Confidence: the only thing that can lead a person to be despondent.
But we have all been there, whether it was while going through a professional setback or an ugly break up, all of us have struggled with self-esteem issues at some point in our lives. In fact, the seeds of low self-esteem are sown at an early age. This is a reality to be accepted but not “the end”.
Most people carry this baggage forever. Unfortunately, low self-esteem can quickly escalate into chronic depression. This is why you need to address your poor self-esteem issues as early as possible.
The following ten tips can help you deal with the situation telling you not to believe in you, you actually just need to know how to deal with it, YOU can.
1. Say No to Generic Positive Self-Talk
Those with low self-esteem often engage in negative self-talk, which is one of the common causes of low self-esteem to begin with. How can you boost your self-confidence if your inner voice keeps on telling you negative things? You need to start channeling positive thoughts through your inner voice.
Set aside a few minutes in your daily schedule to practice positive self-talk. You can either stand in front of a mirror and make positive statements about yourself or write them down in a diary every day, just for a few minutes.
However, generic positive self-talk such as, “I can do anything I put my mind to” is usually futile. Your mind will accept only the positive thoughts it believes in. In other words, your self-talk must be specific and realistic.
For example, instead of saying “I can do anything I put my mind to,” you can think of a particular skill such as “I can develop my communication skills if I put my mind and efforts to it.”
2. Appreciate What You Have
Most people have an endless appetite for more money, luxury, and control over things. They simply don’t appreciate what they already have. As a result, they are more distracted and stressed.
However, if you start appreciating what you have and stop belittling your achievements, and also start applauding yourself for the efforts you put in the strive you behold yourself of, you will feel more in control of things, resulting in better self-confidence.
Don’t take anyone or anything for granted. Learn to practice gratitude, even for the smallest things in your life. For example, write a thank-you note or a simple thank-you message to a colleague or a junior every time they help you with something.
Think about people who don’t have the things that you have been taking for granted for years. Try to learn what difficulties these people face. Lend a helping hand, if possible. Helping others is a great way to appreciate what you have.
3. Get Exercising
Health experts believe that when you feel better physically, you feel better mentally as well. Regular exercise strengthens and tones your body, making you feel better about your appearance and boosting your self-confidence.
Your brain releases feel-good chemicals such as dopamine and endorphins after a vigorous physical workout. These chemicals can control stress hormones (cortisol and adrenaline), helping you stay relaxed.
Decreased stress means better focus and increased productivity. This improved productivity will help you achieve your goals in time, taking your self-confidence to the next level.
So, instead of watching those Game of Thrones reruns on your laptop, get yourself out of your bed and start exercising. Begin by taking small steps. For example, run only half a mile on the first day and gradually work your way up to a more intense workout.
4. Celebrate Small Things
Celebrating even the smallest achievements can bring loads of joy and happiness in your life and strengthen your self-esteem. You can and should celebrate even the minutest moments of progress.
For example, you finally nailed your grandma’s chicken roast. Go ahead; celebrate this small success just like you would celebrate winning the Masterchef title. You can boost your self-esteem by giving yourself honest praise for the smallest achievements.
This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t aim and work hard for bigger and better success. However, you must not forget that the accumulation of small achievements lays the foundation for bigger successes.
Celebrate what you have achieved today; you didn’t have it as yet. An achievement is not measured in size; it is termed an “achievement” for a reason.
5. Step out of Your Comfort Zone
If you want to boost your self-esteem, you must grow as a person, for which you must step out of your comfort zone.
One of the best ways to do this is to try doing something new. Make a list of the things that you want to do, but have always put that on hold for some reason or another. Do at least one of the things on your list every week, starting with the simplest, easily achievable one.
For example, if you want to improve your public speaking skills, try to speak in front of a small group of people first. Above all, don’t fall into the trap of making excuses. Be honest with yourself.
If you are afraid of doing something, accept your fear and try to overcome it. Don’t sugarcoat it with excuses such as, “I don’t have time for this,” or “Maybe, I will start this next week.”
Remember, there are only two options: Make progress or make excuse.
6. Take Constructive Criticism Objectively
When you try something new, you are going to face criticism from your friends, family members, and colleagues occasionally. With the rise of social media, criticism has become increasingly public, further increasing the risk of affecting your self-esteem adversely.
The truth is no one is perfect. There is always room for improvement. Remember this and when you come across any criticism, deal with it like a champ.
The first thing you need to do is separate constructive criticism from destructive one. You will always meet resentful and pessimistic people in your personal and professional life. You don’t need to reason with each social media comment, text message, phone call, or email.
However, if the criticism comes from a recognizable and credible source, accept it. Try to analyze it dispassionately to find the reason behind the criticism and be sure to solve it – in the end it will boost your esteem up and not otherwise.
7. Don’t Dwell on Your Past Mistakes
Whether it is the opportunity you didn’t take or the one you did take but blew, don’t keep obsessing over your past mistakes. Overthinking about your past will stop you from moving ahead in your life. Don’t regret your past, instead learn to live in the moment.
Dwelling on your past mistakes is, in fact, a way of punishing yourself. If you want to stop reliving your bad memories, you need to forgive yourself. The next time a negative memory comes back, remind yourself that you have already forgiven yourself for it. As you let go of the past, there will be no need to think about it time and again.
Another way to stop ruminating is to divert your attention to something else. For example, a friend of mine starts counting backwards from 100 to 1 until the negative memory completely vanishes out of his mind. You can try anything that works for you such as reading, writing, or painting, among other things.
8. Realize That Perfection Is a Myth
Perfection is a myth because it is a matter of perception. When you work towards making something perfect, you put yourself under a lot of pressure fearing the outcome.
In your attempt to achieve perfection, you end up overwhelming yourself with the advice, opinions, and suggestions from several people, blowing the task out of proportion. That’s why striving for perfection is a surefire way to damage your self-esteem.
Whether you are doing something for the first time or the tenth, there is always room for improvement. So, instead of aiming for perfection, you should work towards achieving excellence in your life.
Excellence is all about getting the most out of your effort. When you give something your 100 percent, you feel happy. Perfection, on the other hand, is an absurd fantasy that will suck happiness out of your life.
9. Identify Your Strengths and Capitalize on Them
The key to overcoming your low self-esteem issues is to ask yourself, “What is my biggest strength?” Some of us may have excellent communication skills, while others may be creative; everyone has unique strengths.
All you need to do is identify yours and capitalize on them. Capitalizing on your strengths increases your productivity, which boosts your self-confidence.
One of the easiest ways to identify your strengths is to ask your closest friends to tell you about a situation when you were at your best. Analyze each friend’s feedback to identify the similarities. These common factors are nothing but your strengths.
For example, if everyone’s feedback states that you are extremely calm even under duress, then this is one of your biggest strengths. When making a list, be sure to include a diverse group of friends from your professional and personal contacts to ensure maximum accuracy.
10. Be Patient
Roger Federer didn’t become the only male tennis player to win 19 Grand Slam singles titles overnight. It took him years to hone his skills and achieve his goals. Just like you can’t become a success overnight, you can’t cure low self-esteem overnight either.
Sometimes, the roots of low self-esteem may go deeper than you can imagine. You may have to work on your self-confidence issues for weeks or even months. Besides, taking smaller steps will help build the momentum, making your journey a lot easier and faster. So, be patient and stay focused.
Everyone struggles with low self-esteem one way or another. Unfortunately, low self-esteem can affect almost every area of your personal and professional life.
However, overcoming low self-confidence can be a daunting and time-consuming process. Hopefully, these ten tips will help boost your self-esteem.
Have you used any other trick to enhance your self-esteem? Feel free to share your experience in the comments section below.