6 Strategies to Overcome Low Self-Esteem
Regardless whether you hide your low self-esteem behind a mask of over-confidence or behind the closed doors of your house, living a life while convinced some aspect of ‘you’ is not good enough can be debilitating. Low self-esteem manifests due to a myriad of reasons including childhood developmental issues, attachment issues, body image issues, learning disorders, environmental concerns and plain old-fashioned envy. Of course there are many more reasons why you may have low self-esteem, but the result is the same; you have an aspect of yourself that you dislike and it underpins nearly every factor of your entire life. So what can you do about low self-esteem? Thankfully, lots! Following are six easy strategies to help you overcome low self-esteem.
Learn who you are
While we may all be adept at rattling off our names and phone numbers, do you really know who you are? Deep inside? What makes you tick? If you don’t, if your perception of self doesn’t match your actual self, the incongruence may be contributing towards your low self-esteem. In order to merge your beliefs of self you need to spend time learning who you are and how you think and speak internally. To do this, you need to be present and self-aware, not thinking of the future or dwelling in the past. Mindfulness, meditation and yoga are excellent ways of anchoring yourself to the present so you can begin to observe and acknowledge who you are and identify any negative thoughts contributing to your low self-esteem.
Practice positive self-talk
Acknowledging and challenging negative thoughts go a long way to eradicating them, however you need to fill up the void of those negative thoughts with something else. Positive self-talk is the antithesis of negative thought and is an excellent way to begin rebuilding your self-esteem. Where the negative thoughts may have centred on an erroneous self-view, perhaps of yourself as a failure, weak and ineffectual, tell yourself instead that you are a success and a worthy, meaningful human being. If enough negative thoughts damages your self-esteem, it stands to reason that enough positive talk will help reshape your self-esteem.
Remember you are more than your appearance
Low self-esteem and internal negative talk is often centred on appearance. In these days of body image and body conscious thinking, it’s easy to lose sight of ourselves as a whole entity and see ourselves merely as a body shape. Often, negative thoughts surrounding appearance and body image are so ingrained by societal norms they need to be challenged using therapeutic techniques. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy [CBT] teaches people to recognise irrational, and usually unshakable, thoughts and to challenge them head on. By challenging a negative thought, such as I am overweight therefore I am not worth much as a person, you may come to realise it actually has no basis in fact.
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Accept mistakes and failures
Dwelling on mistakes and failures is a guaranteed way to convince yourself you are a failure, and cause a massive hit to your self-esteem. Further, low self-esteem is intrinsically wrapped up in failure, in that the person perceives not only a failed action or plan, but begins to internalize their whole sense of self as a failure. To overcome this, you need to let go of failures and mistakes and realize we all make them. This begins by recognizing that you made a mistake or failed at something; not that you are a failure or a mistake. Positive self-talk and CBT are great techniques to challenge thoughts about failing and making mistakes.
Remember you can’t please everyone (and shouldn’t try to)
One of the biggest hits to self-esteem you might ever face is when you’ve tried your hardest, given all you’ve got, and someone still isn’t pleased. This can leave you feeling worthless and devalued. However, just as you need to accept failure and mistake-making as part of everyday life, you also need to learn that you cannot and will not please everyone in life. Moreover, you need to accept that you shouldn’t spend your life trying to please everyone! If you are spending your entire life trying to please others, the one person you will inevitably end up disappointing is you. Remember, be true to you and have realistic expectations of yourself.
Celebrate your achievements
Just as you shouldn’t dwell on the mistakes and failures that happen in life for risk of these damaging your self-esteem, you should also seek to celebrate your achievements for an immediate self-esteem boost. We are too busy in today’s world to celebrate successes, instead we gloss over them and move from challenge to challenge. Yet in not celebrating our achievements, we are denying ourselves the chance to congratulate ourselves on a job well done. So celebrate the big stuff. Celebrate the small stuff. Celebrate that you make it out of bed every morning.
Low self-esteem is not something you need to live with. Whilst the world at large may play its hand in knocking your self-esteem, only you have the power to fight back and challenge the world, and see yourself for who you really are.
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