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5 Ways to Bolster Your Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is about how much we value ourselves as individuals. If you are generally self-critical, regularly compare yourself to others and find yourself lacking, this may be a sign you have low self-esteem, impacting your overall sense of well-being.


Self-esteem exists on a continuum so, there may be days when you experience high self-regard and other days when you question your self-worth or value. This flux can be influenced by various life transitions such as not achieving the goals you’ve laid out for yourself after reaching a particular age or it could be affected by a life event such as divorce, family conflict or the loss of a job for example.

Here are a few simple ways you can seek to build up your self-esteem in order to cultivate a more balanced self-image.


1. Re-frame your ‘mistakes’

Practice viewing your ‘mistakes’ or perceived failures as opportunities to learn about how to do it better next time. Not getting something right the first time just provides an opportunity to improve and to grow.


2. Take a compliment

Sometimes if self-esteem is low, when someone gives you a compliment you might feel uncomfortable or find it hard to accept as this may not chime with how you feel about yourself. Furthermore, you may feel you now have to live up to the standard the praise implies, placing additional pressure on yourself.

Become aware of when and how you refuse compliments. For example, you may after receiving a complement immediately put yourself down and think of multiple reasons as to why the compliment is inaccurate. Once you become aware of this, the next time someone makes a positive statement about you, see how it feels to accept it or to just say thank you without trying to diminish yourself or the validity of the comment.


3. Social media detox

Studies suggest there is a correlation between frequent social media use and low self-esteem as well as mental illness such as depression. Take a moment to review your social media usage. When you are on social media do you end up comparing yourself to your friends and peers and find your life lacking? Do you look at an array of friends or associates on holiday or at different events and feel as though you are missing out? It is common to get caught up in a cycle of compare and despair. When this happens, it may be worth taking a break. Take some time to see if you notice any differences in how you feel.


4. Say something positive about yourself

Sometimes we can be our own worst critic, berating ourselves for the smallest thing or perceived failure whereas, if a friend where to do the same thing, we would react much more compassionately towards them. Take a moment to notice the critical thoughts you have about yourself. See if you can replace the comment with something more positive and affirming. Change the ‘I’m such an idiot’ to ‘I’m doing the best I can with the resources I have’. 


5. Learn to embrace you

Make a list of your positive characteristics, traits and skills. If you are not used to viewing yourself in a positive light, ask yourself, what would a friend say about you to trigger some ideas. It’s not about bragging or seeking perfection, it’s about identifying qualities you have that are worthy of being celebrated. Remind yourself of the qualities you possess regularly and use it to counteract the negative self-talk.

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