Explore Your Low Self-Esteem So You Can Raise It

January 31, 2019 Britt Mahrer


Explore your low self-esteem? How do you do that? Picture a road map. On one side is a bright red dot, labeled "High Self-Esteem." This is our destination, the place we dream of arriving. Our map is covered in routes that twist and turn, approaching the red dot from all different directions. On our journey we will be able to explore these, finding the ones that lead us closer to our goal. But in order to begin, we need to find the dot labeled "You Are Here." We have to know our starting point. We have to explore the starting point of our low self-esteem to know how to raise it.

When we embark on the road towards higher self-esteem, our destination can feel far in the distance. Some of us take the first route we see, launching ourselves towards it with abandon. But for many of us, blindly jumping into change creates fear and anxiety. We need a slower, deeper understanding of how we will approach this work. This means taking the time to explore our low self-esteem.

How to Explore Self-Esteem

We can explore self-esteem by identifying our wants. In other words, instead of generalizing our low self-esteem as simply not liking ourselves, we determine which specific aspects of ourselves we wish were different. One way of doing this is to divide our wants into two categories:

  1. Things we want to change about ourselves. These are the pieces of us we choose to enhance or remove. They often mean adjusting our actions and behaviors.
  2. Things we want to accept about ourselves. When we decide pieces of us will not (or cannot) change, we can shift the way we think about them. This means learning to adjust our thoughts and emotions.

Each of us will categorize our wants differently. Let's use the example of body image. A person with low body image may decide appearance is something to change – the person may adjust exercise or diet, or create a new image with clothes or a haircut. However, another person with low body image may decide appearance is something to accept – this could mean working on self-love, joining body-positive communities, or talking with a therapist. Both categories take us somewhere new, though in very different directions.

Sometimes things fall into both categories. For example, someone who wants to be more social may move towards change by joining a club, while simultaneously move towards acceptance by recognizing that shyness is not a negative quality.

Measuring Your Progress

When we first begin to explore our low self-esteem, the destination can seem far in the distance. This makes it hard to tell when we are getting closer. Knowing our starting point means we can see which routes are working and which are not. This empowers us to adjust our route when needed. (For example, once I decided to change my exercise habits and spent three months trying to be a runner. When I realized I was more dedicated to finding excuses not to run than I was to running, I knew it was time to try a different route. It turns out I prefer dance classes.)

Exploring our low self-esteem may not always feel good, but it's worth it. Self-esteem is not built in a day – it takes time, work, and the courage to be imperfect. Take the time to understand where you are, and let it aid you in getting to where you want to go. 

APA Reference
Mahrer, B. (2019, January 31). Explore Your Low Self-Esteem So You Can Raise It, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, May 28 from

Author: Britt Mahrer

Find Britt Mahrer on Facebook and Instagram.

kerry arquette
January, 31 2019 at 9:48 am

such a worthy article. will help many get a start on understanding this complex topic.

February, 6 2019 at 11:53 am

Hi Kerry, I'm glad this resonated with you. Topics as complex as this one are more easily managed by breaking them down, doing a little bit every day, and celebrating our decision to try.

Leave a reply