Some people realize the value of improving their feelings of self-worth. I wrote an entire blog about self-worth vs. self-confidence! You can read it here -> Self-worth. Have it? Need it? Want it?
Have you ever had a moment in your life that your self-esteem was high? How did you feel? Did you feel better about yourself? Did you feel unstoppable? A bit resilient?
In that state of feeling incredible, did you feel any anxiety? Did you feel like a failure?
Of course not. Because your body is wired to be strong and reject emotional despair when you are in a state of high self-esteem.
So we want to be in that emotion, like always.
Easier said than done (you’re probably muttering to me under your breath).
And you’re right...to a point. Self-esteem does fluctuate all the time. It can change within seconds. But there are things that we can do to help raise our self-esteem when we feel it’s a bit low:
1. Identify your abilities and develop them
Self-esteem is built by showing real ability and real achievement in areas of your life that matter to you. If you believe that you are an incredible cook, throw more dinner parties! If you’re a good runner, sign up for races and train for them. Figure out your core abilities and find opportunities and careers that accentuate them.
2. Learn to accept compliments!
When anyone gives you any type of complement you are to respond with a smile and a big THANK YOU! None of this, “oh this old thing I got it on sale for $9.99”…(why do we do that!?)
Set a goal to accept any and all compliments when you receive them, even if they make you uncomfortable (and they will).
Your brain will be ready to react with your usual dismissing statement...so you are going to have the following simple set of responses and train yourself to use them automatically whenever you get good feedback
- Thank you
- How kind of you to say
- I really appreciate that!
In time, the impulse to deny compliments will fade away — which will also be a nice hint that your self-esteem is getting stronger!
3. Eliminate self-criticism and say HELLO to self-compassion
Unfortunately, when our self-esteem is low, we are likely to also be self-critical. I mean why not, what a great pity party.
We need to substitute self-criticism with self-compassion.
When you hear that little voice inside starting a shit show of criticism, shake your head quickly and STOP! Ask yourself IMMEDIATELY: would I talk like that to a dear friend of mine if we were in the same situation?! (I highly doubt you would be calling her a shithead to her face).
And when the compassionate words come to your mind that would be directed towards your friend, direct them towards yourself!
Doing so will avoid damaging your self-esteem even further with critical thoughts, and help build it up instead <3
4. Affirm your real worth
Think of one situation that made you feel critical to yourself and lowered your self-esteem. Possibly not getting a promotion.
List your qualities that make you an extremely valuable employee: you're responsible, you have excellent work ethics, etc.
Then choose one of the items on your list and write a brief essay (one to two paragraphs) about why the quality is valuable and likely to be appreciated by other people in the future.
The bottom line is this: improving self-esteem requires some work! It involves creating and maintaining healthy emotional habits.
But, by doing this, you’re improving yourself and changing everything around you for the better.