Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job and your health. Here are five habits you can introduce into your life right now that will help build your self-esteem.
Positive Affirmations… but do it right
You have probably heard about positive affirmations before but may feel they don’t really work. Affirmations such as “I am going to be a great success” is used often, but can sometimes make people with low self-worth feel worse about themselves. This is because these declarations are simply too contrasting to their existing beliefs. Positive affirmations work for people who already have high self-esteem. If your self-esteem is lagging or a bit on the low-side, change your affirmations to make them believable. Instead of “I’m going to be a great success” change it to “I’m going to work hard until I succeed”.
You need to believe your positive affirmations.
Celebrate your Skills and Show Them Off
Self-esteem can be built by showing great skill and achievement in areas of our lives that mean something to us. For example, if you’re a good cook, throw some dinner parties. If you’re a good runner, sign up for some races or marathons. Find your strengths and develop them.
When we feel bad about ourselves, it’s hard to see ourselves as anything else. This means we can be resistant to compliments during these times, even though it’s what we need to hear the most!
Instead of ignoring or shrugging off compliments as lies, you should try and set yourself the goal of tolerating compliments when you hear them. It may feel uncomfortable, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Instead of arguing or contradicting the compliment, prepare set responses to certain things and force yourself to use them until it’s automatic. These responses could be as simple as “thank you” or “that’s so lovely for you to say.”
You’ll start to accept these compliments more and batting them away less and you’ll start to believe the nice things people are saying about you.
Less Self-Criticism and More Self-Compassion
When we are in a bit of a rut, we tend to inflict further damage by being self-critical. To improve your self-esteem, you should substitute your self-criticism (which is entirely unhelpful, regardless if you believe it or not) with self-compassion. Instead of being self-critical, stop and ask yourself what you would say to a good friend if they were in your situation. You’ll find that you are much more compassionate to your friends than to yourself. This will stop you from damaging your self-esteem further and build it instead.
Remind Yourself of Your Worth
Sometimes, our confidence takes a hit. You may get rejected by someone you’ve been dating or someone makes a nasty comment. The best way to revive your self-esteem is to remind yourself of your self-worth. For example, if you have recently been broken up with, make a list of qualities you have that makes you a great partner, such as loyalty, emotional availability etc. Or maybe you didn't get the promotion at work you wanted, write a list of everything that makes you a valuable employee.
Do this exercise every time you need a pick-me-up.