We have all struggled with self-doubt at times, and for some of us feeling down about ourselves is a constant struggle in life. No matter what your experience has been like with self-esteem, here are some helpful tips for improving your confidence.
Tell yourself you deserve it
The hardest part about improving self-esteem is feeling like you can! Low self-esteem tells us that we deserve to feel bad, making it difficult to ever feel better. Notice your desire to feel better and then practice telling yourself – “I deserve to feel good about myself.” It may feel like a lie at first, but over time it will start to shift those sabotaging thoughts. And remember that you are worthy of your own love. You wouldn’t tell your friend or child that you won’t love them until they change something about themselves (I hope!), but rather you would love them the way they are and support them in the changes they want. Do the same for yourself, work toward believing that you can love yourself the way you are right now.
Set small, easy goals for yourself
Feeling accomplished at something can greatly increase confidence and self-esteem. But in order to get a sense of accomplishment we have to break down our goals into multiple tiny ones, instead of a few big ones. For example, if your goal is to get more organized it will be hard to feel accomplished because this can be a never-ending task. Instead try setting daily goal of checking one thing off of a list, or getting one small thing done (that only takes 5-30 mins) every day. This will still lead you to being more organized in the end, and will give you a sense of accomplishment as you go.
Identify that negative voice
Most of us have a nagging negative nancy in our heads who likes to name things that are wrong with us, but none of us were born with this bully in our minds. This negative train of thoughts usually develops from messages we get about ourselves (whether from our parents, a playground bully, ex-partners, or even from the media) and identifying where yours comes from can be empowering. Name it or call it something that reminds you that it isn’t part of you. Separating this voice from your own can offer a sense of freedom and motivation to overrule it.
Reconnect with things that you are passionate about
Whether it be art, reading, animals, sports, writing, creating music, or something else, we all have that activity that we partake in that makes us feel rejuvenated and inspired by. Reconnecting to the thing that awakens a passion in you can give you a boost of confidence and maybe energy too.
Take care of your body
While exercising is probably what you are thinking, there is a lot more to caring for your body than just breaking a sweat. Little things that we might be tempted to skip out on when we feel down on ourselves can actually make us feel pretty good. Depending on how neglectful you have been toward yourself, this might look as simple as committing to a hygiene regimen such as washing and moisturizing your face. It could also be things such as getting a long bath or a massage, or buying yourself an outfit that makes you feel good about your body. It can also mean eating things that give you energy and drinking a lot of water. Even just doing a quick stretch in the morning can make a difference!
Take care of your emotions
When one of our friends, or our partner or child is feeling down, we typically approach them with kindness, support, and offer to do things to help them feel better. So why is it that when we are feeling down we tend to be harsh on ourselves? Most people are motivated to feel better when they are being criticized about how they feel, so don’t do it to yourself! Try to talk to yourself, and do things for yourself that you would do for someone else in the same position. Take yourself out to see a movie or for a special treat/pick-me-up, cuddle up with tea and a blanket and relax, take a hot bath, relive positive memories or experiences, etc. And most importantly be kind and compassionate to yourself when you are hurting emotionally.
A lot of time our self-esteem can be brought down by others around us (negative friends, abusive partners, critical family members, or toxic work environments). If this is a factor for you try to do some reflecting on how you can set some limits with these people or places. This could be leaving the job or cutting people off completely, or it could be something small like saying now to outside work events or family outings. Increasing boundaries can really help to feel more of a sense of control over your time and the energy you are absorbing.