4 Tips to Improve Self-Esteem

How can I improve my self esteem?

Self-esteem is a subjective concept and every person’s self-esteem can fluctuate depending on their roles, and life experiences. Oftentimes, having “good self-esteem” can be misunderstood. Some people think it’s related to their appearance or accomplishments. This is no surprise considering what our culture and society emphasize as being “important”. For example, how fit you are, how many friends you have, or what your job title is.

Self-esteem refers to how you feel about who you are; more so how you acknowledge, accept and appreciate your strengths, flaws, successes and shortcomings. A person with healthy self-esteem feels good about themselves. They recognize their self-worth. They are also accepting of their faults and do not allow their shortcomings to define who they are or how they see themselves. A person with low self-esteem, however, is often self-critical and personalizes their negative experiences as defining moments in their lives. At times, this can spiral into self-destructive behaviours where a person feels emotionally distressed, thinks they are inadequate or “not good enough”, and loses sense of who they are.

If you find you suffer from poor self-esteem and are often self-critical, here are four tips to improve your self-esteem:

Acknowledge Yourself.

Something we often forget to do is praising ourselves when we do something great. It is no surprise however that we are quick to pass judgement and be self-critical when we feel we have done something wrong. As important as it is to give ourselves credit, it is sometimes hard to recognize and acknowledge positive things about ourselves. With this in mind, create a list of your strengths and write at least 10 things. If you suffer from poor self-esteem and are having a tough time coming up with ideas, try and think about specific events or experiences where other people have said kind things about you. For example, “Thank you so much for your help in setting up for the birthday party” or “I can’t believe you designed that Christmas wreath; you are so creative”.

Enhance Self-Awareness.

Take some time to evaluate yourself, your relationships and your surroundings in order to identify your personal triggers for low self-esteem. It is important to understand how these factors make you feel and to ask yourself how much truth it holds. Self-exploration and self-awareness is important in improving our self-esteem because we cannot change what we do not know.

Take Care of Yourself.

For the purposes of keeping ourselves well, it is important to practice self-care. This can be something as simple as reading a book, meditating, baking cookies, going on a walk, taking a hot bath or spending quality time with our loved ones. Without self-care, we often feel tired and overwhelmed which can adversely affect our personal relationships, abilities to cope with stress, and self-esteem.

Re-frame Personal Goals & Expectations.

Finally, it is important to remember that no one is perfect but rather, we all possess strengths and flaws. What one person may identify as a weakness, another person may admire. It is therefore important to remember that these aspects of ourselves do not necessarily define who we are but rather, how we feel about these things does – and subconsciously, shapes our self-esteem. With that being said, it is important to acknowledge your strengths and weaknesses as well as your accomplishments and mistakes. Remember to not minimize your successes but to acknowledge them for their actual value. The same goes for when you make a mistake; it does not define who you are. When you a mistake (because everyone does), try and think of these as opportunities for growth and learning rather than personalizing it.