Do you know that awkward feeling when someone pays you a compliment and you blush and don’t know how to respond? No? Good for you.

However, if that sounds familiar, it signals that you might have low self esteem. You don’t feel deserving of that compliment, you don’t think you look that pretty or that your job results are worthy of praise. So you say something like: “Have you checked your eyes lately?” or “The boss probably won’t be satisfied.” And you wonder if the compliment was sincere or the person was being sarcastic. Maybe they were even making fun of you?

The truth is, you can simply say “Thank you” and go about your day. But that little insecure devil sitting on your shoulder is constantly telling you that you are not good enough. He doesn’t let you speak your mind (“You’ll definitely say something wrong!”) or try something new (“You’ll be terrible!”). You stay in unhealthy relationships because you think you don’t deserve better, you run away from the spotlight and question every decision you make.

How to Build Self Esteem

Low self esteem stops you from enjoying some of the most gratifying aspects life and leaves you feeling anxious, even depressed. The devil on your shoulder will tell you to wait for your life to change itself. But, I have to be honest: nothing will change if you don’t take charge. You need to be the cog in your personal self esteem wheel.

The first step is choosing to work on your confidence. It will open your world up to rewards that you didn’t even think were possible. Confident people exude a more positive attitude and attract other positives to their lives. They do what’s best for them. They are more successful in their careers because they aren’t afraid to take risks.

Fortunately, you can become one of them. Make a list of personal commitments on how to improve self esteem and print out two copies. Hang one in a personal space at home where you will automatically look at it every day, like a bathroom mirror or by the door as you leave each day. Save one wallet compartment for the other copy, so you can take it with you. Here are some personal commitments that you should add to your list.

I will think pink.

Usually, an integral part of low self esteem is general negativity about yourself and about your life’s circumstances. Focusing on seeing life from a positive perspective can take some practice. This is where the technique of mindfulness can help. It helps you become more fully aware of what is happening in the moment. You will be able to assess your motivations and reactions.

In the beginning, you can set aside 15 minutes every night to write down positive things from that day. Write how you made your little brother smile. How you held the door for your old neighbor. How you made the best cake ever. It’s as simple as that, your accomplishments don’t always have to be huge.

Find the silver lining in difficult situations. If you lose your job, think of it as an opportunity to find a better one. Or to go for that long-planned vacation. If you go through a break-up, celebrate the fact that you can finally stop shaving your legs every day. On a more serious note, remember the reasons for the break-up, you’re probably better off this way.

I will speak my mind.

Gradually work yourself into sharing your feelings about what you are experiencing on a daily basis. Start with a simple issue with people you are comfortable with and that you have strong trust.

  • Tell your best friend that you prefer to do something else for the evening. Make a suggestion for an activity or place you have wanted to try but never had the confidence to suggest before.
  • If you are given a task to complete at work that you feel is not your responsibility, say so.

Furthermore, if you don’t say “No” from time to time, you are most likely to get overwhelmed and you’ll do a subpar job. If you pretend to like a movie your partner likes, you’ll end up watching something you hate every month or two.

I will banish “coulda, woulda, shoulda” from my vocabulary.

Dwelling on the past will not make the future brighter. It only serves to bring your self esteem even lower. Tell yourself that you are allowed to make mistakes because that is part of learning. This might also include admitting to someone else that is was your mistake. Believe it or not, admitting your own errors is something that empowers you. Just make sure you let it go and look toward future endeavors.

I will take a leap.

If you have always wanted to learn how to walk on stilts, do it. Don’t worry about what others will think of you and give up. Also, nearly everything we do involves risk-taking, so don’t go over a list of these in your head to find an excuse. When you make a decision, don’t second-guess it. Even if you fail, you’ll learn something from that new experience. Again, start with small goals: make a meal you saw on last night’s episode of Masterchef, learn some useful phrases in Japanese, join a dance class. It will be easier to try something bigger when your confidence starts growing.

I will not compare myself to others.

Comparisons to others’ lives get many people with low self esteem trapped. You have to remember that the majority of people, especially on social media, do not present their life in a realistic way. No one is going to take a picture of them having a fight with their spouse, fixing a flat tire, or overeating, and then post it on Instagram. They are only going to show you the bits and pieces of their life that appear to be perfect. Instead, focus on comparisons to the person you used to be, and then visualize who you want to be in the future.

I will be realistic.

Don’t overextend yourself and set goals that are unattainable. If your goal is to own a chain of luxury hotels by the time you’re 27, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Set realistic goals that can actually be accomplished – when you do reach them, you will feel fulfilled and proud of yourself. Understand there is no such thing as perfection, so don’t let trying to achieve it paralyze you.

I will take care of myself.

Building self esteem is self-improvement on the outside as well as on the inside. Work on de-stressing your life. Find an exercise program that suits your comfort level, whether it is a daily walk or joining a fitness group. Your mood will improve along with your looks. Choose another relaxation method, like yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises. Ensure you get enough sleep and eat a healthy diet. This will help you achieve a more positive outlook on life. If you need a quick confidence boost, put on that shirt that makes you feel like a movie star.

I will have healthy relationships.

If you are working on improving yourself, the natural progression is to create better relationships with the people around you.

  • Educate yourself on relationship-building skills. This will help you to recognize the relationships that may not be working best for you and even holding you back from your goals.
  • Practice healthy conflict-resolution strategies. Learning the best way to handle conflict with a co-worker or loved one takes a skill that can be achieved through practice.
  • Use self-help guides. They will help you to improve upon the important relationships you have so you can sustain them throughout your life.

It is imperative to have only supportive people in your life that you can trust to help you build self confidence instead of tearing it down. This may lead to taking stock of who you surround yourself with and begin to pull away from individuals who may not have your best interests in mind.

Healthy relationships also mean reaching out to people who may need advice, a kind word, or someone to just listen to them as they work through a problem. Being helpful to others makes you feel better about yourself, and it is a great building block to better self esteem.

Commit to Commitments

Making a commitment to personal growth through understanding who you truly are and how it affects your life, will lead you to choose the best process by which you achieve better confidence. These personal commitments can just be the basis for your list. Add your own as you go along. In no time, you will be advising others on how to improve self esteem, just like me.

Author

Michelle Laurey is a freelance writer who enjoys fitness, relaxing in the fresh air, trying to live a healthy life and daydreaming about visiting new places (and actually visiting them). Her best ideas and problem solutions appear while she’s riding her bicycle.

1 Comment

  1. Good article, Michelle. I especially like the points about mindfulness, taking care of yourself, and not comparing yourself to others.

    Something else that I’ve learned is that people with low self-esteem (myself included) often spend too much time thinking about what other people are thinking about them, and that other people have unachievably high expectations. In reality, though, most people are so wrapped up in their own thoughts and lives that they think little (if any) about us. And we usually have higher expectations of ourselves than others do of us, so those fears are usually unfounded. Those realizations have helped me significantly.

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