On a scale of one to five, how much do you love yourself? Does this sound like a weird question? You’d be surprised how many people will not answer in the affirmative. Self-esteem is a huge problem for people of all ages and backgrounds.
A person with low self-esteem usually behaves in one of these two ways: withdrawn or extreme. In the case of the former, a person who lacks a healthy sense of self-confidence and self-worth can ditch all sorts of social interactions. As kids, these are usually the people that get bullied and picked on and do nothing to stand up to the bullies. Other times, the bully can be the one with self-esteem deficiency. These people are not necessarily shy but lack confidence in themselves and their abilities, so they compensate by making others look less than.
Either way, it’s challenging to make significant progress in today’s world with a lingering lack of self-respect, self-worth, and confidence. According to a report referenced on NBC, blue-collar workers with self-esteem issues make $7000 less than their confident colleagues. For white-collar employees, the gap is much broader — $28,000.
Low self-esteem could become an issue at any age and for a myriad of reasons. Perhaps you had a difficult childhood where you were always put down by your family; maybe you’ve failed many times to secure a high-paying client while your counterparts close them quickly; perhaps you had a bad experience on stage, and it still haunts you. Whatever the cause—and there are many possibilities here—self-esteem is thankfully curable. It will take some time and commitment and real-world application, but it is fixable.
Whether you’re a teenager, a struggling professional, a freelancer, or anything else, these 5 ways to improve self-esteem will work for you.
Engage in critical self-reflection
Every self-esteem problem is traceable. If you are intentional about it and take the time to backtrack your life mentally, you will eventually find the cause of your low self-esteem. This should be the very first step on any list about how to gain confidence and repair self-esteem.
Bear in mind that during this exercise, you may uncover memories that are painful. Remember to stay calm and take deep breaths. You may have to think about these memories for a while and embrace the pain until it begins to thaw and loosen its grip on your mind and emotions.
While doing this, don’t forget that the objective is to come to a place of acceptance. You’re not replaying the memories to hurt yourself; you’re doing it so you can accept the past and close the door to it. This way, the path in front of you is much clearer as it is no more clouded by the painful events in your past. Now you can take better stock of your future and your plans. You can easily acknowledge the things that you control and the things that you can. This way, you will begin to be less affected by external stressors and memory triggers, easing your forward movement and the way you deal with life’s challenges.
Control your mental narrative
While criticism can be helpful, it usually has the opposite effect on people with self-esteem problems. Many times, this criticism comes from within. It’s self-sabotaging and unhelpful. Everyone subconsciously talks to themselves; there’s a never-ending dialogue going on in everyone’s mind. It looks very different for confident people and those who lack a healthy sense of self-worth.
For the former, everything feeds their confidence and readies them for more challenges and wins. For the latter, the thinking is mostly negative and only dampens their spirit and mind even further. The key is to take seize this mental conversation and control the narrative.
The first thing to do is to identify the triggers of this negative thinking. It could be your bank balance, your colleague’s relative success, social media noise, etc. The next thing is to identify debilitating trends in this dialogue. You may find that many of them are negative emotional and irrational thinking, not based on concrete facts.
Be intentional about correcting this anomaly and regularly speak positively to yourself. Whether you are with others or alone in front of your mirror, pack your mental narrative chock-full of positive affirmations. It probably sounds like a cliche at this point, but it works.
You may not be able to control all the triggers of negative thinking, but you can undoubtedly channel them to a positive thought process. Think of this as taking your mind to the gym. This one of the best self-esteem activities that can help you form a better outlook and navigate negativity better.
Don’t compare yourself.
Many industries today are explicitly or indirectly structured to make people feel like they don’t measure up. Social media is probably chief among them. According to Pew Research, about 26 percent of teenagers say that viewing social media makes them think their lives are not good enough. This is an intriguing stat, especially given that much of social media is a highlight reel, and nothing more.
The fact is there is always someone better than you in certain areas of capacity. You’re not helping yourself by playing the comparison game. Gregory Chapman of essay writing service review, advocates a strong rapport between his team members. “This not only creates a solid bond between them but also helps them see, albeit subconsciously, that everybody’s got problems and we are all human after all,” says Chapman.
You need to train your brain to understand that you’re not inferior because you make less money, can’t make as many hoops as your athletic friends, can’t seem to talk to ladies (or guys), etc. Of course, improvement should be a never-ending pursuit, but always remember that your only competition is yourself. Other people’s successes are an inspiration at best.
Acknowledge and celebrate your wins
This is an essential strategy and one of the most effective self-esteem boosters for anyone. It is probable that with the amount of energy you’ve spent criticizing and comparing yourself, you have failed to recognize many wins, no matter how small they may seem.
Take the time every day to think back on these wins, acknowledge them, and celebrate them. These wins can be found in your career, family, relationships, and more. Take yourself out, pop a bottle of wine with yourself or your loved ones, do something good for others. Maggie Hanna of Pick The Writer, a writing recommendation service, believes employers should be involved in celebrating their employees’ wins, whether it has to do with the company or not. In her words, “It helps to build a non-toxic office atmosphere and foster employee loyalty.”
This exercise will help anyone feel good about themselves and boost their readiness to take on the next challenge. Of course, you have to be realistic when acknowledging these wins. You don’t want to fall into false modesty, or to reward yourself to the point of inaction.
Build a dependable support group
No one was designed for existing in solitary. We all need other people in different areas of our lives. That’s why people have families, friends, colleagues, and more. These people are ideally supposed to encourage you, celebrate you, and push you when you need to step out of your comfort zone.
But realistically, not all of them will fit into your support group. You should stay away from people who do not make you feel good about yourself. Without them around, you can focus on those who love you and want the best for you.
Having unhealthy self-esteem is not suitable for anyone in any area of your life. Suppose you’ve been looking for how to improve self-esteem. If you want to move forward and leave the self-esteem demons behind, these strategies are an excellent place to start.