Okay, give me a show of hands (virtually, of course): how many of you have very high self-esteem? Well, since I can’t see any of you, I will just have to make some assumptions that not all of you raised your hand. Let’s face it, we live in a world that is not supportive of how we feel about ourselves. From comparing yourself to super models to thinking you need to make more money, most of us think we need to be better. Here’s the good news: you CAN raise your self-esteem and work on being a better person. Here are 11 steps you can take today.
1. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.
Do you have any idea how many negative thoughts go through your mind every day about yourself? Probably not. Even if it’s just something simple like, “My hair looks terrible today,” you need to monitor and control your thoughts. So get a notebook and write down every negative thought that you say to yourself, about yourself. After about a week, take a look. Then write down why each negative thought is NOT true.
2. Don’t compare yourself to others. But if you do, compare yourself to people who are not as lucky as you are.
If you constantly compare how you look to Angelina Jolie or your bank account to your millionaire cousin, you will definitely feel bad about yourself. So here’s an idea‒don’t do it!! Instead, focus on how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are among the luckiest people in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t complain about what you lack.
3. Don’t dwell in the past.
Maybe you did something in the past that you are ashamed of, like cheating on your significant other. Well, you can’t undo it. All you can do is forgive yourself, decide to do better, and move on. Replaying it and beating yourself up doesn’t work. Or maybe your past was “The Good Ol’ Days.” Don’t dwell there either. We all age, and we all have the opportunity to make today and tomorrow the best we can. Move onward and upwards. Not backwards.
4. Find a “self-esteem buddy” and support each other.
Anyone who has tried to change their habits knows it’s difficult. And your self-esteem is also a “habit”–it’s a habitual way of thinking about yourself. So it helps to have someone point out when we are being negative and help us steer in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we are being down on ourselves because we do it so much. Your buddy will help you, and you can help them.
5. Figure out what triggers your feelings of low self-esteem.
Perhaps your older sister was the “perfect” one, so when you’re around her and your family, you feel worse about yourself. Or maybe you were chubby as a child and still carry that image of yourself to this day. We all have certain areas where we feel bad about ourselves. So try to identify what situations or topics trigger your negative thoughts.
6. Separate your feelings from facts.
You might think you are overweight, but you might not be. For example, perhaps you are average weight, but you grew up with two older sisters who are naturally skinny. If you constantly compared yourself to them growing up, you might have labeled yourself as “fat.” However, those are only your feelings. The facts might be very different. You might only weigh 130 pounds. That’s not overweight. Facts and feelings are different.
7. Treat yourself as if you are a friend and you’re trying to help boost their (your) self-esteem.
We are all harder on ourselves than our friends are. While we tear ourselves down, our good friends try to lift us up. Well, try to act like those friends! Be your own friend. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive affirmations. You don’t need to rely on others to do that. You can do it for yourself, too.
8. Believe people when they compliment you.
Some people have difficult time receiving compliments. While this might sounds strange, it’s true. The reason they have a hard time is because they don’t believe the person’s kind words. They come up with reasons inside their heads about why they’re wrong or why it’s not true. Stop doing that! When someone says something nice about you, believe them! Say “thank you,” and move on with a smile on your face!
9. Use affirmations and visualization.
Affirmations and visualizations are powerful tools to reprogram your thinking. The more you repeat words or visualize something in your mind, the more your subconscious believes it. So repeat positive statements to yourself such as, “I am a good person. I am healthy. I am strong. I am lovable.” And then visualize yourself being and feeling that way.
10. Use hypnosis.
Speaking of reprogramming the subconscious, hypnosis is also a very powerful way to re-write the negative beliefs in your head. There are many websites that sell positive hypnosis CDs or mp3’s that you can listen to on a regular basis in order to help build your self-esteem. If you use them consistently, you will make some giant leaps in feeling good about yourself.
11. List your good qualities and past successes.
Sometimes we get too focused on our negatives, and we forget to notice our good qualities! So take some time to sit down and write out why you are an awesome person. Are you a great mom? Are you smart? Do you have a career you enjoy? A great marriage? Whatever it is, write it down. What have you been successful doing in the past? Review these daily to remind yourself how you’re making a difference in the world.
12. Take action!
While I appreciate you all reading this article, it will do you no good if you don’t actually take my advice! Don’t just share this on your Facebook page and forget about it. Do something! Take action! Nothing will change unless you do. It all starts with a decision. So just do it!