In this blog post, I’ll share 10 things you can do today to overcome low self-esteem.
Unworthy. Dumb. Irresponsible. Failure. When we suffer from low self-esteem, these are words we might tend to use against ourselves frequently.
And even though we don’t always take these words seriously while we’re using them, they help keep us locked in a cycle where we consistently underrate ourselves.
Having great self-esteem is highly motivational. It helps us make better decisions and allows us to bounce back after a fall. It influences how well we take care of ourselves, and what kind of relationships and interactions we allow into our lives.
You Can Overcome Low Self-Esteem
Furthermore, attaining it isn’t quite as difficult as it may seem right now. Here are ten steps we can begin taking today to help us improve our self-esteem.
1. Question Negative Thoughts
Poor self-esteem thrives on a million little negative thoughts, many of which we barely notice. A classic tip for better self-esteem and less anxiety involves a simple question: “Is it true?”
Each and every time we tell ourselves, “I’m not good at that, I’m too shy and awkward, I don’t have the time,” or whatever else holds us back, we then ask, “Is it true?”
Dive a little deeper, and the answer may surprise you. Often, we cannot say for a fact that it’s true. We may have absolutely NO evidence. It’s just that we’re uncertain, so we default to knocking ourselves down.
For some of us, it can also help to ask, “Would I say this to my friend?” If we wouldn’t, we avoid saying it about ourselves. It takes some time for the patterns to shift, but it’s well worth the effort starting out.
2. Change Your Mind About Perfection
We know what good self-esteem looks like. It’s much tougher to decide what’s “perfect”, if you’re looking closely enough. Many people with low self-esteem also struggle with perfectionism – nothing they do or say, or wear is ever good enough for them.
We are human beings. Things can be messy and unpredictable. Perfectionism rarely, if ever, makes this better or easier. The reality is, going for all or nothing robs us of valuable learning experiences. Perfectionism doesn’t allow us to blossom naturally or self-discover.
We must accept that our perfect standards are only in place to keep us from ever being satisfied. Because when you have low self-esteem, you don’t believe you deserve the satisfaction. So, it’s time to redefine perfection!
3. Build Better Boundaries
Negative self-talk is just part of the equation. Sadly, we become accustomed to other people holding us back and making us feel badly about ourselves. It can even be someone we admire or love very much.
Creating good boundaries can happen like magic when we start working on our self-esteem. Suddenly, we’ll correct someone when they say something negative about us or stop picking up the phone when that “frenemy” gives us a call.
But for today, consider your core personal values. What’s absolutely necessary in any relationship for you? It might be following through with plans, or intelligent conversation. Figure out what your must-haves are, and from there, nurture the relationships which offer you this.
If you want to improve a relationship that doesn’t serve your core values, communication is key. Start stating plainly what’s important to you. Frankly, whether or not that person can change their behavior is not on you.
4. Update Your Personal Style
In this context, an update doesn’t mean we focus on the latest and greatest. It means we stop saying things like, “I could never pull that off” andinstead let our style be a reflection of our best selves.
Putting more effort into our appearance makes us feel more cared for and excited for the day ahead. It can change the way we walk, stand, or how often we smile. It changes our attitude and how approachable we are.
Boosting your personal appearance is an easy step to overcome low self-esteem.
So, go ahead and look your very best.
5. Quit Comparing
Rather, we have to quit comparing ourselves to others. People with great self-esteem compare themselves to themselves. And that’s often a very good thing!
When we do this, we can see how far we’ve come in life. What we’ve accomplished, what we need to work on, and how strong we really are. There’s no one out there exactly like us, so why would we measure ourselves against a totally different person?
It’s like trying to make toast with a tea kettle.
6. Get To Know Fear And Failure
It might sound silly, but fear and failure are nothing to be afraid of. In fact, they’re completely ordinary parts of the human experience. The one thing most confident people have in common is that they intentionally take risks and face fears.
Think about the last time you failed at something. Did the world end? Of course not. What about the last time you were really afraid? We tend to tighten up against fear instead of accepting it. This makes it a lot more painful to experience.
So today, let’s try one thing that scares us a little. It might be as small as going out for a coffee or cocktail by ourselves. Or, we could apply for that job we assume we’d never qualify for. The point is, we don’t know what’s going to happen. There’s no benefit in assuming it will go poorly for us.
And if it does, so what? Does it really have the huge, scary impact we thought it did? We’ll eventually find that it doesn’t.
7. Be More Forgiving
One of the most brutal characteristics of low self-esteem is a propensity to hang on tight. We cling to grudges, painful memories, and toxic relationships. All of the above are like junk food for low self-esteem. It tastes good, it’s highly addictive, and it’s very unhealthy.
But when we forgive – others and ourselves – we start to soften. You see, by not forgiving, we hold ourselves in a position where we think we’re in the right. We have the right to be upset, talked down to, betrayed, or whatever else. But when we forgive, we write an ending to that negative story that keeps feeding our low self-esteem.
Forgiving frees up a lot of energy for good things that are waiting for us.
8. Stop Making Circumstances Part Of Every Narrative
There are so many things in life we can’t control. Fortunately, how we feel about ourselves now is absolutely within our control. If there are events in your past that are still informing how you feel about yourself today, start identifying what was beyond your control, so you can release some of it.
For instance, maybe we have a trauma from a long time ago, or we grew up in an unhappy home. These are things that happened to us, not because of us, and we don’t have to live as though it’s still happening. One amazing thing about great self-esteem is that it sees our potential, not our past.
Self-esteem also transcends your current socioeconomic and material circumstances. With great self-esteem, we know we’re capable of improving some of these circumstances in the future.
And those circumstances we can’t control? They don’t make or break how we feel about ourselves. We don’t give them our power!
9. Create A Self-Care Routine
In addition to finding and flaunting our personal style, we must take care of ourselves when no one’s watching. Wake up a half hour early and make yourself a good breakfast. Take a break every afternoon to sit in the sunshine. Exercise. Turn off your phone and put it in a drawer for one hour.
Self-care is an unspoken communication that we love and value ourselves. When our self-esteem is suffering, it can be tough to put ourselves first. By flipping the script and making time for us, we gradually accept the message that we’re well worth it and on the path to overcoming low self-esteem.
10. Boost Someone Else’s Self-Esteem
Self-esteem isn’t exclusive to the self. So much of it depends on interaction with others. When self-esteem is low, there’s a shortage of kindness somewhere. Fortunately, kindness grows and flourishes wherever it exists. So plant some!
Compliment, congratulate, and affirm others, and we can accept the same in return. The secret is, only some of the kindness we get in return will come from others. Speaking and behaving kindly toward others makes it more likely that we’ll direct some kindness toward ourselves, too.
One Day At A Time
The behaviors that foster good self-esteem can seem very challenging in the beginning. But they aren’t intended to completely transform you in the space of an hour. Like our other incredible qualities, we cultivate them day by day. Like practicing a musical instrument or watering a garden.
Yet we all have to start somewhere, and with self-esteem, we can start today. Each damaging thought we have in the next hour can be identified and debunked. The next person we see might benefit from a smile. The next task we take on might be executed beautifully, when we accept it’s just as likely that it will go well as it is that we’ll fail.
And all of those things are how we plant the seed of strong, healthy self-esteem.
Let me know your tips how to overcome low self esteem in the comments below…
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