How to boost your self-esteem

Influencing your self-esteem is not an easy task, no matter what all the magazine articles tell you. Just think about it– isn’t it highly doubtful that anyone can achieve lasting results by following a 10-bullet advice, which often is not even proven to actually work? If it was that easy, we all will be confident– pretty great, right?

The truth is that enhancing your self-opinions requires a very deep, multi-layered and paramount shift in the way you feel about yourself. You must target your existing beliefs and challenge yourself. You must be wiling to make some gradual but monolithic changes too about the way you act, carry yourself and feel. It takes time and it takes effort. Lots, in fact.

Simply put, to boost your self-esteem you need to start liking yourself a lot more.

What I’ve found in the extensive research I’ve been doing on self-assurance is that it’s possible to enhance confidence, but how successful you are in doing so depends on your willingness to show up and do the work; and on the foundation you choose to base your worth on–i.e. on external vs. internal sources.

But you absolutely have to start with identifying why you have low self-esteem. What has triggered your unfavorable feelings toward yourself?Knowing the source and knowing yourself is often large part of the solution.

For some, it may be that they had bad childhood or grew up in a hostile environment, had acne, were rejected by the loves of their lives, were not doing as expected in school, or were bullied. It can come from one or several sources.

But once you understand the cause, you can take the right steps to mend the damage.

So here we go–below are some helpful tips (which have helped me on my own journey) on how to start believing in your own worth again.

Build a support system— of close friends and family– it has been proven to have a huge positive effect on self-assurance and it does.

Learn to respect yourself—you may not always make the right decisions and choices, nor become a star achiever, nor always accomplish your resolutions, but in the end, remember that all you have is yourself. Why would you want to intentionally make yourself feel bad? It doesn’t make any sense–think about it.

There are better ways to motivate yourself than punishing yourself for things that often are only a product of your imagination and perceptions anyway.

So, you have to treat your body and mind with kindness and compassion. Be nice to you. Failures are not fatal, remind yourself—they are ways to learn and improve. Yes, it stinks to lose, let’s face it, but it’s how you perceive these setbacks that makes all the difference to your confidence. Think about it as gaining experience for the bigger things to come–just like when applying for a job. You need to have built the expertise, to have “seen it all,” and to know how to fix it all. Which happens through trial and error. Very basic logic.

I won’t deceive you–it takes some practice to embrace a more philosophical view-point–to be able to not be crushed by your not-successes.

For a start, adopt your own mantra and have it readily available for situations like this. Mine is: “This was a great learning experience. Now I’ll know what not to do next time around. It doesn’t change who I am, except that it makes me wiser.” Say it every time–the same thing–when you fall short. You’ll see for yourself–there won’t be any drop in your self-worth whatsoever once you convince your mind that it was an interview of sorts, a test only. Detach your value as a person from the negative experience. Take your lesson, move on.

But the most important pre-requisite for having a healthy confidence, I’ve found, is no other than the well-known adage– believe in yourself. But how?

Start by developing a strength inventory list and read it often. Remind yourself how unique you are–in fact, the chances of you being born are 1 on 400 trillion– and this is pretty impressive by itself [1]. Start a victory journal–record all your accomplishments every day, no matter how small–even if it’s that you didn’t snooze your alarm today. Celebrate, reflect on your track record of performances. You’ll see the trend emerging– you are an achiever, after all. You can deal with anything that comes your way.

Indeed, the beliefs that we have control over our outcomes (what psychologists call a “sense of mastery”) and that we can achieve our goals ( called “self-efficacy”) have been proven to be some of the greatest boosters of self-esteem.

And don’t forget—it’s ok to have “flop” days from time to time. But you have to keep going. Pick up where you left the day before and be prepared to face another battle, when needed.

Finally, as long as you truly feel that you are moving, evolving, and developing, you will also keep enhancing your self-esteem along the way. Don’t linger in the status quo forever.

And whatever it is that you do, find time to care about the most important person in your universe–yourself.


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