Build Self-Esteem

Boosting your self-esteem: Here’s how you can change the way you see yourself

The more you challenge your self-limiting thoughts and beliefs, the greater the joy you will find within yourself and greater confidence in your abilities.
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How you see yourself has the power to shape your life, since everything you do, say and think is a reflection of the same. When your self-esteem or self-worth is high, you feel resilient, powerful and confident. This makes you less vulnerable to anxiety and hopelessness caused by failures, challenges and uncertainties.

Your self-esteem can impact every aspect of your life—your job, relationships and even your mental and physical health. People with positive and healthy self-esteem believe in their potential and are motivated to take on new challenges. They have realistic and appropriate expectations of themselves and their abilities.

On the other hand, those with low self-esteem feel unsure of their abilities and may even doubt their decision-making capabilities. They lack motivation because they don’t feel that they are capable of fulfilling their goals. They may also experience low levels of confidence and feel unworthy.

The good news is you have a fair amount of control when it comes to improving your self-esteem. You can take concrete steps to challenge your self-limiting beliefs and fears and develop a more positive relationship with yourself. Although the challenges you face in life may make you question your self-worth, it is these hurdles that will help build your character, strength and resilience. These are all crucial elements of self-esteem.

The more you challenge your self-doubt and fears, the greater the joy you will find within yourself and greater confidence in your abilities. Here are a few ways you can cultivate self-esteem and chase your dreams.

Celebrate your success

When was the last time you congratulated yourself or treated yourself to something nice because you deserved it? When in school, we received medals for our achievements. But as adults, celebrating your success is less about external validation and more about acknowledging your wins. Whether it is a promotion or exercising every day for 10 minutes, when you celebrate your wins—both big and small—you take a big step towards boosting your self-esteem.

Be kind to yourself

Do you often hold yourself responsible when bad things happen, even when the circumstances were beyond your control? If your answer is ‘yes’, it’s time to stop being so self-critical and start being kind to yourself. Self-criticism can generate a variety of feelings including shame, guilt, sadness, anger, frustration and disappointment, besides causing serious issues like depression, anxiety and eating disorders. If you are constantly finding faults with your actions or pursuits, you might be distorting your self-image, which in turn, can hurt your self-esteem. The solution lies in using self-criticism constructively to help you identify your weak spots, which you can work upon to improve yourself.

Say no when you want to

Many people find it hard to say ‘no’ to a request, an assignment or anything else they want to decline. Perhaps, you do too. This usually happens due to your fear of rejection, anger or just the uncertainty of the other person’s response. But in doing so, you overburden yourself and sacrifice making time for yourself or something important to you. This affects your peace of mind and your overall wellbeing. In his book, The Power of No: Because One Little Word Can Bring Health, Abundance, and Happiness, author James Altucher writes, “When you say ‘yes ’ to something you don’t want to do, here is the result: you hate what you are doing, you resent the person who asked you, and you hurt yourself.” Saying ‘no’ allows you to say ‘yes’ to things that matter to you and being assertive can work wonders for your self-esteem.

Build a positive attitude

Sometimes, when things don’t work out the way they should, you become your own worst critic. Over time, this self-loathing can cause you to form a negative opinion of yourself that can be hard to get rid of. Research shows that even a small change in the way you talk to yourself can influence your ability to control your thoughts, feelings and behaviour.

A good way to get rid of self-limiting thoughts is to practice positive affirmations. Pick a motivating phrase and repeat it to yourself. You can repeat affirmations like ‘I am in control of my happiness,’ ‘I am capable of reaching my goals,’ or ‘I respect myself.’ Keep at it until you start believing in them. Doing so can slowly but surely help you change the way you see yourself.

Practice self-care

It is important to look after your mind and body every day, not just when you fall sick. If you don’t pay attention to your health and wellbeing, your self-esteem can take a hit. Practicing self-care techniques such as eating right, sleeping well, exercising regularly and taking time out to do things you enjoy can help you foster a healthy relationship with yourself. Now and then, treat yourself to a dessert or a relaxing spa session. Whatever you do, self-care can help you stay positive and boost self-love, self-confidence and self-esteem.

Stop comparing yourself to others

No matter how accomplished or successful you are, if your self-worth comes from comparison with others, you will never be truly happy. What most people show to the outside world is a polished and filtered version of their reality. You might think they have it all and you can be nothing like them, but that is far from the truth. Accept the fact that you are unique and special in your own way, and it doesn’t matter what others are doing or what they think. Embrace your individuality and be the best person you can be. When you accept yourself for who you are, you take a big leap towards improving your self-esteem.

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