Everyone needs a boost occasionally, whether you’re naturally confident or not. These tricks can help put you on track to having better self esteem or to help you top it up.
It is quite common for people who suffer from low self-esteem to compare themselves to others and to consider other people superior to themselves, but take a moment to look at yourself in the way you look at them. It might sound odd, but stand with your back to a mirror while holding another mirror in front of you, then look at your reflection from behind. From this detached point of view you can see yourself as you would see a stranger, helping you to realize you’re not as overweight/unattractive/badly dressed as you think you are.
This is your life
When your self-esteem is suffering, take a look at your past achievements and experiences. Look through albums of baby pictures, your school yearbook and the certificates of education you have attained. Look at photographs of the fun holidays you have been on, your graduation day photos or even the drawings you made when you were a toddler. All of these mementos are a reminder of your life and how full and varied it is. This exercise might help you realize you’re actually pretty darn brilliant, clever, successful and happy after all.
Point out five positives
If you have low self-esteem, focusing on your negative features and attributes becomes second nature. Low self esteem can originate from a dull routine, in which nothing particularly interesting happens. When this is the norm, it may feel strange to switch your habits around, but try writing down or shouting out five great things about yourself each day. It may seem silly or embarrassing but it should help you realize you have a lot more going for you than you first thought.
Have a social media detox
Scouring the pages of peers’ social media profiles can be destructive behavior. It’s human nature to compare and aspire, however constantly being exposed to images and status updates portraying a ‘perfect life’ can bring you down and lower your self-esteem, as you feel that yours doesn’t match up. Like an advertisement, people tend to only display the best bits of their life, but who is to say they’re not looking at your profile and feeling the same jealousy or admiration? Do your self-esteem a favour and ditch Facebook for a week or two. If that’s a struggle, spend time checking out your own profile instead. A study led by Jeff Hancock of Cornell University showed that those who looked at their own Facebook profiles felt self-affirmed and more confident.
Read your diary
You might be having a bad day or feeling a little low, but a great way to have a giggle while boosting your self-esteem is to take a peek through an old diary. Perhaps you kept one as a teen or when you first started school, but however old you were there’s bound to be lots of cringe-worthy content. You can read and smile knowing how far you have come since embarrassing school, dating or university moments.
Talk to yourself
When you have low self-esteem you may notice that your positive energy goes into other people and not yourself. The charity Mind advises to ‘get into the habit of thinking and saying positive things about yourself to yourself’. Before leaving the house for work or a night out, stand in front of the mirror and pretend the reflection isn’t you – it’s a friend. Compliment them on their hair, their outfit or their complexion like you would to someone else.
Ditch the chick flick
Ladies, listen up. It turns out snuggling down with your favourite chick flick novel could be lowering your levels of self-esteem. Heroines in these novels are often hard on themselves when it comes to their body image and seem to lack self-confidence (think Bridget Jones), which, according to research by Virginia Tech, makes ‘women uncomfortable about their own body image’.
Perfection is personal
The sooner you learn that nothing and no one is perfect, and that perfection is actually subjective, the sooner you will notice a boost to your self-esteem. There is no such thing as the perfect outfit or the perfect haircut – even the perfect personality. So if you want to rock a leopard print shirt and purple velvet pants then go for it – if that’s perfection to you or to those that love you then who is to argue with that?
Put yourself first
Putting yourself before others once in awhile isn’t being selfish in the bad sense of the word; it’s liberating and self-esteem boosting. Doing this reminds you that you’re just as important as everybody else and that it’s vital to look after Number One. We’re not saying to let doors close in others’ faces, but choosing a bath and a take-out instead of cooking for your spouse, or choosing your favourite feel-good gym class over drinks with colleagues doesn’t make you egocentric. It’s liberating to know what’s good for you and that you have the confidence to sometimes put yourself first.
Do something out of character
The same routine day in and day out can eventually leave you feeling a little flat and in need of a boost. When there’s little excitement or change in our lives our self-esteem can suffer as we feel as though we do not lead exciting lives or do interesting things. Dismiss this perception by doing something totally random; whether it’s going for a run on the beach and watching the sunrise or signing up for a marathon. Just surprise yourself (and your friends) by doing something out of character.