You see it every day on your newsfeed, and you probably don’t even question it—by now, it comes as no surprise. The popularity of Facebook has caused a shift in how people perceive themselves; the “like” button has become nothing more than a a self-esteem booster; a way for people who are low in self-esteem to get a quick fix of validation if they’re feeling low.
Can you see how this can be problematic?
What’s important is to develop high self-esteem from within, because then, you’re in total control of it, and the effects will be permanent. Developing high self-esteem can (and should) take years and years to develop, but there are shortcuts or, as I like to call them, “hacks” you can use to develop it no time at all. If you practice these 5 hacks on a consistent, daily basis, you’ll notice a difference in your self-esteem in no time at all. In fact, research argues that it only takes 66 days (Lally, Cornelia: 2009), so be sure to commit to it.
Liz Seda did a terrific job in her article “3 ways to permanently increase your self-esteem” and I thought I would elaborate on it with a few more.
1. Learn to Love Yourself
This isn’t about egoism; you’re not arrogant if you love yourself. In fact, arrogance is often the foundation of low self-esteem and insecurity. Try this exercise: stand in front of the mirror (full length if possible) and tell your reflection everything you love about yourself. Accept what you don’t like about yourself (it may still be something you CAN change) and repeat this exercise either every morning or evening (but be sure to do it in private!). This may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’ve never done it before, but change often does.
2. Condition a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)
Do you socialise with negative people? If so, consider finding new friends. This may seem unfair, but those negative people will simply re-enforce what you don’t like about yourself. People like to socialise with happy, positive people. The reason I wrote condition is because it takes A LOT of practice to be positive. I hate when people say “be positive” because it’s like saying to a struggling business “be affluent”—there’s no strategy, and you always need a stratergy if you want to learn how to hone a skill. Condition a PMA by trying to see the good in every bad situation you encounter. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find one.
3. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude
The happiest people in life are the ones that look at what they have, not what they don’t have. Similar to the aforementioned exercise, think about what you’re grateful for every day. Don’t just think it, say it aloud and really emotionalise why you’re grateful for it with you’re whole body. It will re-direct your focus and help you to notice more often what’s really good in your life; that which you may have overlooked previously.
4. Catch Your Negative Self-Talk
There are a lot of people who aren’t aware they have a voice in their head (don’t worry, you’re not crazy), but this voice is often negative. Catch your negative self-talk and whenever you hear a negative comment, immediately replace it with a positive one. Write down your most recurring self-talk statements and write counter-active, positive statements. If you hear “no one likes me”, write down “that’s not true, I know people like me because…” and list the reasons. Your brain is like a computer: whatever command you input, it responds, so if you ask it a question like “why do I always mess up?” your brain will find plenty of examples to support it, but if you ask more empowering questions, it’ll provide you with more resourceful answers.
5. Celebrate Your Successes
We’re often so busy in life that we seldom take the time to stop and really reflect on what we’ve achieved (regardless of how insignificant you think it is). Take the time once a day to ask yourself what you’re proud of having achieved that day, and revel in it. I recently actualised 4 of my 2013 goals in less than 2 weeks and hadn’t even noticed because I was so caught up in a minor roadblock I’d stumbled upon on a project. Appreciate how far you’ve come and remember that it’s not the outcome that’s always important, but the process.