Do you ever feel like you don’t deserve better?
You don’t deserve to have better relationships, to land your dream job or to feel happier. You put other people first, believing that your own needs don’t matter. Or you find it hard to say what you really think, for fear of ‘rocking the boat’?
If so, you could be suffering from low self-esteem. In this blog, we’ll explain more about what it is and what you can do right now to feel better.
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem refers to your opinion of yourself and is often shaped by your negative inner voice and the unique experiences you have in life.
Perhaps your parents were highly critical, or you’ve been badly treated by a partner, bullied at school or work or you have a medical or psychological problem.
As a result, you stick to the ‘safe zone’ in life. You avoid challenging yourself or setting goals because you just want to stay safe even if it means missing out on opportunities.
However, you don’t need to let low self-esteem limit your happiness or prevent you from enjoying life to the full. There isn’t an overnight solution or quick fix. But by following our advice below, you can make a real improvement to your self-esteem.
How to boost your self-esteem
Challenge your negative inner voice
We all have an inner voice that helps us determine right from wrong and prevent us from acting on our impulses. Known as our conscience, this is why you feel guilty when you do something bad or hurt another person.
The only problem is, when our negative inner voices pipe up, we believe it’s the same thing. We believe what it says. We believe that it must be true and we need to listen and act accordingly.
But that’s exactly where the problem lies. Our conscience and our negative inner voice aren’t the same things. That negative voice only wants to punish you, not guide you. By allowing it to take control, you are actually more likely to make bad decisions. Whilst you listen to this voice, you’re handing over your personal power and can never fulfil your true potential.
To overcome it, tune in to the inner workings of your mind and see when that voice of negativity pops up and what it says. Then instead of listening to its nonsense, be brave and challenge what it says. Speak to yourself kindly and notice what a difference it makes.
Highlight the positive
When you have low self-esteem, you’re more likely to focus on the negatives and again, believe that the negative inner voice is true. But you can switch this quickly and easily by doing one small thing- write a list of the awesome things about yourself.
Grab something to write with or even open a digital document and write down your achievements, your talents and even those compliments people give you. Then whenever you notice your negative inner voice taking over (or you simply need to boost your confidence), read through your list again.
By doing so, you’re reminding yourself that there are many wonderful things about you that have value.
Stop comparing yourself to others
It’s only natural to compare yourself to others to a certain degree. That’s simply how we’re built as humans. But if you do it too much and judge yourself negatively, your self-esteem can soon take a hit.
Social media is the worst for that. We see these expertly edited images and curated captions that lead us to believe that everyone else’s lives are so much better than ours. But this simply isn’t true. To overcome this effect, avoid social media as much as possible and try to be grateful for what you already have.
Exercise can help you release those feel-good endorphins that boost your energy, lift your mood, improve your health and build your confidence.
This can make a huge difference to your self-esteem and remind you of the potential that you have. If you can choose a sport like running or working out with weights where you can set yourself a goal, even better.
Give yourself a break
When you have low self-esteem, you are more likely to be self-critical and focus more on your mistakes or perceived ‘failures’.
So again, be kind to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect all the time. You don’t. Everyone makes mistakes and it’s all part of being human. If you really have messed up, think about how you can use it to fuel your personal growth.
Take on a challenge
Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone can remind you of your potential and can work magic on your self-esteem.
What could you do to push yourself? What are you passionate about? Could you indulge in your favourite hobby or learn a brand new one? Even if you’re just going to a new social situation or signing up for a class in something, over time you’ll see results.
Build positive relationships
And finally, your relationships have a huge influence on how you feel about yourself. If they are critical or make you feel bad when you’re around them, avoid them and start building a healthy network of supportive friends who care about you.
If you’ve always had low self-esteem, start thinking of ways you can improve it. Challenge the negative inner voice, focus on your positives, get active, stop comparing yourself to others, build those relationships and most of all, be kind to yourself. You deserve it.