Have you ever wondered how to boost your self-esteem? If you said yes… then you are in the right place.
For those who have been following my blog for a while, you know that I’m all about setting and achieving goals. I enjoy exploring this topic and writing about the aspects involved in turning dreams into reality. So far, we have discussed the importance of self-care and productivity to name a few topics. Now, I would like to discuss self-esteem.
Self-esteem is a topic that I’ve wanted to talk about for a long time. Not many people relate self-esteem with goal attainment, but I firmly believe that the two go hand-in-hand. To me, goal setting is a luxury that is built on a foundation of healthy self-esteem. At least that’s how it’s always been for me.
I’m pretty sure that some people who know me well would be shocked to find out that I have battled with low self-esteem at three critical points in my life. In addition to the normal teenage stuff, I had a very hard time with self-esteem during my college years, my mid 20s and in my 30s when I became a mom. I would describe myself as hitting rock bottom with my self-esteem on those three occasions.
I felt so low and the worst part was feeling like there was nothing that I could do to change things. Looking back, I now know that those low points were triggered by times of major life changes.
I remember feeling so bad about myself after having my sons. Once, I had a conversation with a new friend back then. While she was talking, I was wondering how she could even look at me and my horribly unattractive face. I kept expecting her to look away or laugh at me. That conversation must’ve happened at least 15-16 years ago, but I remember it like it was yesterday. I don’t recall what she was talking about, but I do remember what I was telling myself… and it wasn’t nice.
Before I dive deeper into a discussion on how to boost self-esteem, let’s chat about what self-esteem is and how it affects us. First, self-esteem can be simply defined as how much we like ourselves. It is a lasting sense of value that we place on our whole self or an aspect of who we are. Self-esteem is a completely subjective opinion that is based on how we feel about the person we see in the mirror.
High, or healthy, self-esteem is the desired state. It’s where a person places a positive value on his or her worth. Someone with high self-esteem feels like he/she is deserving of good things in life like love, respect and success.
Low, or negative, self-esteem is the opposite. People on this side of the spectrum have little or no appreciation for themselves. In this case, a person would focus on their weaknesses and assume that others are thinking the same way.
I believe that your self-esteem touches every aspect of how you live your life. It is a filter through which decisions are made and sets the bar for your expectations.
Self-esteem can impact our ability to:
As with most things, making a change should follow a lot of personal reflection and thinking about your situation. Identify how you feel about yourself. If you don’t feel the way you want to, determine where you need to make a change. I found that boosting my self-esteem was a long process, but it was so beneficial and ultimately successful.
Below are some of the things that I did to make lasting changes to my self-esteem. I hope that you find these steps on how to boost self-esteem to be helpful.
When I realized that my self-esteem was low and unhealthy, the first thing that I had to do was stop the never-ending monologue that was being repeated in my head. Back in college, I remember getting teased for reading the books like What to Say When You Talk to Yourself and The Power of Positive Thinking. Looking back, I guess that they weren’t your typical college kid books.
However, both were excellent choices and pivotal to my quest for higher self-esteem. Before reading those books, I didn’t realize that I was telling myself so many negative things and that I had the power to change the pattern. So gradually, I found that I was able to boost my self-esteem by replacing negative thoughts with positive affirmations. I learned through this process to show myself the same compassion that I would show to a friend, or even a stranger.
You’ve already heard me mention in the post, Top Ten Tips for Achieving Your Goals, that I have a strong achievement orientated personality. That just means that I like to accomplish things. It makes me feel good and like all is right in the world. So, when my self-esteem was at its lowest, one way I could help myself was by setting myself up for success.
To do that, I identified several very small tasks that I felt like I could accomplish and went after them. Having a series of small wins made me start to feel like a winner and not the loser like I told myself I was. Slowly, I gave myself the evidence and proof that I needed to boost my self-esteem.
I found that another thing I was doing a lot in my low self-esteem days was comparing myself to others. This is always a huge mistake especially when you have a fragile self-esteem. Playing the comparison game will always lead to realizing that someone is way better off than you, way more attractive than you and/or way more popular than you.
That’s why it is a dangerous game. The worst part about it is that we never stop to think about how good we do have it and all of the folks who wish they were in our place. So, it is very important to stop comparing yourself to others. I know that this is easier said than done. I have had to replace thoughts of wishing I was in someone else’s shoes to figuring out how to make my own shoes better.
Another trick that I had up my sleeve was to start getting what was in my head out in the open. This helped me see just how ridiculous my thoughts and behaviors were. And here, I’m not talking about standing on the street corner, broadcasting all of your flaws for everyone to hear. That won’t work, it’s also not productive to berate yourself all of the time in front of your friends.
I did this in a more private fashion by journaling and seeking individual counseling. Journaling was an amazing exercise because I could record my thoughts and the process that I took to change them. So, when you journal, you don’t want to simply write down, “I’m a loser” but also write where that opinion is coming from and what is an alternative way of looking at the situation. I have also found it helpful to speak with a very trusted person who could help me see the truth. And I have used online therapy apps like Talkspace and found them to be very effective as well.
And finally, I think that the biggest problem when it comes to issues with self-esteem is that we spend way too much time thinking about ourselves. Being self-centered is the gateway for continuing a negative self-talk pattern, comparing ourselves to others and maintaining several other disruptive thoughts. I learned that if I were to spend half as much time thinking about constructive things as I spent thinking about what was wrong with me, I would be able to boost my self-esteem tremendously.
So, I did just that. I developed new interests, volunteered to help others less fortunate, went back to school, rejoined the workforce, and did several other things that kept me busy and out of mental trouble. The result was amazing and led me on a path of self-discovery and creating a beautiful friendship with myself because I was a much more interesting and dynamic person than I was when I dwelled on my flaws.
So, for quite a long time, I have been enjoying a very healthy and high level of self-esteem. I have learned how to boost self-esteem and have been very successful at maintaining it. I feel like my quality of life has greatly improved, and I’m in a much better position to make my dreams become a reality through the goal setting process. That’s because I now feel like I deserve my dreams and have the inner cheerleader that I need to go after them.
If you are struggling with low self-esteem, first realize that you are not alone and that you have the power to change the script. You’ll be so amazed at how much liking yourself can improve the quality of your life and your ability to dream big.
Please leave a comment below sharing an action that you will start using to boost your self-esteem or a tip that you already utilize that can help others.