Your self-esteem can just as quietly be built up. Here are 7 tips on how to get better.
"I'm a failure."
"I always fool myself."
"Do others really like me"
Do you know those kinds of thoughts? I know I do. Maybe they're roaming around in your head? You are far from alone. A lot of people walk around with a negative voice inside their heads. A voice that grinds all day long. A voice that speaks to them down and runs hard on even at the slightest mistake.
And when that voice has run on long enough, it starts to wear on your self-esteem.
Fortunately, your self-esteem can be strengthened. I know I did. You can learn to turn down negative thoughts. Learn to appreciate yourself as you are.
But let's be honest from the start: there is no hocus-pocus solution for better self-esteem. Breaking old thought patterns requires patience. Step by step, however, you can get better with yourself. And you can start today. Start with the tips just below.
So here are 7 tips that worked for me on how to get a better self-esteem
Say one good thing to yourself every morning
Agree with yourself that for the next 14 days you will start the day by saying something nice to yourself. Stand in front of the mirror and say, for example:
"I look great today"
"I was a good friend today"
"I'm great at cooking" ‚Ä¶ I'm really not - or am I? I know I enjoy my food.
It might feel weird at first. But don't give up!
And why the hell does it work then?
The trick is that you just as quietly reprogram your brain by becoming more aware of your good sides. What you focus on simply grows. The exercise requires you to repeat it for a minimum of 14 days - and preferably longer.
Do not compare yourself with others all the time
I once constantly compared myself with other people. I'm not gonna lie, I still do sometimes. I bet your tip-tip-tip great-great-grandfather probably also scooped over to the neighbor to check if he was dragging fatter eels' home to the settlement.
But the eternal battle of comparison wears off. Especially if you are struggling with low self-esteem. Why? Because the comparisons almost always end up making you think the others are funnier, wiser, and happier than you.
Therefore, start by noticing how much you compare yourself to others. Is there anyone that you compare yourself to? Is it in certain situations? The more aware you become of your thought patterns, the easier it is for you to break them.
Just pay extra attention to how much you mirror yourself in others on social media. I don't like posting pictures of my face on social media either - have you noticed? It is funny, people rarely post pictures of themselves on Facebook when they are curly, sad, and alone. Nope - instead they carefully pick the best, funniest, and most profitable images - and maybe they'll just be edited a bit too.
Those kinds of glossy pictures are hard to live up to. Result: You risk feeling sad, wrong, and bored compared to all the others. And you are far from alone.
Did you know, for example, that researchers have found that Facebook viewing can make our mood plummet? Simply because we are programmed to constantly compare ourselves with others. I started by sorting in who I followed on social media.
Practice accepting that you (like everyone else) are making mistakes
We all make mistakes. That's how it is to be human. But if you're struggling with low self-esteem, it can be super hard to accept that you also make mistakes. Maybe you go for several days and hit yourself in the head with something you have said or done. "Why the hell did I say or did that?" And it kickstarts an entire avalanche of musings. "What are the others thinking about me now? Will they still be friends with me?"
Practice stopping those kinds of thoughts before they take over. Ask yourself what you would have said if it was your best friend who had made a mistake. Would you be just as tough then? Never!
We often make far stricter demands on ourselves than anyone else. It's OK for the others to mess up every now and then. My God, they're just human. But for yourself, completely different rules apply. You need to soar flawlessly and perfectly through life.
Pretty crazy when you think about it, right?
Find your strengths
Are you a world champion at spotting your own mistakes? I suggest you turn the bucket upside down - and instead practice focusing on your strengths. Maybe you never thought about having strengths at all? I know I didn't.
All people have different strengths. I look at mine as, for example: curiosity and creativity. If you are boxing with low self-esteem, it is an extra good idea to make a "plus list" with your strengths. It builds you up and gives you strength when the negative thoughts come rolling.
Are you ready for a cheesy quote? We never really are right - but here we go. A wise man once said: "Build upon your strengths and your weaknesses will gradually take care of themselves". I find this to be so true, and I believe you will too!
Have others make a list of things you are good at
Total gamechanger. Do you know that feeling when you are looking for something for hours? You simply cannot find it. And then your mother comes by and says: "Well, it's lying there". Right in front of your snout. This is also often the case with the things we are good at. We cannot spot them ourselves, but for everyone else it is obvious. A good trick is to ask a friend or family member to write a list of 5 good things about you. You will probably find that they notice things that you did not even notice.
Afterward, you can save the list so you always have it with you. It can be super supportive when on less happy days.
Make a difference for others
Volunteering is an ingenious self-esteem booster. You spread joy and make a difference for others. At the same time, you get the opportunity to try a lot of things. For example, leading a group of wild scouts or helping siblings with their homework.
Are you ready for another cheesy quote? Here we go! The Dalai Lama has said many wise things. One of them: "If you think you're too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.". I always laugh at that one.
Talk to your parents about how you are feeling
This might be a bit scarier, but it doesn't make it any less important. You've probably heard it ten thousand times: Talk to your parents about how you feel. And now we repeat it. But that is good advice. It is far too heavy to go with problems alone and your parents are guaranteed to want to help you.
Is it not enough to talk to your parents right now? Try to look around and find someone else you talk to well. For example, it could be your class teacher or your boyfriend's mother. The crucial thing is not so much who you talk to. The crucial thing is that you are not alone with your thoughts and feelings.