how to improve your self esteem

7 Ways You Can Improve Your Self-Esteem without Sabotaging Yourself

When you suffer from low self-esteem it’s easy to find yourself in a spiral of negativity and self-sabotage. Every positive thought can be counteracted by a powerful negative response.

Learning to recognize negative behaviors is therefore key to maintaining positive feelings about yourself. Here are seven best strategies that will help you to improve your Self Esteem on your journey:

1. Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

No matter how successful, clever or attractive you are, there will always be someone somewhere who has the edge on you. Comparing yourself, either negatively or positively to others, will not help you build self-esteem that can stand up to new challenges.

Remember that different people have different ideas of success, intelligence and physical beauty. There’s no such thing as perfection and that’s what makes us all unique. Set your own standards for yourself and live by those, not by anyone else’s.

2. Nip Negative Thoughts in the Bud

One negative thought tends to follow another and you can soon find yourself criticizing and doubting every action. This is why it’s important to recognize the times when negative thoughts are starting to creep in and replace them with positive affirmations. Remember a time you were really proud of yourself or you achieved something difficult. Repeat positive statements.

If you find there’s always a time or place when you tend to think negative thoughts – maybe in the shower or on the drive to work – try to minimize the room for those thoughts.

Take a radio into the shower or listen to an audio book on your commute. Whilst this “self-talk” may seem inconsequential, over time it has a profound effect on how we see ourselves and the world around us, so it’s important to stay positive.

3. Set Targets

In the face of your own negativity, it can be hard to remember all those affirmative things about yourself. So when that negative internal voice rears its ugly head, it’s good to have some positive proof to throw back at it.

Setting yourself targets is a way to get the evidence you need to convince yourself of your worth and abilities. Write down some achievable targets. Include simple things like visiting a new city and bigger things like changing job.

Set realistic deadlines and then check back with your list in a month or two. As long as your targets are achievable and you set reasonable time frames, this task will help you to see definite progress in your life and give your self-esteem a well-deserved boost.

4. Conquer Fears

That critical inner voice can stop you from trying new things. It can persuade you with ideas that you’re fine as you are, that you don’t need to try anything new or difficult and that the familiar is always best. However, it is only through growing and changing that we can conquer low self-esteem.

Try doing something that scares you every day. You don’t have to go bungee jumping off a bridge or swimming with sharks to achieve this. Whatever little things you procrastinate over and put off and pull back from, just go ahead and do them instead.

Setting yourself a mini challenge every day and proving to yourself that you can achieve these little things will help you on your way to becoming a stronger and more fulfilled person.

5. Take a second for self-appreciation

This simple habit helps to pay proper attention to your virtues and achievements. Spending a couple of minutes every day, week, or months can make a huge difference to your well-being.

Start by taking a deep breath. Slow down and ask yourself: What are the three things I can appreciate about myself?

They don’t need to be big things. If you listened to someone when they needed it or made someone laugh, consider it as such positive things about yourself. This exercise will do wonders to your self-esteem, but also transform negative mood into some positive energy.

6. Stop striving to be perfect

Perfectionism is a tough habit that can be really destructive. Perfectionists are paralyzed from action because they’re constantly worried about living up to a standard they imagined themselves to satisfy. They’re always waiting for the right moment. Consequently, they procrastinate taking action and never get the results they want.

There’s no better way to sabotage yourself than by struggling to create something perfect or become perfect. Here’s how to overcome perfectionism:

    • Accept work which is ‘good enough’
    • Stop aiming for perfection
    • Remember that the perfection myth might hurt you and other people in your life
    • Don’t forget that reality can easily clash with your expectations.

7. Be kind

If you approach others with a positive energy, you’re bound to receive the same kind of energy back. People who are kind toward others tend to be kind to themselves as well.

How to be kind to others? Here are some examples of actions that make you kinder in life:

  • Listen attentively when someone needs to vent;
  • Let someone into your lane when on the road;
  • When a friend or family member is uncertain, be there to encourage them;
  • Take a couple of minutes to help someone in a practical way.

The road to improved self-esteem is not an easy one. But by keeping negative thoughts at bay and gathering evidence that proves just how great a person you really are, you can start out on that journey one positive step at a time.

Sarah Davies

With a background in business administration and management, Tess Pajaron currently works at Open Colleges, Australia's leading online educator. She likes to cover stories in careers and self-growth.

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