Change Your Self-Esteem and Improve Your Life
Friday, June 16 2017 Emily Roberts MA, LPC
Each day is an opportunity to change your self-esteem. If you struggle with negative self-talk, insecurity or believe that it's too late to build self-esteem you are wrong. You deserve to feel confident and happy with your life. Others may have told you that low self-esteem is impossible to change, but that is not the case at all. In fact, small shifts can lead to tremendous gains in self-esteem and I have several ways you can change your self-esteem starting today.
Self-esteem is all about how much you like who you are and how worthy you feel. On the other hand, those who struggle with low self-esteem tend to think they have the worst luck, and that nothing will get better; this negative self-talk interferes with feeling confident and capable. These damaging thoughts often stop people from trying new things, thus interfering with their quality of life in a major way.
Is It Possible to Change Your Self-Esteem?
Yes, it is. I used to struggle with low self-esteem and negative self-talk. I remember getting first place in track meets and instead of feeling confident, I felt like I was just lucky that day. I would look in the mirror and hate the person I saw and even when I got compliments from others, I didn't believe them. It was a terrible feeling and one I realized I had to fix. Others would never be able to change my self-esteem--it had to come from within
With the help of an amazing therapist, I began to look at building my self-esteem as a journey, not a race. I didn't try to change all the negative self-talk or habits that reinforced my low self-esteem at once. I began with one adjustment at a time. I was reading a book on affirmations and positive self-talk, so I decided to start there.
Of course, I was reluctant, so I scheduled two times each day to try to talk to myself in a positive way (my therapist had me track this in a journal to stay accountable). Every negative statement that entered my mind would be too overwhelming, so I found a few minutes in the morning and before bed to start talking to myself in a more positive way. It felt silly at first to say, "I'm proud of myself for waking up on time. I deserve happiness today."
To be honest, I didn't believe the positive statements I was saying to myself. At first, it felt fake. About a week later, I found that my mind began turning towards the positive even when I encountered an experience that would've historically made me feel insecure. This mindset stuck with me even when I wasn't trying.
3 Ways to Change Your Self-Esteem
My self-talk was just one of the areas that needed to work on in order to build my self-esteem. I couldn't heal myself all at once. By taking several of these thoughts and talking back to them, I gained power and a bit of confidence. Here are a few more changes that I began to implement into my life to improve my self-esteem that you can try, too.
- Don't call yourself names. Negative self-talk impacts your mood and self-esteem in a profound way. Researchers have found that people who are critical of themselves are less motivated, more depressed and more anxious. Notice when you are mean to yourself and ask yourself is this true or does it just feel this way because you are in a funk?
- Make mindful decisions. When your self-esteem is low, you tend to discount your world view, experiences and put more stock in what others think than what you know. Try making mindful decisions by taking a moment to think about what you want the outcome to be. Do you want to hang out with that friend later or do you want to watch your favorite show and relax tonight? Taking the time to think about what's best for you helps build self-trust and confidence.
- Take care of your mind and body. You can change your self-esteem by honoring your physical health. Do you eat junk food and then beat yourself up for it? Do you stay up too late and have a hard time waking up? Notice one way you can enhance your health today, make it small. Can you drink more water than you did yesterday to hydrate your brain and your body? Can you turn the lights off 10 minutes earlier tonight to try and get more sleep? These small shifts help you feel more confident and in control.
So what can you do to change your self-esteem today? Take a few minutes to try some of these tricks and see how they impact you. Do you want more tools and tips to improve your self-esteem? Check out this article: Raise Your Self-Esteem: Five Ways to Feel Better Fast.