Have you ever looked in the mirror and felt unconfident with your reflection? Or wanted to go for a new job but felt afraid of failure? While it’s not unusual to have moments of low self-esteem, it becomes a problem if those moments start to crop up every day.
Healthy self-esteem – feeling good enough – is the foundation stone for personal success and happiness. It helps you deal with life’s trickier situations and keeps your emotional wellbeing in balance.
According to Verywellmind.com, an online resource for mental-health improvement, self-esteem is all about how you respect – and think about – yourself. To find out if you are suffering from low self-esteem, ask yourself these questions:
Do you have:
– Negative thoughts and outlook on life
– A lack of confidence
– An inability to express your needs
– A tendency to focus on your weaknesses
– Feelings of shame, depression or anxiety
– Lack of self-belief
– Trouble in saying ‘no’
– A fear of failure?
If you said ‘yes’ to three or more of the above, you may have a low self-esteem issue. But don’t despair – you can overcome the problem with Youth Times’ five tips:
Surround yourself with positive people
If the friends you are choosing to hang out with aren’t enhancing your mood – or worse – making you feel rubbish, it’s time to get selfish. Choosing positive people – not the ‘cool’ kids – is the best choice you can make for your emotional wellbeing. Pick the friends who truly appreciate and care about you and will encourage you to do well.
Cheu Rachana, co-founder of Untangle: A Mental Health Project, suffered from low self-esteem so knows all too well how painful it can be. He says, ‘By surrounding myself with positive people, I became more confident in expressing my thoughts, ideas and beliefs. I could work out my boundaries in a safe space and because I able to be vulnerable without fear of judgment. It helped me see my true value and boost my self-esteem
Try new things
While it’s tempting to stay in your comfort zone, it won’t help your self-esteem. Personal growth comes from being willing to feel insecure from time to time.
There’s a saying, ‘nothing changes if nothing changes’, so be brave and try new things. Sure, you might feel uncomfortable to start with, but before you know it, you could be having the time of your life! Discovering that you can be good at new stuff is a great confidence booster.
“It is never too late for self-discovery and self-exploration,” says Cheu Rachana. “Trying new things could turn out to be rewarding or something that’s ultimately not for you. But the more challenging it is, the bigger the lessons we may learn about ourselves. Self-reflection is important here, too. Acknowledging the emotions you are feeling – whether it’s a success or not, is key to building on your self-esteem. It’s about learning to be OK, whatever the outcome.”
Free yourself from the comparison trap
This is one of the biggest traps for those suffering with low self-esteem. Comparing your life to others spells trouble with a capital T because there’s always going to be someone seemingly more better off than you.
Kim Dyna, author of the book Depression, says that while this motivates some people to do better, it’s not for everyone. “If you are comparing yourself to others and you feel increasingly worse, you must stop. When we don’t compare ourselves to others, we can give ourselves the time and space to let our self-esteem flourish. Each and every one of us is born to be unique so there is no reason to compare the moon and the sun.”
Take good care of yourself
It is very important to check on yourself regularly. Taking care of yourself includes learning to manage your physical, mental and emotional wellbeing, so the risk of numerous problems can be elevated. It may feel like an overwhelming task at first, but the effort is more than worth it.
“We need take care of ourselves – both mentally and physically – because it helps us to feel positive about our life,” says Dyna. “When we feel positive, it means we are inviting good things to the door of our happiness, and self-esteem is one of the special guests.”
Goal-setting can feel a bit terrifying. Who really knows what they want to do in 10 years time? So start small – what do you want to achieve in the next five days? Start by listing down a realistic goal and cross it off when you’ve achieved it. Before you know it, you’ll be ticking them all off and will feel confident about trying for bigger, more ambitious goals. And then just watch your self-esteem soar!