Self-esteem is what we think of ourselves, our opinion of our strengths and weaknesses. We can find that how we feel about ourselves can change from time to time and that’s normal. People have low self-esteem when they focus only on their weaknesses or don’t see or believe in their strengths.
Self-esteem develops during our childhood and teenage years. Our experiences can lead to healthy or low self-esteem. If as a child you were praised, given attention, felt loved, had friends, did well at school, had chances to do things, you most probably have developed a high self-esteem. On the other hand, if as a child you were criticized a lot, ignored, bullied, didn’t do well at school or in sports, were different than other children, then you might have developed a low self-esteem.
The things we tell ourselves as adults are often things we used to hear as children. So, when a voice inside you, your inner critic, judges or blames you, ask yourself who’s voice this is. It might be the voice of a parent, teacher, or another important figure.
What happens to you in your adult life also affects your self-esteem: criticism, abuse, financial worries, stress at work, separation, divorce, health problems and what you believe others think of you, can have an impact on how you see yourself.
Low self-esteem creates a vicious circle of thoughts and actions. Your what if and self-blaming thoughts are powerful enough to stop you from doing things you want or to make do things you don’t want. For example, if you believe you are not qualified for your dream job you never apply for it, you just go after jobs that are not demanding and that becomes the confirmation of your inability. By not giving yourself an opportunity to disprove your beliefs, you eventually confirm what you think about yourself.
Any of the above sounds familiar? Here are some tips to boost your self-esteem:
Stop comparing yourself with others. Keep the comparison within and compare yourself only to your past self.
Write the things you like about yourself, the list might surprise you.
Reward yourself when something goes well and don’t minimize positive outcomes.
Accept and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Perfection is not realistic.
Fight your inner critic by practicing positive self-talk.
Plan fun and relaxing things and be good to yourself.
Be your best supporter and allow yourself to become your best possible version!