People often stay confused with the concept of self-esteem. It can mean different things to different people. Most of them relate it with materialistic possessions or the riches and wealth one has. Some may relate it to one’s outer personality, their looks or even their status in the society. How much are they earning, what car do they own, are they successful enough in life, is how people usually assess themselves. But what exactly is self-esteem? How does it feel to have a high self-esteem? And what are you missing upon if you are living your life with a low self-esteem. Self-esteem in its truest essence is the acknowledgment of one’s strengths, weaknesses and capabilities. It’s about being confident and comfortable with one self then no matter how you look or how much you earn. Self-esteem has a very strong connection with self-image, which is the picture of you, you have in your own mind. If you are also one of those people who think they are not good enough to compete in this world then here are some tips that will help you in building up your self-esteem.
10. Identify and Assess yourself
Before starting to work upon something you need to have a complete knowledge of it. Same applies to you and your self-esteem. Therefore identifying is the first and the foremost step. Try with this simple exercise. Take a piece of paper and divide it in half vertically. Now on the left side of the paper you have to list your 10 biggest strengths and on the right side, your 10 weaknesses. People suffering with low self-esteem tend to acknowledge more number of weaknesses than the number of strengths. But that is not exactly the truth. If you find it difficult to find 10 of your strengths then think about the moment when somebody complimented you for anything or congratulated you for a job well done. Count that as your strength.
9. Identify negative beliefs
As already told, self-esteem comes from self-image and this has a lot to do with your thought process and your core beliefs. While working on your self-esteem it is important to know what your beliefs are and where do they come from. You might want to take help of a close one to get through this or indulge in self-talk. Think of a troubling situation and your interpretation of it. How did you react to that situation? Your reaction might have been positive or negative. It could have been rational or irrational and driven by your fears. Once you know about your beliefs and if they come out to be negative, you got to change them. Think of an alternate way of dealing the things which is more positive and analytical.
8. Set realistic goals
Challenging our-self and setting goals is important to gain confidence but it is also vital that the challenge has to be realistic and not impossible to achieve as failing a challenge can break your self- esteem more than anything. So, start with small and realistic challenges that still have meaning for you. Like, “I will get a better grade in the next test” and once you have achieved it, accept the praise and reward yourself. Then you can move on to a slightly bigger challenge but not something like, I have to become a millionaire by the time I get 30. That is silly. Once you see yourself meeting some idealistic goals, the cycle of negative thinking will cease.
7. Stop running for perfection
Perfection is unattainable to achieve no matter how much you work for it. Be it having a perfect body, a perfect relationship, a perfect family or anything, if you keep striving for perfection, you take away the opportunity from yourself to be happy and confident. Making one mistake doesn’t make you a bad person and you do not have to be perfect in each and every thing you do. So stop worrying about it.
6. Focus on your accomplishments
Setting aside the mistakes and mourning about your flaws is never going to help you in building up self-esteem. Instead you have to grab a hold on your accomplishments and reward yourself time to time. Staying away from self-pity and thinking about what you are good at, helps in giving you a confidence boost and increases your value in your own eyes. Focus on all the tasks you have completed and how much you enjoyed completing them.
5. Stop comparing yourself with others
We all hate being compared to others yet we all do it. It is a basic human nature. Comparing our life with another person’s and finding out that they excel more in some field can hurt our self-esteem. Your neighbour has got a bigger car or your friend’s daughter scored more? But you never know what their life is all about. That neighbour might be going through a broken relationship where the big car doesn’t seem to be pleasing enough. Or your friend’s daughter might be very poor in outdoor or interactive activities and keeps studying all the time. The only person you should trying being is the person better than you were yesterday and you will see yourself gaining your confidence back.
4. Forgive yourself
Making a mistake doesn’t end your life there and then. Making mistakes are natural and everyone makes them. But getting stuck on one mistake you made can never do you any good. Instead view them as a learning opportunity and keep in mind that one has to constantly keep developing by learning from their own aberrations. Indulging in self-pity and staying in your guilt bubble won’t let you progress and you need to come out of it and forgive yourself in order to gain self-esteem.
3. Be willing to change your self-image
People keep changing and evolving from time to time. I am not the same person I used to be an year ago. I used to be good at physics back then. But today am not. I used to play hockey in high school but I doubt if now I can even make a proper hit. Also, today I’m a content writer which I had no idea that I would be an year ago. As a person changes, their self-image should also change. Instead of evaluating yourself on the basis of things you were good at some time ago, you need to focus on the things you are excelling at right now in your life. One should keep adjusting their self-image to reflect their current personality, ability and skills instead of those of their older version.
2. Be assertive
Assertiveness is all about self and mutual respect. It is how much you are aware of your own capabilities and your willingness to stand for your interests. Knowing other people’s rights is also a very important factor. Assertiveness should not be confused with aggressiveness. It enables a person to communicate with others effectively and expressing their feelings without hurting those of other people. Telling your thoughts in an assertive manner shows your willingness to work in conflicts and it avoids putting you in situations where you want to say no, benefiting your self-esteem.
1. Accept yourself
After “Knowing Thyself”, accepting it is the key to build self-esteem and gain happiness. There are two types of problems in this world. Some are those which you can change and find a solution for and you should start working on them. The other are those you have no control over and thinking about them doesn’t do any good. The same principle works for you. Things you are unhappy about, start working towards them from this very moment, but there are few things that you cannot change. Like your skin complexion, your height or choices of your past, so you got to accept them and start loving yourself the way you are. And you will find yourself more confident and pepped up about yourself.