When you lack self-esteem, you do not accept yourself fully. Negative thoughts, failures, lack of skills tend to dominate your thoughts. So, here are 30 quotes, songs and other odds and ends to help you the next time you stand in front of the mirror.
1. Set realistic goals
“I have to be realistic about what I can or can’t do. So, whatever I do has to be really worth it. I like to master the things I do.”– Queen Latifah
Too often, teenagers are awestruck by talent shows and celebrities and dream of just being like them and making millions. Much better to look at what you can do well and what skills you can acquire without daydreaming all the time.
2. Set mini goals along the way
Break down your goals into mini steps. Moving on from each minor success is a great motivator and confidence booster
3. Sing along with Rihanna
I love the song ‘Umbrella’ where she sings ‘Because the sun shines, we’ll shine together’. Watch this video with a friend/partner and then sing along together. Remember those lines, ‘Know that we’ll still have each other, You can stand under my umbrella’. This always gives my self-esteem a boost.
4. Update your own self image
How many times do you say? “I used to be great at playing the piano” or “I used to have so many friends back then.” Why not move into the present and start taking piano lessons again? The next time you stand in front of the mirror, say “I am really chuffed that I have started playing the piano again.”
5. Start competing with yourself
“Once we believe in ourselves, we can risk curiosity, wonder, spontaneous delight, or any experience that reveals the human spirit.” – E.E. Cummings
Forget the so called friends on Facebook who are brighter, better and more successful. That is what they say! This is just feeding your envy habit. Start believing in and competing with yourself for a change.
6. Recite to yourself all your achievements
Make a list of all your achievements. Think of all those exams you passed, your success on a project, your relationships, and how many miles you ran in the last marathon.
7. Don’t get too hung up on formal qualifications
Yes, I sucked at math at school. I wish I could have said this to my math teacher at the time!
8. Look at your physical attributes
Maybe you have a nice smile or great legs, like I have. Take a long hard look at your eyes, face, smile, nails, hair, lips and so on. There must be at least five really good features. On a good day, I can find 10!
9. Zap the negative thoughts
Too often, you think of the obstacles that lie in your path. Try to replace these with positive thoughts where you repeat that you can do those things you want and this obstacle was just one minor setback .
“Once you replace negative thoughts with positive ones, you’ll start having positive results.” –Willie Nelson
10. Gravitate towards empathetic people
Get the empathy you need. Here is a joke: “My girlfriend has just come back from the doctors saying she’s suffering from low self esteem. Who knows where the stupid fat cow gets that from?”
11. Dig deep
Try to get to know yourself better. Assess your limitations and discover whether these are really obstacles to your progress. Balance these with your skills, qualities and successes to get the broader picture.
12. When you don’t like yourself, you don’t take as good care of yourself
Just watch the video to see what happened to Sooper Puppy.
13. Break bad habits
“Sow a thought, and you reap an act;
Sow an act, and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit, and you reap a character;
Sow a character, and you reap a destiny.”- Samuel Smiles
In his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens, Sean Covey offers lots of advice to teenagers (and adults!) who get into bad habits and how to turn these around.
14. Choose your friends carefully
“ Before you diagnose yourself with depression or low self-esteem, first make sure that you are not, in fact, simply surrounded by assholes .” – William Gibson
15. Try to identify what the real issues are
16. Go for empowerment
Get off social media which may alleviate loneliness and help you forget your low self-esteem. This is a short term fix. Aim to get out, socialize with real people and exercise more. These will boost your empowerment in no time at all.
17. Minimize your critical inner voice
If you are too hard on yourself, try to tell yourself not to go down that road again. Try to ban’should’ and ‘must’ from your mental circuits.
18. Helping children (and adults!)
I really like Dr. Wayne Dyer’s book for kids called “Incredible You! 10 Ways to let your greatness shine through.” The book contains lessons about life and has beautiful, uplifting messages which parents and children can share. It is just a great book to help kids and their parents feel really good about themselves. It is a wonderful lesson in self-confidence.
19. Award yourself a prize
Take a break and think about why you should get an award for the top three qualities you have. These can be anything from how kind you are, your cooking abilities or your relationship with animals.
20. Don’t undervalue yourself
Too often, the harsh self criticism takes over and you may start thinking that you only succeeded because the task was easy. Try to think of the positives and the qualities you displayed and don’t put yourself down too much.
21. Forget the all or nothing approach
This smacks of perfectionism. Try to be realistic and stop thinking in terms of an all or nothing approach. Every outcome will have benefits and downsides.
22. Identify the triggers
Very often, a difficult deadline, a quarrel with your partner tend to be the triggers which make your self-esteem take a nose dive. Try to put these aside when you identify them, acknowledge them and think about the other 90% which is going really well.
23. Treasure compliments
We all seek praise and crave recognition for our efforts. When you receive a compliment, do not shrug it off by belittling your achievement. Just say “thank you” and rejoice that you got the recognition you deserve.
24. Start giving your time
This is a great one to boost self-esteem. If you perform a kind deed, you automatically feel better in that you have contributed in one small way to making the world a better place. You feel more valuable and that is really helpful in increasing your self-confidence.
25. Don’t let fear and anxiety take over
“Don’t believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that – thoughts.”- Allan Lokos
If you are afraid of facing new challenges and let anxiety make the decisions for you, your self-esteem will suffer in the long term and you will always blame yourself for not moving forward.
26. Do something you keep putting off
Think about that one task you have put off for months now. It could be anything from seeing a specialist to tidying up some clutter. Once you get this done, it can be a great way of increasing your confidence.
27. Look after your appearance
You may feel down but very often, dressing well and taking care of yourself will project the right image. Your feelings will catch up, as every time you look in the mirror you feel better.
28. Keep a journal
Write down your achievements, your great qualities and all the things you need to be grateful for. Keep it handy on your smartphone so that you can reassure yourself often.
29. Seek distraction
When you get into the downward spiral of negative thoughts, the best way to limit the fallout and other collateral damage is to do something else. This can be anything from going on a run to watching a funny video on YouTube.
30. Learn from mistakes
Don’t waste time in trying to cover up your mistakes. Instead, take a step back, analyse what went wrong and learn the lessons.
Where are you on the self esteem scale? Have you ever thought about how over-confident people are so full of themselves and yet their results are mediocre? Or, what about those people at the other end of the scale who never take a challenge or are plagued by doubts and self-criticism. This is where you need to realistically assess where you are on this scale. Time to reflect on your human qualities, skills, ethics, and achievements and assess them honestly.
Featured photo credit: Comparisons/Celestine Chua via flickr.com