What you should, and shouldn’t do about your self-esteem issues
Having an unhealthy level of self-esteem is like being caught in a vicious wave in the ocean where you’re struggling against the strong tides, and yet still sinking.
Having a low self-esteem makes you feel bad about who you are right now and could demotivate you from doing anything to improve yourself or situation.
Typically, after this comes the onslaught of negative thinking and self-defeating behavior that keeps you stuck at the level where you are. All the while, your self-esteem continues in its free fall.
The beautiful, albeit terrible thing about your self-esteem, is that you are the only one powerful enough to turn it around. You can’t do much with external motivation if you are not open to the idea that your self-esteem needs a boost. Getting yourself out is a process that takes time and effort.
So, thinking of ways to start the process of giving your self-esteem a little nudge in the right direction? Here are a few helpful hints.
Get a professional guide
Nobody ever achieved greatness without a coach. Low self-esteem can affect your mental health and there are professionals that can help you, using tools like talking therapies, cognitive behavioral therapy, or counseling. Fortunately, you can refer yourself for therapy in some areas and pay privately. The first step is acceptance, and the second is to seek the help of professionals to increase your chances of success.
Learn a new skill
Find a skill that aligns with your talents and your interest and join a class where you can learn it. Mastery of a new skill gives you a sense of competence that is healthy for your self-esteem. It gives you the feeling that you “can do”.
Stretch your comfort zone
The thing about a low self-esteem is that you stick to activities that are “safe;” activities that you are comfortable with. This is not good for your self-development and it does nothing for your sense of achievement either.
Stretch your comfort zone by going one step further than you are comfortable with and before long you will find that your comfort zone is expanding. Like to be safe? Try being spontaneous once in a while—take a different route to work, try out a new restaurant with a friend, then a different restaurant alone—little steps that will change your perspective.
Every time you find yourself thinking negatively about yourself or your abilities, challenge that train of thought.
Are you having a self-defeatist thought that says, “I can’t do it”? Why not challenge yourself by asking “why not?” “If not?” And finally, “How do I do this?”
Finding out that you excel at things you previously thought of yourself as being inept at can give your self-esteem a little instant boost.
Learn to smile a bit more. If you feel that your teeth are unsightly or too ugly for your smile, then give yourself a smile makeover if you have to. Dr. Luong of Tiger Smile Family Dentistry says “Several studies have linked the perfect smile to a healthy self-esteem and a better quality of life.”
Patients with less than perfect teeth find it harder to be confident and are more restrictive in their daily activities.
Creativity can help boost your self-esteem and your overall sense of wellbeing. The beautiful thing about creativity is that there are so many ways to get creative.
You could choose from a wide range of activities such as writing, painting, various types of designing, playing music, cooking, making scrapbooks, pottery, cake decorating, knitting, sewing, photography, gardening, dancing, singing and more.
Whatever you choose as your method of getting the creative juices flowing, make sure you set yourself up for success by going with something that interests you. Getting creative is a method of self-expression that always gives you a sense of accomplishment at the end.
If you don’t already, then add exercise to your daily routine. Exercise makes you feel good by releasing endorphins, nature’s feel-good chemical. It also makes you look better over time, and the feeling of strength and fitness that comes with a regular workout routine is potent.
Feeling good, being strong, and looking good are attributes of a healthy self-esteem. Regular exercise has been shown to have a positive effect on health, including mental health.
What you shouldn’t do about your self-esteem issues
The tips above can help you take positive steps, but you also have to remember that there are some things that can make your self-esteem nosedive. Don’t:
- Assume you can do it all by yourself. You can try, but seeking professional help greatly improves your chances of success.
- Think “It’s the way I am, there’s nothing I can do about it.” It might be the way you currently are, but remember that self-improvement comes from within. You have to be willing to try.
- Think you deserve to have a low self-esteem? Well, that’s your self-esteem thinking for you. Instead, think confident, beautiful and other positive and uplifting thoughts about yourself.