4 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem
In simplistic terms, self-esteem is ones ability to like oneself. However, the term encompasses so much more than that. Having healthy self-esteem is often connected to respecting yourself and believing you are worthy of happiness. If you have low self-esteem, you may believe negative things about yourself, even though they are not true.
Low self-esteem often feeds into other mental health conditions, creating a vicious cycle. For example, someone with anxiety and low-self esteem may think, “I don’t deserve love,” which sends them into a spiral of believing nobody loves them. This belief, in turn, further contributes to low self-esteem.
If this loop sounds familiar to you, improving your self-esteem may help. Boosting your self-esteem will not happen overnight and it will require some effort. However, the benefits of feeling better make it worth your while. Below are four ways you can start reversing the trend of low self-esteem:
Notice and Stop Negative Self-Talk
Negative self-talk is the basis for many problems with self-esteem. After all, it’s difficult to feel good about yourself if you always think negative thoughts, such as:
- “I’m not _______ enough.”
- “I can’t do ______.”
- “Nothing good happens to me.”
- “I don’t deserve _____.”
If your self-esteem has been low enough for long enough, you may not even notice when you think these kinds of thoughts. They become so routine that they don’t stand out as negative or cruel. The first step in improving self-esteem is catching these negative thoughts in the moment.
One way to do this is to challenge your thoughts throughout the day. Ask yourself if you would say the same thing about a loved one. If not, it’s likely negative self-talk. When you catch something like that, you can try to stop the thought in its tracks.
You can think to yourself, “That’s just not true.” Or you can replace the negative thoughts with something positive.
Replace Negative Thoughts with Positive Affirmations
Sometimes the best way to beat negative thinking is to flood it out with positive thoughts. You only have time for so much thinking every day. The more you think good things about yourself, the less room you will have for those unhelpful thoughts.
Try to make sure your affirmations directly contradict your most persistent negative thoughts. For example, if you constantly find yourself thinking that you are ugly, flood your mind with the idea that you are beautiful. Some other examples of positive affirmations include:
- I deserve and have love in my life.
- I am capable of overcoming obstacles.
- I love others and they love me.
- I am smart and strong enough.
- I am doing my best.
- I can change my thought patterns and my life.
- I love myself for exactly who I am.
It may be hard to believe yourself at first. However, over time, you just might find yourself thinking these things out of habit and eventually believing them.
Use Your Strengths to Be Productive
As you practice thinking positive things about yourself, try to identify what makes you great. Everyone has strengths, even if they don’t realize that. Perhaps you’re great at helping people or you have a particular skill. Maybe you are great at organization or have a big creative streak.
Once you identify your strengths, use those to do something productive. For example, if you are an artist, paint. If you are great at organizing things, put that skill to work. Simply accomplishing something can help you feel better about yourself.
Help Someone You Care About
There are many reasons to volunteer or help someone in need. It’s the kind, human thing to do. Additionally, lending someone a hand can boost your self-esteem. Not only can you feel accomplished, but helping someone can remind you that you are good and worthy of love.
Even if you follow all the internet’s tips on improving your self-esteem, you may still need personalized help. The kind, experienced staff at LifeStance Health can help you identify your negative thought patterns and improve your mindset.