20 tips to increase self-esteem

Self-esteem can get knocked around by many things – perhaps a disappointment or two, some nasty comments, or a large dose of bad thoughts about our “flaws” and “failures”. Stop the negativity. Replace it with positive thoughts, beliefs and actions. Follow these 20 ideas to help feel super soon.

  1. Accept that people come in many shapes and sizes.
    If we only like ourselves if we are slim, fit or wrinkle-free… then we are likely to have low self-esteem at some stage of our lives. We are far more than our looks, job, body weight and bank balance. Don’t let these things define us. They are only a part of who we are. We are sons or daughters, team members, friends…
    My late mother had a good view on self-esteem. Although she was overweight for most of her life, she told me that her body weight did not affect her self-esteem. She said that her friends like her for who she is, not for her body weight or how she looks. As a result, she was a happy lady, with high self-esteem.
    “We should all celebrate our individuality and not be embarrassed or ashamed of it.” – Johnny Depp
  2. Let go of regret.
    We often do the best that we can at the time, given the circumstances.
  3. Learn from the past, let go and move on.
    Being stuck in the past holds us back from success and happiness. Look to the future, and make that bright.
  4. Forgive ourselves and others for past hurts.
    Forgiving sets us free, and can increase self-esteem.
  5. Make other people feel happy.
    People often remember how others make them feel. When I was going through an awkward phase when I was a teenager, I went to see a counselor to get ideas about how to boost my self-esteem. The counselor said that she knew a young man who looked ordinary, but he had a great personality, and he made everyone who knew him feel happy, so he had many friends. His looks didn’t matter; people liked him for him, not because of how he looked.
  6. Stop simplistic thinking about success and failure.
    How we think about success affects our self-esteem. Regardless of what the media conveys, coming first isn’t everything. There are many definitions of success. Believe in ones that increase self-esteem.
  7. Aim for improvement not perfection.
    No one will ever be perfect. Aim high if we want to, but accept that mistakes are part of being human.
  8. Set and achieve goals.
    Achievement is important for many people to feel good.
    “If you have a dream, don’t just sit there. Gather courage to believe that you can succeed and leave no stone unturned to make it a reality.” – Roopleen
  9. Focus on our achievements, not our failures.
    If we try enough things, some of them might not turn out as good as we hoped. It can be disappointing, but it’s part of life. Accept it. Even the most successful people in their field don’t always get it right or always reach number one.
    “Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.” – Malcolm S. Forbes.
  10. Reward ourselves for our successes.
  11. Don’t focus too much on our imperfections.
    We can spend a lot of time and money, get obsessed and feel unhappy if we dwell too much on what we don’t like about ourselves. Don’t get obsessed. Don’t go broke, and don’t ruin your health trying to look and feel better. Be reasonable.
  12. Focus on our positive traits.
    Everyone has positive qualities. Maybe we are kind, a good friend, and a good listener. We could have nice eyes, a lovely smile, and a cheerful personality. If we focus on what we don’t like about ourselves, we can have low self-esteem. So focus on what we like about ourselves instead.
  13. Dress so that we feel good.
    How we dress can affect how we feel about ourselves. Dress like we don’t care about ourselves, and that’s how we can feel. Dress in ways that make us feel good, and we can feel better.
  14. Have clean hair, skin, teeth and nails.
    Like how we dress can affect our self-esteem, so can these things.
  15. Let go of negative nonsense that people say about us.
    There will always be people who say untrue and nasty things about others. To have high self-esteem, we must let go of it.
    “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
  16. Remember the praise that people give us.
    Focus on the positive things about us that friends, family or others have said about us.
  17. Dwell on the good things in our lives.
    Common sayings people can believe include: “Everything is going wrong in my life”, “I always fail” and “Everyone hates me.” Be realistic. In reality, perhaps a few things have gone wrong recently, and some people don’t like us. To feel better about ourselves, often think about the positive things in our lives.
  18. Remove any negative thoughts that we have about ourselves.
    Replace them with uplifting thoughts that boost self-esteem.
    “Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.” – August Wilson.
  19. Think, read and say positive affirmations.
    Affirmations are positive statements that we say to ourselves to help us be, or stay, happy, healthy and successful. Think about the statements often throughout the day, every day. This can replace negative beliefs with positive beliefs.
  20. See counselors, if we need to.
    Talking to trained counselors that we connect with can help. They aren’t related to us, they don’t know the people that we talk to them about, and they must be confidential.

… Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.”

– Norman Vincent Peale

… As long as you look for someone else to validate who you are by seeking their approval, you are setting yourself up for disaster. You have to be whole and complete in yourself. No one can give you that.”

– Nic Sheff

written by Nyomi Graef

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