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How Can I Improve Self-Esteem?

Smiling and being social can boost self-esteem.
The first step to improving self esteem is accepting yourself.
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  • Written By: Margo Upson
  • Edited By: Bronwyn Harris
  • Last Modified Date: 14 July 2014
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A person's feeling of self worth is called self-esteem. High levels of self-esteem allow a person to interact easily with others, and to feel good about himself. Individuals with low self-esteem may find it hard to connect, often troubled by their own feelings of low self worth. The more a person puts himself down, the worse he will feel, potentially creating a snowball effect. The steps required to improve self-esteem are not an overnight process, but it is one that is worth the time and effort.

The first step to take if you want to improve self-esteem is to accept that you are okay as you are right now, instead of pinning all of your self worth on what you hope to be someday. There will always be ways to improve yourself, but that doesn’t mean that you are any less important or worth while right now. In fact, studies have proven that many people do not see any improvement in their self-esteem after they have lost weight, gotten a better job, or have made any of the other improvements that they thought would make them feel better.

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Overgeneralizing is one of the worst things that you can do for your self-esteem. Almost everyone has at least one or two flaws that they wish they could change, but people who over generalize see that one flaw as a larger problem. For example, if you can't run very fast, it does not mean you should feel like you are a failure at everything athletic. Maybe you would be better at tennis, golf, or something like rock climbing.

It is important to learn how to block negative thoughts if you want to improve self-esteem. This can be one of the hardest steps because it is so easy to put yourself down. Every time that you catch yourself thinking negative thoughts, stop yourself and redirect your thoughts to something more positive. Another way to improve your self esteem is to learn a new skill or pick up a new hobby that you are interested in and can easily succeed at. Not only can being successful boost your self esteem, it can also give you something enjoyable to do as a distraction when you are feeling badly about yourself.

Treating others well is a great way to improve self-esteem. Work on being a good listener, smiling often, nodding, and reacting to what the other person is saying. Seek out positive social engagements. Find friends who treat themselves, and you, well. Learn to be proactive and decisive. Remember that your opinion matters as much as everyone else's, and don't be afraid to express it in a constructive way.

Building your self-esteem requires you to make several changes, but they are all for the better. The more you work at it, the easier it will become. Remember that it may take some time to improve self-esteem, but once you have, the difference may be huge.

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Discuss this Article

SarahGen
Post 3

Has anyone here used paradoxical intention to improve self esteem? This therapy is usually used to treat obsessive compulsive thought patterns. I wonder if it can also improve low self esteem?

fBoyle
Post 2

@ZipLine-- As the article said, self esteem is not something that will develop overnight. You need to work on it. One of the characteristics of low self esteem is that it causes people to give up easily because they feel that they will never succeed. Realize that it's your low self esteem causing you to stay in this cycle. In order to break through it, you need to convince yourself that there is a way out and that you will make it. Don't allow yourself to give up.

Exercises and self help books are very helpful. I have used them myself. A few were not so good, but the majority helped me take notice of negative thoughts and helped me overcome them.

If you're not responding well to self esteem exercises, you might want to try hypnosis. This can be done in a professional setting by a doctor or it can be done through audio series which use music and esteem building discussions to affect the subconscious. I think for many of us, poor self esteem is deeply embedded in our mind. We react to incidents like a pre-programmed robot. Sub-conscious exercises can be very helpful in this regard. They can improve self esteem and confidence without you even realizing that it is occurring.

ZipLine
Post 1

I went to counseling for many weeks for my low self esteem. My counselor listened to me and tried to help me as much as possible. He also recommended books and exercise for me to do. I do want to increase my self esteem but I have a hard time going through self-help books and exercises. I usually give up after just a few pages.

When counseling is over, I find myself where I started in a short period of time. It's like a vicious cycle I can't get out of. I'm so unsatisfied with myself and my life. I want to change things around but I don't know where to start. I'm scared to even try.

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