Having low self-esteem can send you into a downward spiral that can be tricky to climb out of.
The worse that you feel about yourself, the harder it is to get the motivation to make the changes needed to feel better.
You can break the cycle, but it won't happen overnight. With some patience, perseverance and commitment you can make a start to being confident again.
These tips are simply a starting point for improving your self-esteem.
Change your self-talk
That little voice inside our heads can be our best friend and our worst enemy. It is a worthwhile exercise to sit down alone and write down some of the things that you tell yourself. We are often harshly critical of ourselves, and beat ourselves up over the silly things that we do. Trying to be more forgiving and kinder to ourselves is an important step. As a general rule, if you are not comfortable with saying what you say to yourself to your best friend or face-to-face to a stranger, you need to stop saying it to yourself too. Kindness starts in your mind.
The Buddhist practice of Mindfulness can be enlightening and helpful when it comes to how we react and behave in specific situations. Basically, it is thinking about what you are thinking and how you are reacting at any given time and examining what is causing you to react in this way. Do you get angry when something doesn't go the way you expected it? This could be associated with the need to have control. With this mindfulness comes the opportunity for change and being more flexible can help you in coping with stress and anxiety.
Try not to compare
This is a tricky one to master, as it is human nature to compares ourselves to others. We are bombarded with images of people in the media and online that we aspire to look like, without knowing the amount of money, time and photo-shopping that goes on.
Volunteering your time, skills or expertise can be very uplifting and empowering. Becoming a mentor for a young person who may need some direction or guidance can be a great way to boost your self-esteem and self-confidence. Volunteering to help out someone and seeing them benefit from your assistance can make you feel awesome.
Dreams without goals are no better than wishes. It is important to set some goals when you want to achieve something great. This can be long-term, short-term and daily goals. Of you can achieve the daily and short-term tasks associated with your long-term goals, you will be surprised at the results. Celebrate your small wins and achievements along the way.
Master a new skill
Is there something that you have been wanting to try for a while? Taking the first step to try a new hobby or skill can be empowering, and committing to mastering that skill is a great way to focus your efforts and energy. Remember to be kind to yourself during this process as true mastery of a skill never, ever happens overnight.
Even light to moderate amount of exercise during the day has been proven to give you a mood boost and increase your positive self-talk. Exercise releases feel-good endorphins and can also assist in managing stress and anxiety. It also provides you with an opportunity to clear your head and can be quite meditative.
- Karen Ceccon is a counsellor at firstname.lastname@example.org