Self-esteem is defined as “a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.” While it seems that loving one’s self is a basic act that should go without saying, it is often an ability that is taken for granted by those who don’t struggle with it. Being confident and having self-esteem does not mean that you are perfect, but that you have made the conscious decision to love yourself regardless of your faults and shortcomings. If you find that you struggle with self-esteem, know that you do not have to live this way and that you can overcome this poor image you have of yourself if you really put your mind to it. I know because I’ve been there. Here are 10 things that assisted me in overcoming the negative and distorted image that I had of myself and hopefully they can help you, too.
1. Identify the problem
Recognizing the exact source of your insecurity is a crucial step in overcoming low self-esteem. It is impossible to fix an issue when you are unable to identify the root of it. Are you unhappy with some physical feature about yourself? Is there some personality flaw that you believe you have? According to Dr. John M. Grohol of Psych Central, in order to overcome this issue, you have to first locate your “irrational thoughts.” He suggests creating a a duel-sided list where you compile 10 of your strengths and 10 of your weaknesses.
2. Think about what you’re thinking about
This golden nugget was provided by Joyce Meyer’s best-selling book Battlefield of the Mind where she coaches and encourages readers to be triumphant in their battle against negative thinking. One of the tips offered is to become aware of the thoughts that you entertain. Many times negatives thoughts will enter our minds and we allow them to take residence in our thought process for the long haul. In becoming more conscious of your thoughts, you can effectively dismiss those that are self-condemning and hateful. It takes work and discipline, but it is very possible. As we know, our thoughts become our words and our words become our actions. It all starts in the mind.
3. Set a (realistic) goal
Achieving a goal that has significant meaning to you is a great way to give your confidence a boost. It doesn’t have to be something major, but something that you would view as a personal victory. Have you been meaning to drop that extra 5 lbs that you unknowingly picked up? Feeling the urge to go back to school? Go for it. Keep a written record on your victories, you’ll be able to reflect back on them later.
4. Pick up an exercise routine
You don’t have to go overboard and try to be the next Donna Richardson, but even light exercise will have you not only feeling better, but looking better as well. Physical activity has been shown to have a positive impact on mental health as well as self-image.
5. Pick up a hobby
What do you enjoy doing? If you like to sing, think about taking some voice lessons just for fun or joining your church or community choir. If you enjoy dancing try signing up for a dance class at your neighborhood recreational center. Focusing on something you’re good at is a sure way increase the manner in which you view yourself.
6. Resist the urge to compare
The temptation to compare yourself to other people is ever present and a threat to many. Comparing yourself to others will generally leave you feeling down on yourself and it’s a habit that should be broken immediately. Recognize that no two people are alike and that just because another person is strong in an area where you feel that you are weak does not make you any less than they are.
7. Don’t hate, congratulate
I know this is a really corny saying, but it’s true. The green-eyed monster loves to show up when someone else has made a major accomplishment, but before you allow him to overtake you, stop and think. Make an attempt at generally being happy for the person and congratulate them, because I’m sure you would want the same love from your friends and family. You’ll feel a lot better.
8. Add to or upgrade your wardrobe
It is important to realize that confidence comes from within, but there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about the way you look, and sometimes a new outfit or two can do the trick. Don’t put yourself in debt or max out your credit cards, but there’s nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice.
9. Compliment others
I’m not sure what it is about making someone else smile, but it makes you feel good too. The next time the girl in the cubicle next to yours comes in with some fly new shoes, tell her. If you’ve noticed that the usher at church has lost weight, let her know how great she looks. I promise that releasing positivity and positive energy into the atmosphere usually always make you feel good.
10. Meditate on how God sees you
Sometimes it is difficult to see the greatness inside of you, but constantly reminding yourself of how God views you is a great start. Memorizing scriptures such as Psalm 139: 13-16 or Ephesians 2:10 that reinforce the idea that you are a divinely created being who is deeply loved by the One who created you is a strategic way to put a smile on your face.
What are some other ways that you boost your self-esteem on days you’re running low?
All photos are courtesy of Shutterstock
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