Low self-esteem can have a negative impact on all areas of your life – your relationships, your health, and your job. It can strip you of your confidence to make even the smallest decisions.
Improving your self-esteem will lead you to a happier and more fulfilling life. There are things you can do to increase your self-esteem, your confidence, and your well-being. Start with these steps from Mayo Clinic:
Step 1: Identify troubling conditions or situations
Think about the conditions or situations that seem to deflate your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:
- A business presentation
- A crisis at work or home
- A challenge with a spouse, loved one, co-worker or other close contact
- A change in life circumstances, such as a job loss or child leaving home
Step 2: Become aware of thoughts and beliefs
Once you’ve identified troubling conditions or situations, pay attention to your thoughts. This includes your self-talk (what you tell yourself) and your interpretation of what the situation means. Your thoughts and beliefs might be positive, negative or neutral. They might be rational, based on reasons or facts, or irrational, based on false ideas.
Step 3: Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking
Your initial thoughts might not be the only possible way to view a situation, so test the accuracy of your thoughts. Ask yourself whether your view is consistent with facts and logic or whether other explanations for the situation might be plausible.
Be aware that it’s sometimes tough to recognize inaccuracies in thinking. Most people have automatic, long-standing ways of thinking about their lives and themselves. These long-held thoughts and beliefs can feel normal and factual, but many are actually just opinions or perceptions.
Step 4: Adjust your thoughts and beliefs
Replace negative or inaccurate thoughts with accurate, constructive thoughts. Try these strategies:
- Use hopeful statements. Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement. Pessimism can be a self-fulfilling prophecy.
- Forgive yourself. Everyone makes mistakes – and mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. They’re isolated moments in time.
- Focus on the positive. Think about the good parts of your life. Remind yourself of things that have gone well recently. Consider the skills you’ve used to cope with challenging situations.
- Encourage yourself. Give yourself credit for making positive changes.
Practicing these steps will allow you to begin to recognize the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self-esteem and you can actively counter them, helping you accept your value as a person.