Most of us know that increasing our self esteem will help us live fuller lives and have better relationships, but how exactly do you do this?
A lot of people present self esteem development as simply being a matter of doing nice things for yourself. True self esteem comes from hard work and challenging yourself. Perservering through difficulties, facing fears, overcoming challenges, making difficult choices and changes. These are the things which truly develop self esteem. Here are 9 ways to do that.
I think a lot of efforts to develop self esteem involve focusing only on ourselves. Good self care is important and I will examine this further below. But it isn't everything. Human beings are social creatures. We live in and are affected by the society which surrounds us. I believe that disconnecting from this and isolating ourselves leaves us empty and contributes to the depression which is so prolific in modern culture. To truly feel good about ourselves we have to feel part of our community in some way. We need to feel that we are making a contribution. The way in which one does this is unique to every individual. But connecting to and participating in something bigger than yourself contributes greatly to your own sense of self worth. Find a meaning. Find a cause. Find something which is important to you and create it, build it, defend it.
Self CareDeveloping good self care techniques is necessary not only for developing self esteem, but for maintaining good mental and physical health. But good self care is not simply a matter of being "nice" to yourself. Sometimes it requires making some tough choices; i.e. changing your diet, starting an exercise regimen, etc. It is so important I've devoted an entire article just to this topic: "Building Self Esteem through Self Care".
Pay attention to how you talk to yourself. If you are delivering a constant stream of name-calling, put downs, insults or negative language to yourself it's almost impossible to have a good sense of self esteem. Developing healthy and appropriate self talk is almost as important as developing good self care. This too is a topic worthy of it's own article: "The Voices in Your Head: Tuning in to Your Self Talk".