10 Proven Ways to Improve Your Self Esteem

Low self-esteem is one of the most common causes behind some psychological disorders, which is why it is so important to have healthy self-esteem. Low self-esteem isn’t a disorder in itself, but it is often times the symptom of problems like depression and anxiety.[1]If you or someone you know suffers from low self-esteem, keep reading. We’ll give you 10 ways to improve your self-esteem.

1. Be kind to yourself

People are usually harder on themselves than they are on others. Constantly criticizing yourself hurts both your self-esteem and confidence.[2]

What can you do: Reflect on how you talk to yourself. Do you insult or talk down to yourself? Do you ask too much of yourself? Be nice! How would you take to a friend in the same situation? Talk to yourself like you would talk to a friend.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others

Sometimes it can be difficult not comparing yourself to others. Social networks are full of picture-perfect lives and happy people living their dreams, and sometime it’s hard to not let it get to you. Try to remember that comparing yourself to others weakens your self-esteem, because there will always be someone more attractive, wealthier, or smarter than us.[3]

What can you do: Remind yourself that everyone’s circumstance is different. Everyone has had different experiences that have shaped who we are. Also, what you’re seeing in those pictures might not actually be what’s happening in real-life – those people choose exactly what they want people to see. No one is as perfect as they seem.

3. Work on being assertive

Being assertive is the ability to defend your rights and respect others’. If you have low self-esteem, you might start doing things to please others, but doing this will ultimately make you feel badly about yourself and you’ll end up doing things you don’t want to do.[4]

What can you do? Learn how to say no. Think if you really want to do something before you do it, and don’t feel bad about saying no. Make limits for yourself and take control of your decisions.

4. Socialize

Socializing and having contact with others can help improve your self-esteem. Being a part of different groups will help your self-esteem more than having friends, according to a study.[5]

What can you do: Spend time with people who love you, and stay away from things that make you feel badly. Talk to your friends and family about how you’re feeling, and ask them what they like about you, what they find unique, and what makes you you.

5. Write in a journal

Journals or diaries can be a great tool for a variety of different things. In this case, it will help improve your self-esteem, helping you reflect about things you are able to do.

What can you do: Take some time everyday to write down 3 ways that you did something fantastic. Maybe it was something like remembering a friend’s birthday, smiling at a stranger, or saying “thank you” to someone. You can also make a list of your achievements and things that you got done.

6. Make realistic goals

Setting goals is great, but if you set them too high, you’ll feel badly if you’re not able to accomplish them. Make a goal that is just out of reach, but something you’ll actually be able to achieve.

What can you do: Be realistic. Don’t say “I’m going to train really hard and become an all-star athlete”. It’s not impossible, but it’s very, very difficult to achieve. Try something like “I’m going to train to get in shape”, and when you reach that goal, you can “up” your goal and make your next one more challenging (I’m going to run 5, 10, 20 miles, I’m going to do a marathon, a triathlon…). Start your goals low and keep raising the bar!

7. Be happy for your self

People are usually very demanding of themselves and we tend to focus on the bad things or things that we can improve. Have you ever congratulated yourself on an achievement?

What can you do: When you do something that you set out to do, or if you have a little win, congratulate yourself! Say it out loud: “You did a great job, John! What a rock star!” You might feel a little silly at first, but it’s important that you do it. Acknowledge your achievements and give yourself a little reward, you deserve it!

8. Don’t look for others’ approval

We often tend to think about others before we do something. We’re social creatures, and it’s natural for us to think about others and be accepted. However, this becomes a problem when we look for approval from others for everything we do. Maybe we dress ourselves a certain way, or we listen to a certain type of music, etc., just because we want to be accepted. When we do this, our own opinions and likes get lost because we’re afraid of what others will think.

What can you do: Think about what you’re doing and ask yourself, am I doing this for other people, or am I doing it for myself? If you’re not sure about the answer, you might be seeking approval. Really listen to yourself and try to step away from seeking approval.

9. Don’t be a perfectionist

Perfection doesn’t exist, and striving for it can break down your moral. Perfectionists tend to think things like “do it well, or don’t do it at all”. This kind of thinking will keep you from doing anything for fear of making a mistake. Trying to do everything perfectly will lower your self-esteem and keep you from achieving your goals.

What can you do: Rather than the negative thinking of “all or nothing”, try saying something like “I’ll give it a try and do the best that I can. I can learn from my mistakes”. Give yourself a time limit to finish things, because trying to make things perfect might lead you to procrastinate. For example, if you have to hand in a project, limit yourself to reviewing it 5 times, maximum.

10. Do new things

Trying new activities and challenging yourself can be great for your self-esteem.[6]If you’re able to see little achievements and progress, you’ll see hope and want to continue. But remember, you have to acknowledge when you achieve these little goals!

What can you do: Sign up for classes. Maybe you want to learn the piano, or you want to play some kind of sport (which will improve your health, well-being, and body image), or pick up that old hobby again.

About The Author

Andrea Garcia is an author and psychologist at CogniFit, a major vendor in psychological assessment batteries. Andrea is continuing her studies as a sexologist and psychologist, and she enjoys helping people improve quality of life through clinical practice and communication.