Low self-esteem can affect anyone, at any time, and it can often go hand-in-hand with other mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.
Whether it’s a long-term condition or just a string of recent setbacks that has made you think negatively about yourself, follow these self-care tips to get back to feeling like yourself again.
Stop trying to please other people
Relying on others to make us feel valued isn’t how we find happiness. Trying to be what others want, and not what we ourselves want, gradually chips away at our self-esteem and makes us feel less important than others, or even completely worthless.
Learning to say no can be a big aspect of this. Do you make yourself feel guilty at the thought of not doing what someone asks of you? Be kind to yourself. Say yes to yourself – please YOU. It will take time to change your approach, but you will get there.
Spring clean your body image
Comparing yourself to people on TV or Instagram?
Can’t stop thinking about your ‘wrinkles’?
See yourself as fat/ugly/any other derogatory word, when you’re actually nothing of the sort?
Time to spring clean your way of thinking about yourself!
Start by removing any influences from your life that make you think negatively about yourself. Clicking that ‘unfollow’ button is super empowering.
At the same time, start leading by example. Give praise to others, but about their inner qualities, not their physical attributes – you’ll be amazed how your brain will adapt its way of thinking. By moving away from praising looks, we begin to reinforce the importance of how behaviour defines us, not whether we’re wearing the right designer label or if our eyebrows are the right shape.
Ensure you challenge your negative thinking, too. Every time a self-doubt enters your mind, push it away. Tell it it’s wrong, to get lost. Positive reactions will assist your brain into positive thinking.
Step out of your comfort zone
Start by taking positive risks. Risks aren’t bad or to be avoided, as taking a leap is the only way to step out of your comfort zone and change your circumstances.
Remember: Just because something happened a certain way in the past doesn’t mean the same thing will happen going forward, or that the risk is not worth taking.
Taking positive risks can also help us realise our hidden (or ignored) strengths, helping to build our confidence. We must allow ourselves to acknowledge we did good.
We might often find ourselves talking ourselves out of taking a risk that we need to take to make a positive change. When this happens, it’s important to begin challenging both those thoughts and ourselves. By challenging our fears, we begin to build confidence and start to increase our self-belief.
Make yourself a list of challenges that push you out of your comfort zone. They could be things like:
- Taking up a new hobby, but taking it one step at a time, and not expecting to master it immediately.
- Setting a challenge of dedicated enjoyment time per day. It could be five minutes or five hours, but get happy each day.
- Volunteering at a local charity – the act of making a difference, big or small, is very rewarding.
Learn to accept praise
This is a big one, and it can often make someone with low self-esteem turn themselves inside out in discomfort.
But by being bold and starting to accept praise or compliments, we begin to build on our core belief system and actually believe in ourselves and our abilities.
By gracefully accepting praise at work, for example – especially if it is for something we’ve worked hard on – we not only acknowledge that we’ve done a good job but we will also help to build strong, respectful working relationships; something we probably struggle with given the lack of self-confidence.
Ending any toxic friendships in our lives will also support this step. If someone is always putting us down to make themselves feel better, that is not a friendship we would like to continue. Follow the tips in Step 2 and spring clean any negativity.
Build a support network
Talk to someone. It could be a friend, family member or even a professional like ourselves. By talking openly and not hiding our feelings, not only is it a weight from our shoulders, but we take the steps toward understanding what makes us feel this way and how we can change our way of thinking.
By speaking with someone who has experienced something similar – whether it’s an understanding ear or someone like ourselves who have helped countless others with low self-esteem – we can realise further benefits through empathy and compassion.
We hope you’ve found these tips helpful in your steps towards a more confident you. If you’d like to speak to us regarding how you feel, give us a call to discuss how our therapy can help.