How do you feel about yourself today? Accomplished? A shell of your better self? The answer to such a loaded question may call for more contemplation than expected. Ups and downs, successes and failures, each chapter of our lives brings with it a new relationship to our feelings of personal worth. Maintaining a healthy level of self-esteem is no easy feat and requires a good deal of checking in with ourselves.
Luckily, there are several small adjustments and tricks that can be followed to boost confidence and fend off any brewing doubts.
Identify and Celebrate Your Strengths
It’s important to take a moment out of your routine to acknowledge some of the positive qualities that make you who you are. In the depths of doubt, it can feel almost impossible to recognize the good, so start small.
Try making a list of some of your positive qualities. You can take note of anything from your smile, to the way you treat people at work, or even how you play a videogame.
Another exercise to try is writing a journal entry that details 3 things you did well in the given day. Continue this every night for at least a week.
Develop Positive, Realistic Affirmations
Affirmations are a great way to build up a positive way of thinking. However, it can be all too easy to be swept away by lofty affirmations. Try to be realistic – if you are too overzealous you may end up ultimately discouraging yourself rather than boosting your self-esteem. Similarly, setting goals that sound nice but are far beyond the realm of possibility can pull us away from incremental progress. Remember, slow and steady wins the race!
Work on Accepting Compliments
Whether you believe it or not, there’s more than likely a lot more truth in the compliments people give us than we realize. We can take steps toward accepting the nice things that people say about us. One strategy is to have a prepared response for when such a situation arises, even if we don’t totally feel it in the moment. Even a simple “thank you” will do!
Be Easier on Yourself
Try not to give so much energy to self-criticism, tempting as it may be. If we can learn to give ourselves the same level of understanding and compassion that we strive to offer our loved ones and friends, we not only begin to improve our own state of being, but also develop our capacity to be good to those around us.
Also important to remember – everyone makes mistakes! Not one of us is exempt from this defining human trait, and it’s important to remember that our failures and short comings are some of the most effective catalysts for growth.
Avoid Constant Comparisons to others
Focus on your own goals and achievements, rather than sizing them up against those of others. There will always be a bigger fish in the pond, so to speak. The best thing we can do is direct our attention toward our own swimming, our own development. The rest will follow.
Up and at ‘em! Physical exercise can make a world of a difference. Studies have shown that endorphins released during a workout lead to reduced depression, anxiety and stress. Additionally, toning muscles and losing bodyfat can lead to an improved body-image which in turn helps raise your self-esteem.
On a larger scale, following a workout regimen is a great way to practice setting attainable goals and monitoring your progress. Little by little, positive change starts adding up.
Build Positive Relationships
One time or another, we have all found ourselves in friendships or romantic relationships that drag us down rather than lift us up. Make it a point to spend time with people that bring out your better traits and make you feel good about yourself. While it’s certainly easier said than done, taking time away from people that introduce negative energies and thoughts into our lives can lift a considerable weight off of our shoulders.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to building up self-esteem. Some strategies may work well for you, while others may appear to be futile. In the end, it’s important to remember that maintaining a healthy level of confidence is an ongoing effort, and we all slip up every now and again. Be easy on yourself and take things one step at a time.