Personal Growth

7 Tips for How to Improve Self-Esteem

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Are you struggling with how to improve self-esteem? To feel good enough within yourself, wherever you’re at?

When we feel like our self-esteem is low, the most natural response is to look outward, to others, for their idea of what we should be. But this means the goalposts are constantly moving and we are at the mercy of whoever happens to be around.

It’s normal, healthy behaviour to adapt how you behave around different social groups. But if your sense of self-worth is entirely dependent on other people’s opinions, you are handing over control of your well-being to them.

If your sense of self-worth is entirely dependent on other people’s opinions, you are handing over control of your well-being to them.

 

What’s helping or hindering your self-esteem?

One of the remedies for this is to gain clarity around your own values, understand your triggers, and choose wonder over worry.

The questions below will help you build a sense of what matters to you from the inside out:

  • What kind of person do I want to be?
  • How do I want to contribute to my family, community, and the world?
  • When tough times hit, how do I want to approach problems? What attitude could I take that would make myself proud?
  • What are the aspects of my life that matter most to me? How do I want to show up in those areas of my life?

The answer for how to improve self-esteem doesn’t come from other people.

How others respond to your accomplishments or failures does not provide an accurate assessment of your personality or self-worth. Instead, it indicates how you relate to your failures, challenges, worries, and comparisons. No matter how you feel about these things, changing your relationship with them and how they show up for you personally and with those in your life must start with you.

The feelings these things bring up tend to hurt every time they show up for us, no matter the situation or interaction. They do not feel good, and they do not bring up happy or hopeful emotions. That’s why we try to avoid these harder feelings at all costs within ourselves. This often pushes us to a place where we do not feel good enough, successful enough, smart enough.

  How others respond to your accomplishments or failures does not provide an accurate assessment of your personality or self-worth.

 

Start with small steps.

You may want to quit when things get hard. Or maybe you want to switch to an easier or safer option. Or you might stick to a pattern you are already comfortable with, refusing to start or change at all because it feels too scary and hard. This often brings a sense of relief that we are avoiding the thing that puts in a space of not good enough and this keeps us stuck, in our comfort zone, and doesn’t allow us to grow. We need to start with a small step, a bite-size piece, and commit wholeheartedly that you are ready and willing to change.

So how can we improve our self-worth and begin to feel good enough, not only for ourselves but for everyone around us. Here are a few tips for how to improve self-esteem:

This means no raised voices or arguments – conversations are great, but yelling and screaming to try to gain understanding from one another is never an effective strategy

  • Create a safe home where everyone feels they have a space that is their own, and be sure to carve out a safe space for yourself. This can be anywhere that feels like it’s just your own. Whether it’s a favourite spot in a park or your bedroom, it’s important to have somewhere you feel safe enough to gain a sense of calm. Somewhere we can have time to ourselves that feels cozy (bedroom, office, basement, etc.)
  • Be supportive to yourself and those around you. Make sure you give lots of support and encouragement – along with empathy – to yourself and those around you. Research shows that for every negative comment we may say to someone (or ourselves), we need to compensate with five positive comments!
  • Set boundaries and have conversations when something bothers you. This is easier said than done, but it will strengthen your relationships and prevent future resentment.
  • Practice healthy, effective, connected communication. This can be tricky, but the more we talk and support each other, the better we feel about ourselves and really believe that we are good enough!
  • Show up in your relationships and mirror what healthy relationships look like with ourselves, friends, and partners. This involves practicing positive self-talk, mentioning the good things we have done in our day, sharing how much we appreciate our partner, encouraging those around us and ourselves when it’s needed, and respecting ourselves and one another. This means respectfully talking through problems and bringing them up in an effective way. Showing what a healthy relationship looks like with ourselves and those around us helps all of us learn how to treat others.

These tips will teach you how to improve self-esteem, both for yourself and those around you. And as you work through them, it’s important to believe your worth and how you treat and think of yourself: You are good enough!


Check out our printable Self-Esteem Inventory For more FREE RESOURCES on this topic and others, visit our free resources page.

Author

Shelly Qualtieri

MA, RSW – Trainer, Crisis & Trauma Resource Institute

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