We all have days when we look in the mirror and don’t like what we see, or try on all our clothes before a night out with friends and hate how we look. Although it is normal to go through these phases, it’s important not to let them affect the way we think about ourselves. [link to negative self image post]. Nowadays, low self esteem is becoming increasingly common, partly due to social media. We are constantly comparing ourselves to other people, and seeing people’s “perfect lives” play out on Facebook and Instagram. We all know it isn’t real, and yet it is very easy to be sucked in and start thinking we are no good, flawed, not worthy.
As I’ve mentioned before, low self esteem and low confidence can be both contributors to, and causes of, anxiety. Therefore, it’s really important to learn ways to deal with these feelings so that we can stop being so hard on ourselves, and start enjoying life – free from worry and anxiety. So how can we go about overcoming low self esteem?
Two Steps To Start
Overcoming low self esteem and building confidence requires two steps to begin with. First of all, we have to pinpoint where our feelings or low self worth are directed. This might be: that we think we are unattractive, that we think we aren’t good enough. Secondly, we need to work out what we are comparing ourselves to, and to realise that image of perfection isn’t necessarily attainable. Having goals is positive, punishing yourself if you don’t reach the level of perfection you expect from yourself – by setting unattainable goals – leads to low self esteem.
Once we have worked these two things out, we can start the process of overcoming low self esteem and building confidence.
Overcoming Low Self Esteem
Here are 7 tips you can use to boost your confidence and improve your self esteem. Remember, like any of the tips I talk about on the blog, they require a bit of time and practice, but they really do work.
Journal To Happiness
Try keeping a self esteem journal. It will help you alter your mindset and remind you of the good things you have achieved.
Everyday write down things that went well for you, things you found challenging, what you enjoyed, what you did to take you a step closer to your goals. And try to include one positive thing about yourself – your personality, your body, your abilities. Read these entries whenever you doubt yourself, or feel particularly low.
We are often an awful lot harder on ourselves than we would be on family or friends in the same situation. Try to take a step back and rephrase how you’re talking to yourself. Treat yourself with kindness and compassion – as though you were helping a friend through a difficult time.
It’s okay to struggle and think we could do better, but that’s no reason to think cruel thoughts about ourselves.
Your Words Have Power
Following on from self-compassion: remember that the way we speak to ourselves is incredibly powerful. Low self esteem often stems from an ingrained belief we have about ourselves, and these come from our own internal dialogue. I’ve mentioned this tip before but I think it’s worth reiterating it because it’s one I find really useful.
Write down the opposite thing to your usual negative thought so for example: I’m not good enough becomes I am enough. Write the positive phrase on a piece of paper or a post it note and stick it up somewhere you’ll see it everyday. Make yourself read it – aloud is best – whenever you see it.
Over time it will help you change your mindset and stop you from repeating the negative phrases in your head.
Life Is A Journey
One of the big problems that causes low self esteem and lack of confidence is comparing our beginning (or middle) to somebody else’s end.
In other words, looking at someone who has built an amazing business and wondering why we aren’t as successful as them – why we aren’t as good as them. When in reality we are comparing the beginnings of our business to the one they’ve been running for five years. Have goals, have role models, but make sure you remember that you are not them. And give yourself the credit you deserve for the achievements you make.
Appearances Can Be Deceiving
We don’t know what’s really going on in other people’s lives. We only ever see little snapshots, or the things they want us to see.
Just as I said not to compare where you are in your goals with where somebody else is, don’t be fooled by what you think you see as success. Those people you admire have problems, worries and their own struggles with self esteem. Just because they look like they have the perfect life and are constantly happy, doesn’t mean that is true. Take what you see with a pinch of salt, and focus on being loving to yourself, not envious of other people.
Which leads me to…
Social Media Ban
If social media is making you feel envious, anxious and depressed, you need to step back from it. Social media is for fun, it’s for sharing with friends and getting inspired. It isn’t a stick you should use to beat yourself with because you aren’t living the lives “influencers” are living.
Delete the apps off your phone, download a blocking software that doesn’t let you log in. Whatever you need to do, do it. Just take a break from your phone, get out into the real world and enjoy yourself. Go meet up with friends, have a walk in the countryside or just spend some time doing something you love. This anti-social media self care will have an immediate effect on how positive you feel, I can guarantee it!
Beliefs Aren’t Reality
And last, but not least, remember that just because you believe something about yourself, doesn’t make it real. The way we think about ourselves is not the way other people view us.
Our beliefs are a mental construct as a result of the way we’ve been brought up and the experiences we’ve had. But like any form of mindset, these things can be changed. Read this article on mindset to learn how to be more positive.
Low self confidence can be really hard to deal with but it isn’t something that you should let hold you back in life. Overcoming low self esteem is completely possible. Start making small changes to your mindset, treat yourself with more compassion, and be a little less demanding and you will start to feel much happier in yourself.
Maybe all you need is a little bit of self care, to help you feel a bit more like yourself again…
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