When people talk about improving self-esteem, they usually mean self-confidence. While the two are related, they are not exactly the same. Self-esteem is all about self-worth and self-value. It’s how we see ourselves in relation to other people and our environment. It has nothing to do with vanity or conceit.
The lack of self-esteem is a major problem and has a leveling quality. Rich and poor alike are afflicted by it and people decide between happiness and unhappiness because of it. If self-esteem is an area in your life where you need improvement, here are some tips you can use to build your self-value and improve the way you see yourself:
1. Know what you want. You can’t assess where you are in your journey if you have no idea what you want to have in life. You also will not be able to judge whether you’ve been doing a good job or just so-so.
Set goals that are clear and doable. Make sure that these are things you want to do and attain, and not things your parents, family, friends and colleagues insist you ‘should’ have. Is it just the latest trends that dictate your aspirations? If so, you will never catch up and be satisfied. You can only claim your goals as your own if you recognize them as things you truly, genuinely want in your life.
2. Assess your good points. List the things that you do well and the things that make you a good person. It could be anything intelligence, a good sense of humor, good analytical ability, compassion, creativity, ability to spot trends, people skills, things that you have and recognize as an integral part of your personality and talents. No matter how low you feel in your life, these are qualities that you never lose.
3. Recognize your liabilities. Improving your self-esteem does not mean ignoring the things that make you human. To be human is to make mistakes, just do not let them keep you stuck. List your negative traits and label them as areas in your life you need to work on, areas for improvement. Treating them as downright liabilities will make them seem an unalterable feature of your life and create a feeling that you are helpless against them.
4. Build slowly but surely. Take little steps to improve your self-esteem. Big successes build upon small successes. You can’t decide to change your outlook drastically today and expect extreme results in the morning. By taking it slowly and performing well during each turn, you gradually build a solid base of achievements that will boost your self-esteem more effectively.
5. Make it a point to improve yourself daily. Whatever you do, say or think should be geared towards improving your self-esteem. Improve the way you dress, walk or talk. Take further studies to hone your knowledge and skills, learn a new language, take up cooking classes, start a new hobby. Being able to immerse yourself in worthwhile activity creates a feeling of capability and opens new opportunities for growth.
6. Keep away from people who shoot you down with snide remarks and unfair criticisms. Associate with positive people. There will always be grouches and negativists who will think nothing about giving careless opinions that make other people think unworthy of praise or recognition. If you find people who make it their life mission to belittle other people’s achievements, keep your distance. They will not contribute anything good to your life.
7. Be yourself. You’ll never improve your self-esteem if you try to live life and find acceptance as a projected mask of yourself. Pretending to be someone you’re not will fail to affirm your uniqueness and potential and will only make you sadder about your circumstance. You can’t make everyone love you, so don’t try.
8. Make other people feel good about themselves. People tend to like you more if you’re honest and pleasant. Polish your listening skills and body language to make people feel comfortable. Respond to them visibly and with interest.
You might think that this is the opposite of what you want to do to improve your self-esteem but by actually focusing your attention on other people, you create an aura of likeability that they gravitate towards, making them choose you over others. And when you are singled out as a good person who’s terrific to be with, your self-esteem grows.
9. You have the right to make mistakes. Nobody’s perfect, regardless of what you’ve heard or what popular media wants you to believe. By accepting that you will make mistakes and that it’s all right, you learn to recognize that it is a necessary process you need to go through in order for you to improve yourself.
10. Recognize that you are a unique individual with a different set of talents and that you have something to contribute. You may not be a big celebrity like Justin Timberlake, as rich as Bill Gates or as powerful as Oprah Winfrey, but your individuality makes you as important as they are, with as much right to exist and make something of yourself.