Raising Low Self-Esteem

by | Nov 3, 2021 | Personal Development

There’s no doubt that your self-esteem is one of the biggest influences on your success in life. However, while your feelings about yourself are real and valid, they often aren’t the most accurate representation of your performance. Humans have notoriously low self-esteem, especially through the adolescent years, and if not properly addressed—this lack of confidence can lead to heartbreaking results.  

And, watching your friends’ (or even your acquaintances’) Instagram™ highlight reels for 2 hours a day isn’t helping. The good news is that self-esteem is not a fixed attribute. It changes just like everything else about us, and with some dedicated effort, you can raise your self-esteem and reach the goals you’ve been too afraid to work toward.  

Internal Changes 

There are two types of changes to focus on, and the first is internal change. This is altering yourself from the inside out. By changing the way you think, you’ll work toward raising your self-esteem. 

Internal Dialogue 

If you’ve ever said something stupid, you know how the voices in your head will play that moment of humiliation over and over until you’re convinced that everyone you know thinks you’re incapable of proper speech. This is your inner dialogue, and it dictates a lot of how you view yourself.

Brené Brown is an industry leader on the topic of shame and internal dialogue. She describes these feelings as a “shame storm” and prescribes three methods to get out of it:  

  1. Talk to yourself like you would talk to someone you love. 
  2. Reach out to someone you trust. 
  3. Tell your story. 

Brown says, “Shame cannot survive being spoken.” Shame leaving the body feels like a weight being lifted from your shoulders, and the only way this happens is by sharing it with someone! Doing this when you feel a “shame storm” brewing will help you rewire your brain to release feelings instead of allowing them to build up. 

Daily Affirmations 

Another great way to rewire your brain for positivity is through daily affirmations. These short phrases packed with positivity, meaning, and confidence are ideally repeated out loud to lift your spirits and change your mindset. Saying this aloud is a wonderful way to stop self-deprecating thoughts and feelings in their tracks. If you feel shame coming on, try out one of the affirmations. 

Leave yourself sticky notes of your favorite affirmation(s) in places where you might need them the most (e.g., your bathroom mirror, the steering wheel of your car, on your calendar):  

  • I am capable. 
  • I am enough. I have enough. I can do enough. 
  • I am valuable. 
  • I am worthy of love. 
  • I am worthy of other’s time.  
  • I am powerful.  

External Changes 

The second type of change you have control over is external. These are the forces all around you that vie for your attention and try to influence your thinking. Obviously, you can’t control everything … but there are some things that you do have power over.  

Be Around Supportive People 

The people you surround yourself with are going to be some of the most influential forces in your day-to-day life. To improve your confidence, seek to fill your inner circles with those who support, love, and lift you up. This is often easier said than done, especially if some of your closest friends aren’t the best representations of your values. Be honest with others and voice your needs. Don’t be afraid to distance yourself from a group if their association is more doing more harm than good.   

Get to Work 

The biggest confidence builder is to just dive in and get to work. First, work toward whatever goals you want to meet but might be holding back. Want to be more fit? Then, go for a walk, a slow jog, or a run (which will also help your emotional wellness). Looking to make new friends? Introduce yourself to a coworker whom you’ve never met. Take one step toward your goal and feel good about that small accomplishment. Then … keep going. 

Get Help 

At the end of the day, sometimes our problems seem utterly insurmountable, and we need help working through them in a safe place. If this is you, know that you’re worth helping. Finding a licensed therapist might benefit you in ways that you didn’t think it could. Next, take your time to “shop around” for a person you connect with, but remember that this relationship will take time to grow.  

Need help finding a therapist? Try Good Therapy to find someone nearby or available for telehealth visits.  

Be Confident

In short, when you are in the middle of difficult times, feeling capable of improving your self-esteem may seem too hard. The good news is that with the right tools, you can accomplish anything! It takes work, just like all the best things in life, but it doesn’t have to be as daunting as it feels. Find a supportive community, believe in yourself, and let your confidence soar.   

Need a confidence boost in your job? Read our blog to learn about “stay interviews” and how they can help you with your work.