We tend to be our own worst critics; we judge and put ourselves down for not meeting a certain standard or expectation either social media or society demands that we live up to or is self-imposed. Sometimes this can go on for years, particularly after a traumatic event, and the struggle of learning to rebuild one’s self-esteem becomes ever more challenging.
Having a healthy self-esteem is about having a compassionate, loving and realistic approach to oneself and it is vital if you want to have a happy and healthy life. Here are ways you can boost your self-esteem and increase your feelings of self-worth:
1. Remember that you are not defined by what happened to you.
It is important that you do not place your identity or define yourself by what was done or said to you. Your self-worth should not be tied to a particular person or event as this false connection only results in feelings of shame and unworthiness. You are not what happened to you; you are not what they say you are. You get to control what you believe about yourself; you get to control your destiny.
2. Be mindful of your thoughts.
One of the first steps to improving your self-esteem is being aware of the negative thoughts going through your head and learning to distance yourself from them. By identifying with them less, you will be able to see your thoughts as just that — thoughts — and not facts or truths that are meant to be believed. Every time you find yourself talking negatively about yourself, simply observe them and remind yourself that they are not facts. If this becomes a persistent problem and you are struggling to disengage with your negative self-talk, consider getting professional help from a therapist or seeking invaluable advice from trusted sources like BetterHelp.
3. Change the way you talk to yourself.
Repeat positive affirmations to yourself, about yourself, everyday; this has shown to decrease symptoms of depression. Start by listing all the things you love about yourself, such as your body shape or that you’re a trustworthy person. Then, list all the things you are good at, such as being a present listener or a reliable planner. The next time negative self-talk arises, look back on your list and remind yourself of at least two things you love about yourself and at least two things you are good at.
4. Accept your strengths and weaknesses.
Someone may be an amazing cook but a terrible reader, but neither of those things define that person’s worth. We all have things we are good at and bad at, and when you choose to focus on your strengths and be more forgiving of your shortcomings, you will gain a more coherent, realistic and compassionate perspective of yourself. If you have trouble identifying your gifts and talents, ask your friends and family — sometimes they see the best in you more than you do yourself.
5. Take good care of yourself.
Invest in forms of self-care as poor health habits significantly affects your mental health in a negative way and leads to a greater devaluation of oneself. Exercise has proven to increase self-esteem, improve mental health and empowers not only the mind but the body; getting sufficient sleep every night helps you think more clearly and rationally; a balanced and nutritious diet also has positive effects on self-perception.
Remember that you are worthy and you are enough. You do not need to do or be anything to be valuable. You deserve respect and love, no matter who has told you otherwise. And with self-compassion and self-care, destructive thoughts can be dismantled and your self-worth can be alive and thriving again.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with
mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.