Building your self-esteem is a process that takes time, but the journey can be made easier when we have defined actionable steps we can implement in our lives. Hopefully, you will resonate with one or more of the below strategies to help you build your self-esteem for the upcoming year and for years to come. Just know that an outcome does not define your worth. You have inherent value, regardless of what you believe and perceive.
Make Positive Affirmations Part of Your Daily Routine
Start each day by repeating positive affirmations out loud (or in your head) every morning. It is important to remember that this is not just an empty phrase but something that will make a difference in how you think and feel about yourself. Choose something that resonates with you and repeat it throughout the day when negative thoughts start creeping in. For example, “I am strong and capable” or “I am worthy of love and respect” can affect how you perceive yourself over time. The key is to believe it, which can be challenging if we have low self-esteem. If that is the case, add your current truth to your affirmation. For example, “I am strong and capable, even if I don’t know it.” Or “Every day, I am learning to accept and appreciate my inherent worth. I will continue to be patient with myself, knowing that my perceived truth is not the whole truth or the truth at all.”
Let Go of Perfectionism
It’s OKAY to make mistakes — everyone does! It’s a necessary part of life and growth. You don’t have to be perfect all the time, and trying to achieve perfection only leads to stress and frustration. Instead, focus on setting achievable goals, such as learning a new skill or completing a project on time. Celebrate small successes along the way and take pride in what you can accomplish, no matter how small it may seem. When you feel frustrated with your learning experiences, know that is the ego rearing its ugly head.
Remember: Life is not intended to be a courtroom (judgment/punishment); it’s a classroom (develop wisdom from your unpleasant experiences). It's the ego that generates judgment and harbors animosity.
Surround Yourself with People Who Support You
Surrounding yourself with supportive people who build up your confidence—in honest ways—helps to jump-start and reboot your self-confidence. When difficult times arise, they provide invaluable emotional support and give you clarity when you become stuck in your limiting or negative narratives. Seek out friends who provide honest feedback without being overly critical or judgmental of your choices or tell you what you want to hear for the sake of making you feel better—balance is key. These are the kind of people who will help encourage you through challenging situations rather than tear you down or inflate your ego, which offers a false sense of security.
Setting boundaries for yourself gives you a sense of control over yourself and your life. That sense of control can lead to increased feelings of confidence and self-worth. Setting boundaries also helps protect you from people who may try to take advantage of or mistreat you. This includes saying “no” when necessary and asking for respect from those around you.
Focus on The Positive
Take time daily to focus on what went well during the day or what made you happy or proud that day, regardless of how big or small. Even if you had a bad day, focus on potential lessons learned, new insights into your limits, etc. Focusing on positive things or the opportunities and lessons offered in challenging times will help shift your mindset from negative thoughts to more positive ones, ultimately leading to higher self-confidence and better mental health.
Take Time for Yourself
Lastly, it’s important to ensure that you are doing something each day just for yourself—whether reading a book, watching a movie, going for a walk outside—whatever makes YOU happy! Doing something just for yourself will remind you how valuable YOU are as an individual and how much worth YOU have as a person—ultimately leading to your self-esteem increasing over time!
Taking steps toward improving one's self-esteem can sometimes be uncomfortable but, more importantly, incredibly empowering! I hope these six strategies lead to greater confidence and improved mental health. If you want more support in getting unstuck and boosting your self-esteem, check out our monthly community, CONVOshop Fellowship.