Do you always have a low opinion of yourself? Or consistently think that you’re an underachiever and not worthy of compliments or praise? If so, then you could be suffering from low self esteem. Put simply, self esteem is how you think about yourself or your overall opinion of yourself. It can also be how you feel about your strengths and weaknesses. Your self esteem can be high, low, or somewhere in the middle. In this article, we’ll be focusing on low self esteem and talk about some of the ways to overcome it.
What is Low Self Esteem?
Low self esteem can be defined as a lack of self-confidence or seeing yourself as unworthy, inadequate, incompetent, unacceptable, or unlovable. Having negative, self-critical thoughts can affect your behavior, your life choices and leave you trapped in a lonely vicious circle.
Low self esteem can also affect one’s mental health, leading to stress, depression, and eating disorders. As such, it’s important to take quick actions when you realize that you or someone you love is suffering from this debilitating problem.
20 Ways to Overcome Low Self Esteem
If you are suffering from low self esteem, you may be wondering if it’s possible to overcome it and regain self-confidence. Well, the good news is that yes, it’s possible.
In most cases, low self esteem is usually learned behavior. This implies that those inadequate feelings of self-worth you’re experiencing were taught to you by someone else or started because of you focusing on your negatives. So in order to change this bad learned behavior, you have to start adopting new beliefs and understanding that nobody is perfect. Here are some tips on how to overcome your low self esteem and start living a happier life.
1. Make some improvements
Many things can lead to low self esteem. Some of them are not in your control, while others are fully within your power to change. For example, if you’re struggling with body dysmorphia, it could have a negative impact on your self esteem.
If you are overweight, for instance, you can start taking up an exercise routine such as mindful walking and start practicing mindful eating. When you exercise and eat right, there’ll be numerous positive changes in your body both to how you feel and how you look. For some people, this can be a great first step in improving their low self esteem.
If feeling tired all of the time is one of the things that lower your self esteem, then you can overcome this by turning off the computer and television a few hours earlier and try to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. Create a night time routine that makes it easier for you to unwind at night. Getting adequate sleep will help keep your mind and body healthy. You’ll also wake up early feeling refreshed and full of energy, which will help you accomplish more throughout the day.
2. Talk to a mental health professional
Those who struggle with self esteem issues should consult a mental health professional. Raising low self esteem is difficult, particularly when it often arises from childhood trauma. Parents who gave too much or too little praise can often cause self esteem problems in their children. Mental health problems like this should be tackled with a professional. Looking at how your parents compared you to siblings or other children can often produce issues with self esteem. If you have low self confidence, it’s possible that your parents didn’t high five you when you did something you were proud of. If they criticize you a lot as a child, you might turn to self criticism.
3. Accept some flaws
I know that this is easier said than done, but it’s a must if you want to overcome low self esteem. There will always be things about yourself that you don’t like. Try to understand that this is true for every other person on earth, no matter how flawless they may seem.
One of the tips for overcoming low self esteem is to learn to concentrate on your strengths, not your limitations.
4. Silence critical inner voice
People with high self esteem have learned to manage their inner critic. Their heads are filled with happy thoughts. Negative thinking won’t boost self esteem. One of the signs of low self esteem is negative thoughts. When those thoughts enter your mind, you need to think of the opposite thought. It’ll take some effort to do this in the beginning but eventually you’ll get better at thinking positive naturally. Unhelpful thinking is literally the difference between depression and happiness. If you lack confidence, it’s only because there are thoughts in your mind that make you think “Why am I not good enough?” So actively identify which thoughts are causing the low self worth. No one can see the inside of your mind but you, so a self evaluation is a must.
5. Try something new
One common characteristic of people suffering from low self esteem is the feeling that they are incompetent or under performers. They think that they’re incapable of accomplishing certain things. Sadly, this is many times a self-fulfilling prophecy. In order to overcome low self-respect, you must understand that you can do more than you think.
You can start by trying something new, like taking a photography or pottery class. You can also try to do something daring like parasailing or skydiving. If you’ve never meditated before, learn to meditate.
With each new adventure or skill you learn, you will add another notch to your confidence level. With time, you will learn that there is literally nothing you can’t do when you believe in yourself.
6. Improve relationship problems
Other people’s expectations can cause chaos to your self esteem. Everyone makes mistakes. Unfortunately, sometimes they don’t tell you they messed up when they said something they shouldn’t have. So instead, you internalize it and believe their statement to be true. Knowing that relationship problems can surface in any interaction is important. If you feel angry towards a person, notice what you say. You might not realize it, but the things you say can permanently damage people’s psyche. You can’t control how other people will affect your confidence, but you can control how you treat others. Catch other people’s thought patterns if possible. If a conversation is going awry, try to resolve it in a way where you both feel good. There’s no sense in causing anxiety or for you to feel anxious with people. A wonderful way to keep relationships positive, is to praise often, celebrate other people’s wins, and listen to people’s feelings before they become depression or anxiety.
7. Talk to your low self esteem
I know this might sound a little weird, but it can be effective in overcoming low self esteem. For example, when you’re in a meeting, your low self esteem may tell you “shut your mouth, you have nothing worth to say in this meeting.” If this happens, silently “respond” to your low self esteem by saying, “Yes, I have an idea, and I’m going to speak it out!” And then do it. Even if others don’t receive your idea very well, that does not mean that it wasn’t worth sharing.
In beating low self esteem, don’t allow your negative feelings to command you. Stand up to them and overcome them by doing what you think is right for you. And before you even know it, you will have increased your confidence, and on the road to achieving all of your dreams.
8. Help people
The secret to having a healthy self esteem is to boost it through acts of kindness and good deeds. If you’re struggling to see your positive qualities, all you need to do is help them shine. You’ll get a lot of positive feedback simply by helping people, cheering them on when they win, and being supportive overall. If you make another person’s life better, you’ll reap so many rewards from that. And slowly but surely your self esteem will improve. You’ll have more self compassion because you see the amount of effort you’re putting in.
Aim to do kind acts at least once a day, however, don’t be afraid to look for opportunities online where you can sprinkle kindness. In the end, you’ll see your mind improve because you’re not in your head anymore, you’re too busy living in the real world that you’re designing to be a better experience for yourself.
9. Try to relax
One of the things that contribute to low self esteem is a constant feeling of stress. So it’s important to know how to relax. When you’re stressed, your negative thoughts will take charge, making you focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. This will even aggravate your stress and lead to more low self esteem.
Take time to do something you find relaxing. Practice self care. Try doing things such as taking a bath, gaming, guided meditation, singing, indoor dancing, etc. This will reduce your stress and help you feel better about yourself.
10. Recognize defense mechanisms
A defense mechanism is a subconscious reaction to a situation. There are multiple defense mechanisms, such as projection, denial, repression, and more. If you feel guilty about something, you might naturally use defense mechanisms to prevent yourself from internalizing your bad actions, thoughts, or life events. People with low self esteem tend to use defense mechanisms without realizing it. It’s possible that a build up of too many negative events affected your self esteem and causes you to protect yourself against more negative experiences. However, we all use defense mechanisms at one point or another. Make sure to recognize it when you find yourself doing it to avoid challenges in the future.
11. Live in the now
Another way to overcome low self esteem is to learn to live in the present and not let the hurts of your past or worries about the future affect your actions. You can achieve this by engaging all your five senses – stop and listen for melodious sounds of birds, feel the breeze of air on your skin, smell the freshness of the air, enjoy the beautiful color of the sky. All these will draw your consciousness into the present and help you have the right frame of mind when making day-to-day decisions.
12. Don’t overthink mistakes
Your own thoughts can disrupt your self esteem. You have your own needs to meet. So instead of having ruminating thoughts that spiral you downward, aim to stop negative thoughts at the source. Being mindful of what’s going on in your brain is key to doing this. Every time a negative thought pops up in your head, say “stop.” Believe it or not, it does help quite a bit because it means you’re now present rather than reliving the past or fearing the future. It puts you back in control. Then, if you want to step it up further, people with low self esteem can replace negative thoughts with happy thoughts. Remember that negative thoughts are just beliefs, they’re not real. You’ll keep making mistakes throughout your life, all you need to do is learn from it. There’s no need to beat yourself up or feel incompetent, every time you mess up. Don’t let a fear disrupt your learning experience.
13. Be kind to yourself
Why would you be kind to others, but be hard on yourself? One of the tricks for overcoming low self esteem is to treat yourself just the way you’d treat your best pal: be caring, gentle, and forgiving.
Loving-kindness meditationis one way to sit and take time practicing some love and kindness to yourself.
Sometimes, we may be kind to our friends and family but forget to extend that kindness to ourselves! Accept yourself, love yourself, and feel your self esteem soar.
14. List your good qualities
Negative thinking can be the cause of why you can’t see all the good you possess. You can build self esteem by writing down all your good qualities. You can ask a friend for help or even your family members. Ask people for positive feedback so you can become more self-aware about what people value in you. You might write down a list of good habits you have too. Use this exercise to practice self compassion. One of the signs of low self esteem is that you can’t see the good you have. So, try to make a list of at least 10 helpful qualities you have; and overcome your negative beliefs about yourself.
15. Appreciate yourself and know where you shine in
Self-appreciation and self-acceptance are two different things but are connected. You can’t appreciate yourself if you don’t accept yourself.
Sit down, examine your life, highlight the areas where you do better, and try to work on those areas. Too many times, we choose things we know we can’t accomplish, and we spend all our time and effort on them. Instead, know your niche and where you’re good at, and then focus your hard work, persistence, and dedication, and persistence on that. We all have areas we don’t excel at, so stop criticizing when you fail at something.
16. Develop new skills
If your beliefs about yourself are true, and you fear you have low self esteem because you’re not good enough, then it’s time to stop bad habits and develop new skills. The treatment for self esteem will boil down to making positive changes. Most advice will tell you you’re perfect the way you are. And that’s true to an extent. But isn’t life better, if you’re constantly improving yourself? There’s nothing wrong with trying to get better. You can read books about communication if you’re having verbal conflicts with people. If people think you’re a jerk, you can try to do more kind gestures for others. When people make fun of how you dress, you can read articles on how to style your outfits. Whatever the issue is, you can find an article or book to help you fix that area of yourself.
17. Stop comparing yourself with others
I know society has put expectations on you, but you don’t have to meet all of them. If you truly want to overcome low self esteem, you need to start learning to live your life and not trying to please others. Never compare your achievements with those of others. Instead, set boundaries and goals and follow your dreams. Remember that we are all different, and each one of us has something unique to deliver. Once you can learn to stop comparing yourself to others, you can be much happier with yourself.
18. Stop second guessing
For the sake of your health, stop second guessing yourself. It’s wrong to do this to yourself. If you feel bad around toxic people, you shouldn’t just take the abuse because of you show signs of self esteem problems. Instead, you should cut those people out. It’s easier to improve confidence, when you make a firm decision. The treatment for these issues will boil down to whether or not you listen to yourself.
19. Avoid self-bashing
As you try to overcome your low self esteem, remember that we are all human. Everyone, at some point in their life, will make a mistake. In fact, some people make way more than others.
One trick to overcoming low self esteem is to learn not to beat yourself up when you make mistakes. Instead, learn from that mistake. Store in your memory and be using it to prevent you from repeating the same mistake in the future. Always keep in mind that we all learn from trial and error.
20. Surround yourself with positive people
What we see and hear about ourselves significantly affects our self esteem. And sometimes, those things may have a permanent effect. Believe it or not, the people you surround yourself or interacted with in the past have contributed to the person you are today.
If you are trying to feel good about yourself, why surround yourself with people who hate themselves? Why befriend someone who looks down upon himself or herself or has no dreams, goals, or purpose in life?
Spend time with positive people. Start attending conferences with people who want you to be better and who will push to do the impossible.
Start overcoming your low self esteem
Overcoming low self esteem is a process that takes a lot of time and patience. Of course, there’ll be times where you feel like there’s no change or you’re wasting your time. There will also be moments when you’ll give up and want to associate with those same people with no purpose in life. Don’t let these moments stop you from your journey. Stand up and persevere your bumps, and in the end, you’ll achieve your goals and live a happy, successful life.