Self-esteem is perhaps one of the most misunderstood elements that people fail to recognize. It often gets mistaken for self-confidence, and yet is one of the most important things to focus on to live a fulfilled life. Self-esteem is different, because it involves your core values and the inner workings of your mind that essentially define who you are. Self-confidence, on the other hand, is the belief you have in yourself that typically involves things you aren’t familiar with.
Improving your self-esteem is hard, as it’s never constant. However, there are a number of fundamental principles you can follow that will give you a good foundation to help improve it.
1. Don’t compromise on your happiness just to please others.
You have to be willing to stay true to yourself at all times. This includes not being afraid to speak your mind without fear of losing someone’s approval.
You begin to realize that there is really no reason for you to change yourself, since you are who you are. As long as you’re a nice person at heart and socially congruent, then there’s really no reason for someone to want you to change.
2. Become responsible for everything that happens in your life.
Looking at this in perspective, if there is anything in your life that you personally aren’t happy with, would you say it’s due to the things external to you or because of the decisions you made?
This is the first step to becoming conscious as you start looking at things in a more objective manner. Do you place blame on others or do you take responsibility?
Taking responsibility means one thing — you’re in complete control of the results you create in your outside world.
3. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes.
Making mistakes is what we all have to go through if we’re to become better. Andrea Walz bases her book Go for No on this key principle. If you’re not failing, you’re not growing.
Be willing to embrace failure and to fail as fast as you can and as often as you can. The key difference between a success and a failure is due to this key point: a successful person isn’t afraid to try and fail.
4. Learn to say “no” more often.
Don’t be a “yes” person all the time. There may be times where you feel pressured by friends to do certain things that you don’t want to do. This is usually the perfect opportunity to demonstrate your discipline and personal boundaries, which is essential for building your self-esteem. Say “no” and be willing to stand your ground.
Your friends or family may not like it, but they certainly will respect you for it.
5. Don’t worry about the choices you’ve made.
Whatever choices you’ve made in your life is all due to your personal values and boundaries. This is further solidified if you better understand what your values and boundaries actually are.
The more about yourself you learn to understand, the less worry and anxiety you’ll experience in the long term. Learn to accept and trust in the choices you make and to push forward regardless of the outcome.
6. Learn to accept the way things are.
Be willing to accept your successes and failures before moving on to change and improve them. As long as you live consciously as stated in point #2, you will always have the ability and the opportunity to change course.
It’s also a very effective way to develop a humble character.
7. Write down things you’re grateful for.
It is quite common to overlook the nice things around us and to take things for granted. In most cases, we are more fortunate than we believe we are. Are you able to walk, talk and move normally? Are you a hard worker? Do you have friends who like and respect you? Are you a good person?
However bad your current situation may be, there will always be someone who is worse off than you who may well look at you and see you as the type of person they’re striving to be in the future.
8. Accept your flaws and understand that you’re not perfect.
The reality is, nobody is perfect. Sure, you could work very hard toward perfection, but realize that no matter how hard you work, you will always fall short. It’s simply the nature of the beast. As humans, we’re designed to be imperfect, to make mistakes, to fail countless times and to strive.
There is no real growth without self-acceptance.
9. Be willing to embrace rejection.
Rejection comes with the territory and happens on a daily basis. The key thing to understand is that rejection only becomes significant the minute we place value on it. Was it a big deal to you if the burger you wanted at McDonald’s was unavailable?
Learn to detach yourself from the outcome and to see rejection for what it is.
10. Learn to tackle the good times and the bad.
Regardless of what happens to you in your life, you will face good times and bad. This is a given and the reality of life. But the key to good self-esteem is in recognizing the situation for what it is and to simply learn to deal with it in the best way you can.
Because just like the good times, the bad times will also pass.