7 Steps to Building Self Esteem

7 steps to building self-esteem

By Jayne L Cat, BSS, Postgrad Dip, M.A.P.S

Self esteem is the way that you look at yourself or perceive yourself. People with high self esteem tend to feel good about themselves and their achievements, while people with low self esteem tend to magnify their perceived shortcomings and ignore their strengths and successes. Self esteem can effect the way we feel, our relationships and our motivation.

Here are 7 good tips for raising low self esteem.

  • Keep a diary:

Keep a diary and record three concerns which you believe affect your life, and then write down 2 practical ways to help you to overcome these issues and put them into action. Review your progress once a week, and seek advice if you need it. Remember to take baby steps to help to boost our optimism and increase our self-esteem.

  • Goal-setting:

Goal-setting provides a focus and gives us something to work towards.

Think of the things you have stopped doing or given up these can include social activities, hobbies, and other activities such as daily chores. Or even the things you would like to do in the future. It is vital that you choose realistic goals – activities that you can achieve. It is important that you seek advice about some of the physical activities.

Also, use pacing and other strategies you know to achieve the goals. If you start to feel down about your progress do you need to check your thinking? What are you saying to yourself? For example “I shouldn’t have set these stupid goals that are so low, I never had to worry about this before”.

Breaking goals into smaller steps

Some goals will need to be broken down into more manageable steps.

Click here for more about how to set great goals here…
  • Low Self-Esteem

low self-esteem has been linked to our critical thinking. This critical thinking generally becomes habitual and automatic, it helps to maintain our pessimism and prevents us from building our self-esteem. Quite often we are not even aware of what we are thinking. However, when we do become aware of what our thoughts are doing to us we can start to change it. When you become aware of the negative put-downs create a special section in yourdiary to record your negative self-talk. Write them in your diaries special section for your self-talk, then alongside the negative self-talk write arguments against them. For example if you think “I’m useless, I screw everything up” , you could dispute this by arguing “ I may not always get it right but that does not make me useless, as I have a lot of useful qualities in fact I often succeed more than I fail”. When we continue to counter or reframe our thoughts and thinking we begin to link with our internal critic, this help us to develop higher levels of self-esteem.

  • Imagery: Visualise a better future

This is often a good way to enhance our goal-setting ability, our optimism, self-esteem and confidence. This is not a form of daydreaming which is ineffective. A vital part of this technique is to compare your imagined future with how reality is now. This helps you to identify how dissatisfied you are with your life as it is now and increases your urge to change it to the way you imagine it should be. Remember working towards your goals helps to elevate your mood, relieve pessimistic thoughts and increases your self-esteem.

  • Self-nurture:

Self-esteem is only really built through doing things for ourself, while we may feel good doing things for the ones we love it does not help to build our self-esteem. Therefore it is vital to do something special for yourself everyday. This special treat does not have to be expensive or costly, you may just set aside half an hour to have a relaxing bath with scented candles, or put an hour aside to play computer games or go for a walk. Whatever you choose to do it has to be something you like, that is good for you and helps you to feel good.

  • Affirmations

Work on the premise that if we hear something often enough we begin to believe it even if we know differently. Therefore if a repeated message can become fixed in our mind, then why not fill our minds with positive messages that help us to feel good about ourselves. The most important aspect of affirmations is that affirmations need to be personalized to the individual as the more personal the affirmation the more meaningful it will be to us and the better it will work for us. For example a person with a body image problem may use an affirmation that changes the way the person see themselves i.e. “everyday I grow more beautiful”, a person who has problems concentrating may tell themselves “everyday my concentration grows stronger”.

  • See the positive

Seeing the upside to situations helps us to deal with life’s stresses a little bit easier. When we are able to deal with life’s stresses more effectively we feel better in ourselves and this results in helping to build our self-esteem. For example you have planned a picnic with a friend, and the day of the planned picnic it rains- rather than getting upset and cancelling the picnic, why not suggest having the picnic inside, or say you notice you have a flat tyre just before your about to leave rather than get upset about the unforeseeable circumstance why not tell yourself “how lucky you where to notice that before driving off and doing more damage to your car”.

…..These small things, when practiced regularly can make a big difference to the way that we think and perceive ourselves. As always, if you’re having any trouble it’s a good idea to talk to someone and seek advice.

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