How to develop your self-esteem

Maybe you didn’t have the best childhood, or traumatic events like a heavy break-up damaged your self-esteem. Then you want to rebuild it, and this is possible. For some of us this will be easy while others need to put some real effort into it and possibly consult a therapist

An obvious tip that you’ve probably heard before, but still works, is finding things you are good at. Are you a talented painter? Paint more! Do people always pride you for your listening skill? Remind yourself of that and listen to people! This is a simple trick that may not work for you, but you can always try. Find something that can exactly make you feel good about yourself!

When your self-esteem is low you might not accept compliments, not believe them or even tell yourself that these people simply feel sorry for you. Most compliments people give are genuine, so try to accept them gracefully and believe it. This may take some time, but it’s worth the effort.

It’s also important to work on getting rid of all that self-criticism. Without noticing it you might be beating yourself up all the time. Try to identify when you have these destructive thoughts and challenge them. You may believe that you are overweight when you had a couple of cookies, but is this true? You need to realise that not all your thoughts speak the absolute truth.

In essence, the key to building self-esteem is around accepting who you are, as you are, with all all the strengths and weaknesses. We often have to put on a mask to appear in a certain way to others, is this necessary? Those with a good measure of self-esteem are able to accept themselves as they are and able to brush off destructive criticisms.

Those with strong self-esteem are also good at accepting others, as they are, realising that sometimes others maintain their low self-esteem by putting you down, so that they can feel good about themselves. This may be a learnt behaviour from their childhood. Being able to accept others as they are, but not tolerating their aggression, by being firm, fair and strong would be a powerful way to maintain your own self-esteem. This would help you to see that the problem is with them and not you.

When your self-esteem issues lie a bit deeper, you may want to see a psychotherapist. They can help you get to the bottom of the issue and find out why your self-esteem is low. Such a therapist will help you to challenge your beliefs about yourself, change your thought-patterns and create behaviour to match high self-esteem.

Overall, self-esteem is quite a big part of you, your personality and how you live your life. So, developing this aspect is worthwhile and can lead to a happy, enriched and fulfilled life.

Guirish Radja