Do I look good? Am I talented enough for this? Do people really like me? Nurturing doubts such as these, degrading yourself, feeling like you don’t deserve compliments, and always focusing on the negative points in your life are some tell-tale signs of low self-esteem. This low self-esteem, if encouraged or ignored for prolonged periods, is a definite path to what can be a seemingly never-ending pit of depression.
The reasons we start doubting ourselves can be many, like bullying, poor grades, unemployment, or loneliness, and they can manifest in different ways. Consequently, there’s no single sure-shot solution to this problem of our minds. But there are a few things you could try to give yourself a push in the right direction.
1. Appreciate Yourself
The first step to building your self-esteem is to appreciate yourself. You’re probably a little harsher on yourself than you deserve. Imagine, would you talk to a loved one like that?
So right now and in the future, stop depending on somebody else – your partner, parents, or friends – to compliment you or make you feel important. Give yourself some well-deserved love and appreciation every single day.
2. Forgive Your Mistakes
We’re not robots or mechanical beings. We are faulty humans who usually tend to let our emotions get the better of us, and committing mistakes is in our nature.
So if and when you mess up, rectify the mistake in any way possible, learn something from it, and move on. Remember to not carry over the guilt or the residue of emotions from that mistake to the next day. Forgive, forget, and start each day anew.
3. Be Optimistic About Life And Motivate Yourself
No matter who you are – a housekeeper, an intern, or maybe a fast-food cart owner – you contribute to the world in your own way. The house wouldn’t look this good without you. Your contribution with the little things at work keeps the overall machinery going. And your food probably makes the day for hungry passersby who’ve starved since morning.
Keep a diary of all the good things, however minuscule, that came out of your day. Let that be your motivation to continue on your journey. Keep small goals, treat yourself for getting it done, and take it one day at a time.
4. Don’t Compare Yourself With Others
Those constant FB and Instagram posts can force you to think about what your life supposedly “lacks.” But there’s just one YOU in the world; you and your life are perfect in your own unique way.
So try logging out of your “virtual” life for a few days and focus on your offline life – the real you, the friends, and the family. Stop comparing your life to others’ and see how it improves the quality of your life. Forget about what could have been and think about how wonderful what you have is.
5. Stay Fit And Healthy
If we’re not comfortable with our bodies, it usual isn’t because we’ve faulty ones but because we find others’ perfect. Your image of your body greatly affects your self-confidence.
Exercise, eat healthily, follow a clean lifestyle, and see how a healthy body will boost your confidence and self-esteem.1 Don’t do this for others but for yourself. Do it for a healthy mind and body and to test your own limits.
6. Do Not Aim For Perfection
A perfect look, a perfectly cooked dish, or maybe even a perfectly written article – we look for perfection is something or the other! But perfection is subjective and hence almost impossible. You can do overtime and work hard just to see that somebody else did better.
So give every single thing you do the best of you, focus on and appreciate your efforts, and be happy with the knowledge that you did what you could until the end.
7. Dress Well And Keep Clean
We know… You’re probably not even in the mood to go anywhere, nevermind dressing up for it. But don’t let that bring you down. Dress up neatly and in your best every day – a confidence in what you wear brings a confidence in yourself.
Also, keep your surroundings clean. A bright and happy house can rub off on your mood and vice versa.
8. Adapt To Things You Can’t Change
People’s behaviors, thoughts, and ethics are mostly inborn and hard to change, just like those of yours. If how other people feel or think is causing problems for you, try to change what you can and adapt to those that you can’t. No need to force yourself to believe in others’ opinions. Follow what you believe in without letting anything affect you.
9. Get Some “Me” Time
Take some time out for yourself and focus on what your mind and body need. Make sure you switch off your cell phones and laptops and spend time with just yourself. Get to know you better without any distractions. Understanding yourself and making peace with who you are is a huge step toward living more confidently. Maybe travel to some new place, go to the spa, or even just sit at home and read a book.
Do Something New And Challenging
Be a little daring and do something you always wanted to do but never got the courage or time to do it. It might be a solo trip, rock climbing, or a martial arts class. Take some time off and go for it without giving it another thought. You definitely won’t regret your decision ever.
Keep Some Good Hobbies
Start painting or even do something as simple as origami crafts. Have a hobby that will bring out the creative side in you. Getting absorbed in such activities will keep your mind occupied in something good and distract you from negative thoughts.
10. Help Others
Give others exactly what you expect from the world. There are multitudes of people out there living in their own nightmares. Help them with maybe just a smile, a hug, a free lunch, your unused jacket, or by just listening; this will make you feel better. And making someone’s day won’t harm you in any way, right?
11. Hang Out With Positive People
Learn to recognize the relationships that are poisonous for your well-being. Filter out the people who give you negative vibes and be friends with genuine, good-hearted ones; having just a few friends of the right kind is much better than a huge gang that doesn’t understand you. These people can have a good influence on you, boost your confidence, and encourage you to do the right things.
12. Reach Out To Someone
You’re not alone in this dark cave of depressing feelings, bad moods, and self-deprecating thoughts. The World Health Day (2017) dedicated the year to increasing awareness on depression and making people speak out. According to them, since 2005, there’s been an 18% rise in depression across the world. Now this number by itself is depressing, but there’s another way to look at it.
The number, 18%, also shows that you’re not the only one trying to fight the tough life. So approach others and get some help for yourself too. Talk to your family, friends, or go to a counselor to boost your self-esteem. Dealing with the situation can be much easier with people around you than doing it alone.
|↑1||Fox, Kenneth R. “The effects of exercise on self-perceptions and self-esteem.” Physical activity and psychological well-being 13 (2000): 81-118.|