How to Increase Your Low Self Esteem?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could feel that you can be anyone you want to be and to make your big dreams come true? It is impossible with having a low self esteem.
Low Self Esteem is More Harmful Than You Think
Self esteem is how we think and feel about ourselves. It is more important than you think as It has a great impact on all the areas of our lives. Positive self esteem makes us feel strong, independent and optimistic. Confident people learn from their mistakes and grow instead of blaming themselves. They tend to feel in charge of their own lives and solve problems, they don’t fear rejection and able to say no. Negative self esteem makes person feel weak, incompetent and incapable. People with a low self esteem fear to take risks and make decisions, they tend to not trust anyone. Low self confidence results in blaming behavior, fears and negativity.
Self confidence affects almost everything we do, even if we don’t notice this. Our insecurities often lead to poor decisions. Poor decisions and choices often lead to frustrating relationships, lack of trust, professional difficulties. These difficulties decrease already fragile self esteem and bring a feeling of being trapped in a vicious cycle of negativity. In long-term, low self confidence can lead to certain mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety.
Why Women are Less Confident than Men?
There are many roots of low self esteem. In many cases it has its origins in the childhood and such negative experiences as neglect, parental rejection or abuse. Sometimes it starts because we get a lot of negative messages from our environment (parents, siblings, schoolmates or media) telling us: ‘you are not good enough’. Traumatic life events can also influence our confidence negatively.
Statistically, women tend to be less confident than men. What causes this confidence gap?
According to recent studies, men tend to overestimate their abilities and competence in a professional world, and women underestimate them, even though their performances are the same. Although both genders have self-doubts, men don’t let these doubts affect their decisions. Another factor is risk taking ability. Studies show that most women are afraid of taking risks and trying something out of their comfort zone. The roots of these differences between genders lie in childhood. Girls more than boys are appreciated for being good, so they seek approval by being good. Boys more than girls tease one another, call each other bad words and are appreciated by other boys for being bad. In result, girls try to avoid risks and failure, they fear of being imperfect. Boys do the opposite and as a result, they build their self confidence. According to numerous research findings, failures and risk taking ability are crucial for building a positive self esteem.
How to Get Rid Of Low Self Esteem?
Good news is you can work on yourself and get rid of your low self esteem. There are long-term and instant self esteem boosters. Try a combination of these for the best result.
Long-Term Confidence Boosters
Long-term confidence boosters require consistent and continuous work and self-discipline. The whole process of change is slow, but the result is long-term and worth trying.
1. Change the way you think
Change doesn’t happen overnight, but you can change gradually. Start from giving yourself a positive message and replacing negativity with positivity. For example, replace a thought ‘I made a terrible mistake in a job interview. I will never get hired” with “I made a mistake in a job interview, but I have learned from it. This will increase my chances of nailing a job interview in another company”. These positive thinking strategies will help you as well: avoid exaggerations (especially the negative ones), accept your flaws and mistakes (just because it is so human and nobody is perfect), stop feeling responsible and guilty for everything, focus on your future and on what you can do better. To change your way of thinking and living, you should learn to ignore your negative inner voice. Nobody told it was easy!
2. Understand your strengths
People with positive self esteem are fully aware of their strengths and achievements. The key to building a healthy self confidence is knowing yourself better. If you haven’t done that yet, take a pen and a paper and create two lists: one of your strengths and one of your achievements. Can’t think of anything? Ask your friend or family to help you. When ready, put these lists in a visible place and read them regularly. Always remember that despite your mistakes, flaws and problems, you are a special person and you deserve a good self-treatment. Stop your inner self critic and set perfectionism aside. Remember that nobody is perfect but everybody has strengths.
3. Take care of your health and body
Physical activity has many benefits to health and body. It can boost your mood, improve your sex life and increase your self esteem. Workout makes human body release chemicals called endorphins, also called brain’s ‘feel-good’ chemicals. These substances will make you feel happier and more relaxed. Physical activity may provide you with a double self esteem boost because you may also feel more confident about your appearance and yourself when you workout regularly.
Nutrition also plays a great role in building self confidence. Scientists proved that there is a link between the food we eat and mental health. You should get the right balance of nutrients from your diet to feel better about yourself and to lift your mood. For instance, studies show that people who are not getting enough omega-3 acids are more likely to develop depression. What should you eat to feel more confident? Include these foods in your diet: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, eggs, lean meat, oily fish, low fat cheese, seafood, nuts, beans and seeds. Limit your intake of junk food, alcohol, caffeine and sugar.
Changing your lifestyle as a whole may help significantly improve self esteem.
4. Avoid toxic people and hang out with the positive, supportive ones
Your environment might affect your self confidence in many ways. Identify toxic, unsupportive, negative people in your life and spend less time with them. Spend more time with the open-minded, positive and kind people. Seek out relationships with those who make you feel good, appreciate and support you. Avoid reading articles or watching videos that make you feel bad about yourself. Read something that inspires you daily!
In addition, try to evaluate situations in your life that seem to negatively affect your self esteem. Examples: toxic work environment, unfulfilling job or job loss, crisis at home, unhealthy relationships. Avoid these situations if possible or work towards changing them.
Try to be kind and positive towards other people, express your gratitude constantly.
5. Set realistic goals and expectations for yourself
Truth is, you can’t control everything. Your future is unknown, many factors can affect it. You might not become a millionaire by the age of 30 or 40 because of many reasons (and you can’t control all of them). So, set realistic goals and expectations for yourself. It doesn’t mean you should stop challenging yourself, but try to make small steps towards your big dreams. Increase your competence by studying and practicing. By becoming more competent and knowledgeable, you will become more confident. Always value all your achievements (including small ones) and your self esteem with thank you.
6. Avoid comparing yourself to others
Stop comparing yourself to other people and competing with them. Compete against yourself and challenge yourself! Comparing yourself to others is a bad habit and is useless because it’s never fair. You see only part of other people’s lives (usually, a glamorous one they show on their social media profiles), but you don’t know the details. You think other people feel and live better than you, but you don’t know for sure.
You should also stop comparing your appearance with that of celebrities and models. According to recent research 80% of women in U.S. are unhappy with their appearances. Partly that happens because of the society’s idea of the perfect female face and body image. People see the perfect bodies and faces of celebrities and models everywhere: in media, magazines, internet and movies. They compare their bodies and faces to these and start feeling insecure. Remember that celebrities use a lot of makeup, video and photo editing in order to look better.
7. Learn to say no
People with low self esteem fear rejection and try to please everyone. They often feel they can’t say no to other people, even if they really want to. Learning to say no will help you to avoid anger, anxiety and feeling of being unfulfilled. You should not try to become someone you don’t want to. Stop thinking that telling no will upset someone – in most cases that will not happen.
8. Get active, but don’t forget to relax
It is easy to do nothing and stay in your comfort zone. However, it can make you feel less secure! Doing something usually leads to mistakes and failures. But they are crucial for building a healthy confidence and becoming better. So, get active and do unfamiliar things but don’t forget to relax as well. Inability to relax can lead to anxiety, irritability and harm your self confidence.
Instant Low Self Esteem Boosters
Short-term confidence boosters work well for those who need to get an instant, immediate self esteem boost. This is very useful before special life events or stressful, responsible situations such as job interviews, first dates, first day at the new job or school, public presentations, exams and other. Try these instant confidence boosters and help yourself to feel in charge of your success:
1. Look the best you can
Believe it or not but taking care of your appearance can help you to build confidence. Make sure to pay attention to your hygiene, wear clothes that you like and that make you feel good. It is amazing how even a nice perfume and bubble bath can lift your mood!
Preparing for a stressful event or day? Wear your best dress, high heels, put on some makeup and don’t forget to smile!
2. Get a photo session for yourself
Flattering photos will boost your low self esteem instantly. Get a professional photo session or take few pictures of you by yourself using timer on the camera or phone. Pose like a model, don’t be shy, express yourself. Apply some cool photo filters to your picture or let a professional photo editing company work on your pictures. Post a best photo to your social media networks. That works as a powerful self confidence booster for some people, especially younger women.
3. Listen to music
According to recent research, music can make you feel more powerful and more confident. It can also boost your mood, increase your creativity and productivity. Similarly as physical activity, listening to music makes your body release chemicals responsible for your happiness.
Grab your iPod and listen to some lively, inspiring tunes!
Going to a date but don’t feel confident enough? Or maybe you are going through a tough breakup? Try flirting! Psychologists suggest that you can get an instant confidence boost if you flirt. This works well for both men and women. Flirting helps us feel better about ourselves, lifts our moods and makes us less nervous.
5. Use swear words
Believe it or not, but swearing can make you feel stronger and more relaxed. Something went wrong? Just say ‘f*** this s***!’ and get an instant relief. Numerous studies show that using bad words help to get a significant confidence boost. However, be careful to use this technique in front of your parents, co-workers or boss.
6. Embrace your smile
No matter how low your self esteem is, smiling will help in all situations. Experts say that smile is one of the most effective instant ways to feel happier, stronger and more confident. Smile at the job interview, smile on a date, smile at work and at home, use your sense of humor even in the worst situations.
7. Go shopping
Nothing can help to build your esteem better that buying something nice for yourself. Don’t have nothing to wear to an important life event? Go and buy that killer outfit that makes you look like a celebrity. Both men and women can get an instant mood and confidence boost with a shopping therapy.
8. Get a glass of wine
Although this technique cannot be used in all situations, a glass of wine before a date or after a bad day will definitely help. Most doctors suggest that drinking wine in moderate amount has good effect on mental health, including self confidence. People who consume wine regularly in moderate amounts are less likely to develop depression and anxiety.
9. Meditate or relax your muscles for a few minutes
It will only take you few minutes, but will be well worth it. Short meditation helps to keep your mind stress-free and to appreciate life more, it helps you feel happier and stronger. The next time you feel insecure, just close your eyes, relax your muscles and breathe deeply. You will feel better immediately. This tip is easy but underestimated.
Find some time to volunteer for a good cause and help other people or animals. This will help you to feel a better person and boost your confidence instantly.
If you have tried everything but nothing seems to help, you should seek professional advice. Remember that in severe cases low self esteem may require medical treatment and therapy.