your friend! As long as your failures are moving you closer to your desired end-state, they are good.
When you fail, figure out why and be determined to learn from it. What can you do to improve your chances of success next time? Find someone who has accomplished what you are trying to do and ask for her advice.
We learn from our failures. Just think about how many times you fell before you walked, how many meaningless sounds you made before you talked. If you won’t risk failure, you’ll never grow.
Finish what You Start
Finishing college taught me to believe in my intelligence. Finishing big projects taught me to believe in my leadership skills. Following through on my promises taught me I could be dependable and trustworthy.
By learning to finish what I started, I learned the most important lesson of all: that I was capable.
Sometimes walking away from a problem is the smartest thing you can do, but any decision to quit must come from logic, not fear. Instead of walking away from challenges, meet them head on. Finish what you start on a consistent basis, and you will soon learn to trust yourself.
Join a Productive Club
Find something productive that you love to do (writing, dancing, acting, programming, or whatever) and then find a group of like-minded people who are interested in learning this activity with you.
The group is your support structure and your growth catalyst, and it will help you accomplish something you can be proud of.
Increase Your Positive Relationships
Don’t ask me why, but people with low self-esteem seem to attract abusers, probably because they’re easy to pick on.
If you’re like I was at one point in my life, your radar for evaluating worthwhile relationships may be totally screwed up. In this case, stop evaluating relationships with your heart, and start evaluating them with your mind. Does a person logically appear to be a good influence? If not, consider moving on to a new relationship.
If you surround yourself with positive, supportive people instead of deadbeats and abusers – well, that’s half the battle, isn’t it?
What are Your Tips for Increasing Self-Esteem?.
I hope my 7 tips are able to help you, in some small way, overcome whatever self-esteem issues you’re dealing with. There are many more tips I could share, but I want to turn the conversation over to the readers at this point because I believe we’re stronger as a blogging community than we are alone.
Do you have a tip to help others overcome low self-esteem? If so, leave a comment, and let your contemporaries benefit from your knowledge.
Conversely, if you’re struggling with low self-esteem, let us know.
By looking inward, working hard, and focusing on tomorrow instead of yesterday, I know you can find the healthy self-image you’re looking for.
July 2, 2007 Monday at 10:33 pm