Self-esteem is a term used to describe your interpretation of your worth and value. Your level of self-esteem can have a profound impact on the way you live your life, and what you get out of life. If you have low self-esteem, this could hold you back. You may assume you’ll never get that promotion or land that job. You may see somebody that catches your eye in a bar but walk on by because you presume they wouldn’t be interested. If you lack confidence and self-worth, there are ways of building up your self-esteem and learning to love and respect yourself more. It’s time to stop letting a lack of self-esteem hold you back. Here are some simple ways you can increase your self-worth.
Cut off negative influences
Do you have a friend that always makes jokes about your appearance or your academic record at school? Is their banter always a bit close to the bone? Do they tend to try and bring you down by making themselves feel better? Have you got people in your life who are willing to take advantage of your understanding ear, but unwilling to do the same for you? Are you always there for others? Are they there in return? Friendship is so important and so valuable, but if you let the wrong type of people in, there can be devastating consequences. Some people build us up and make us feel better. Others can bring us down. If you have friends that make you feel uneasy or there are people in your social group that make negative comments about you, cut them off. You don’t need to be surrounded by people who dent your confidence.
Stick with your supporters
Everyone needs a cheerleader from time to time. When you’re having one of those days, who is there to cheer you up, and give you that pep talk you need? These are the people you need to cling onto and never let go. The friends who genuinely want the best for you, and will always be there to give you advice, and try and steer you in the right direction. It may be as simple as being able to pick up the phone and ask which outfit to wear for a date, or it may be that reassuring voice you need if you’re feeling anxious and you can’t sleep or think straight. Keep your supporters close.
One of the best ways to build confidence is to set targets. This may mean aiming for high ranking nurses jobs if you’ve recently qualified as a nursing assistant or becoming head of department if you’re a newly qualified teacher. It might be finding a job you love if you’re not happy where you work. It may be trying to hit a goal weight by the summer or learning a new language. You may want to complete a half-marathon or put a deposit down on a house. You may have a savings target in mind or be desperately hoping for good grades in your college exams. Whatever you’re striving for, whether it’s a personal or professional goal, keep moving in the right direction. Be patient, work hard, and don’t beat yourself up if it takes time to get to where you want to be. Be realistic, and take every day as it comes. Nobody can be expected to achieve results overnight.
Treat yourself as you would your best friend
Picture the scene. You’re getting ready at a friend’s house. You’re all doing your makeup, and trying your outfits on. How many times over the course of the evening will you tell your friends how lovely, pretty or slim they look? Here’s another scenario for you. Your friend is upset. They’ve not done as well as they were hoping in an exam and somebody has posted a mean comment on their Facebook photo. What’s your reaction? This is not a drill to see how brilliant a friend you are. It’s an example to show you how you should treat yourself. We tend to be our own harshest critics, and we’re much kinder to other people. When you’re having one of those days when nothing looks great in the mirror, somebody’s made you feel down or your day at work or college hasn’t quite gone to plan, don’t curse yourself. Be gentle. Sometimes, it’s really useful to give yourself a pep talk and try and motivate yourself to do more and push harder, but there’s a time and a place for tough love.
Give up on perfect
If you aim for perfection, you’re always going to fall short because it’s impossible for anyone to be perfect. Even Instagram models and Victoria’s Secrets angels aren’t perfect. They probably have body hang-ups, and they may also worry about their relationships with friends or their careers just like you and me. The moment you stop trying to be perfect, a weight will be lifted from your shoulders. This doesn’t just apply to your body or your face. It’s also relevant to your life goals. So what if you don’t own your own home by the time you’re 35, or you’re not married by 30? Life doesn’t go in the direction you anticipated when you were younger, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Stop comparing yourself to others
If your self-esteem issues are linked to your appearance, this piece of advice is particularly beneficial, especially if you’re a fan of glossy magazines or social platforms like Instagram. If you spend hours scrolling through photographs of leggy models emerging from the ocean at sunset with impossibly golden skin and not an ounce of body fat in sight, it’s bound to be damaging for your body image. It’s wise to remember that very few people actually look like the models in those photos, and that these people often have squads of makeup artists and professional stylists and photographers on hand to produce amazing images. There’s also the small matter of using filters and editing software. If you find yourself comparing your life to that of your Facebook friends, again, proceed with caution. Sites like Facebook provide only a snapshot of people’s lives. What happens in real life may be very different to what you see on your screen. Focus on what you’re doing, rather than spending time worrying about other people.
If social media gets you down, stop using it. It can be hugely refreshing and liberating to stop comparing yourself to others.
Get your body moving
If you’re looking for a quick and simple mood-booster, look no further than a walk, a jog, a cycle or a swim. Exercise is not just a great tonic for stress. It can also brighten up your day, make you feel happier, and give you more energy and confidence.
Low self-esteem is a very common problem, and it can have a damaging effect. If you lack confidence, it can hold you back and prevent you from living life to the full. It can also make you feel anxious and increase the risk of depression and stress. Building your self-esteem can take time, and there is no miracle cure. However, it is possible to increase confidence and make you feel more able to reach your goals. If you lack confidence, try and put these measures into place. Be kind to yourself, and choose your friends carefully. Strive to better yourself, and work towards goals. Stop trying to be perfect or comparing yourself to others. Focus only on what you want to do and what matters to you. If you’re feeling low, get your body moving, and try and adopt a positive mindset.