Uncomfortable truth incoming: at times, we are all a little bit responsible for lowering our self-esteem and self-worth. Though the beginning of these habits comes from outside sources, negative self-talk, putting ourselves down, and yes, even the dreaded impostor syndrome help keep our self-worth low. Here are a few ways to banish low self-esteem and self-worth to keep yourself feeling good and strong.
To yourself, that is. Think about your friends — would you ever say even half of the negative things to them that you say to yourself? Probably not. When negative thoughts about yourself start to run rampant, try thinking of talking to yourself like talking to a friend. What sometimes works for me is to think of talking to my inner child (because we’re all just scared kids on the inside, right?). You don’t want to hurt that kid or that friend. You want to lift them up. Do yourself the same kindness.
Focus on Your Strengths
If your self-esteem is tanking because you’re failing at something, try focusing on a different thing that you’re good at for a while. Remind your mind and body that you are not failing, it’s just a moment, and there are plenty of things that you’re amazing at. Once you’re feeling better, go back to the challenge and take a run at it with a better mindset. Even if you don’t succeed, you’ll feel better.
Build a Good Network
Studies continuously prove that humans do better in life with a good support system. Your friends and family want to see you succeed (and if they don’t, find new supporters). If you’re feeling down on your self-worth and self-esteem, find one of your champions and chat with them for a bit. They love you. They’ll remind you why you’re awesome. Hopefully, the message will sink in ;).
Everyone messes up. It is okay. Making a mistake is not a character flaw, it’s human. Don’t apologize for being who you are.
Individuals who struggle with their self-esteem tend to say yes to other people, even if they don’t want to. Learn to say no to anything that will put you in a bad headspace or make you feel angry, sad, resentful, or burdened. It may be hard at first, but you’ll feel better about yourself in the long run.
Write in a Journal
Journaling is private, for you and only you. It’s where you’re allowed to say whatever you want about whatever you want. Sometimes it’s hard to admit that you’re having feelings of self-doubt, low self-worth, and overall ickiness. Journaling allows you to get those feelings out without having to confess any secrets to another person.
We all wear a mask to some extent in our daily lives (otherwise, would anyone have a job?). However, it’s important to allow the real you to shine through, even if that’s just with your friends. You are good enough. The real you is good enough. And if someone doesn’t like it, remind yourself that you don’t like everyone, either. As long as you’re being yourself, that’s all anyone can ask for.
Volunteering, or just helping out someone who needs it, is a great way to make a difference in the world. Even something small, like helping an elderly neighbor with a task or buying someone’s drink behind you in line at Starbucks, can go a long way. You’ll do some good and also remind yourself that your actions are important.
We spend a lot of time dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. Instead of focusing on the dumb thing you said in fourth grade (trust me, these things keep me awake at night too!) or worrying about tomorrow’s workload, try to be present in the moment. Enjoy what’s happening right here, right now, and let the rest go.
Clean House (Figuratively and Literally)
Literally: Clean your space. Everyone feels better in a clean space. Declutter, hire someone if you want, just get your home looking and feeling its best. Figuratively: Clean your life of people and things that aren’t contributing to your happiness. Being the best version of yourself means surrounding yourself with people who love you and opportunities that give you a chance to shine.