The Self-Critical Voice
Insecurity and low self-esteem are unfortunately something which we will all encounter in life. It’s the belief that you’re inadequate and unworthy. It’s the self-critical voice inside your head which makes you doubt yourself and your capabilities. A voice which tells you that you’re not good enough or smart enough and that you don’t have what it takes to succeed. This self-critical voice makes you feel negative towards yourself therefore limiting your true potential.
Insecurity can affect many areas of your life. Such as your relationships, your health and your career. It will hide you away from social situations and stop you from trying new things. Fortunately, this critical voice is completely under your control. You see, self-esteem is an attitude which you have developed. It’s the way you view yourself and the world around you. There are various causes for low self-esteem such a losing your job, an illness, a difficult relationship, being bullied and other stressful situations. While some people are more prone to negative thinking or set incredibly high standards for themselves.
I have written below ten methods to help improve your self-esteem. These methods will lift your confidence and make you feel as good as you deserve to feel!
Taking care of yourself will give you a huge boost in your self-esteem. Exercising regularly will enhance your well-being, by realising endorphins and relieving stress. You’ll have more energy and enjoy the sense of achievement as you complete each workout. Not only will you feel stronger and healthier you’ll also reduce any feelings of anxiety and depression. If that wasn’t enough, exercise will also improve your overall body image, leaving you feeling confident.
It comes quite naturally for most of us to focus on the negative side of situations and remember past disappointments and failures. To reverse these thoughts and nourish your mind you must express gratitude. Expressing gratitude will shift your focus onto your positive life experiences, it will help you appreciate the people in your life and the support which they’ve provided. Your self-esteem will be lifted as you recognise your own achievements and become less concerned over the things which you don’t have or haven’t yet done. Start by asking yourself each day what you’re grateful for. You can keep these thoughts to yourself or you can express them in a journal. Do whatever works best for you!
Sometimes it’s just easier to say “yes” to people. At least you’re coming across as helpful and kind, right? Possibly, but most of the time you’ll be left feeling stressed and frustrated as you haven’t prioritised yourself. By putting your own priorities first you’ll gain more control over your life and you won’t be overwhelmed dealing with other people’s tasks. If you’re worried that you might alienate yourself from others, then know that you can be helpful but on your own terms. Let’s take work for example, instead of saying “yes” you can give a more realistic time frame such as “I’m happy to help, but this morning I’m finishing the expenses, I should be able to make time this afternoon”. Saying no and making things work for you will boost your self-esteem, help you gain confidence and teach you how to be assertive.
Avoid Negative Influences
Let’s say that you’ve started exercising more, you’re expressing gratitude AND you’re being assertive by saying no. Perfect, but you don’t want your self-esteem to be put down by any negative influences in your life. These influences could be an unsupportive person, who dismisses your ideas and goals or only inputs negativity. Try to limit your time spent with anyone who drags you down. Negative influences could also come through the media. What do you usual watch, read and listen to? Are they programmes which boost your confidence or do they make you feel inadequate and unworthy? Instead, spend more time reading positive blogs or books which are aimed to improve your self-esteem and make you feel good about yourself!
Cut Down on Social Media
We’ve talked about how the media could be a negative influence in your life and this very much includes social media. You see, we live in a generation where we have an insight into other people’s lives. This insight makes it even easier for us to compare, judge and evaluate ourselves. We see picture perfect selfies and we forget that they probably took fifty photos before they got the right one. Instead we compare our own image and decide that we in comparison are too short, too tall, too fat, or too skinny. Try to remember that what people share about their lives on social media isn’t always the full picture.
Fake it ’til You Make it
Faking confidence will help you to improve your self-esteem. Use confident and positive words and try not to put yourself down. Speak in a self-assured voice, speak clearly and slow down your words. Focus on your body language, do you have eye contact, how’s your posture? Acting out each technique will teach you how to be confident. The behaviour will soon stick and your confidence will come naturally.
Setting yourself a challenge is an extremely effective way to improve your self-esteem. You’ll feel a sense of purpose and direction in your life, as you set out to achieve your goal. Whether it be a short or long term objective, challenging yourself will give your mind something positive to focus on. As you start to make progress your confidence will grow and grow, you’ll realise that you’re capable of achieving whatever you desire. Challenging yourself also means stepping out of your comfort zone. As cosy as your comfort zone may be, a new challenge every so often will give your self-esteem room to grow.
Take Responsibility for Your Own Life
Taking responsibility for your own life means being in control. When you blame other people for your circumstances you’re disempowering yourself and lowering your self-esteem. However, if you accept that you’re accountable for your words, actions and thoughts you can learn from you’re mistakes. Making the necessary improvements where you feel fit. This will allow you to feel in control of your life therefore improving your overall self-esteem.
Kindness to others will help you feel good about yourself. A simple word or act of kindness can make an immense impact on a person’s day. This impact will have a tremendous effect on your confidence and self-worth as you see the difference your actions can make. Earlier we touched upon saying no, it’s worthwhile to know that being kind does not mean being a people pleaser. People pleasing means putting someone else’s needs before your own. Kindness on the other hand brings your attention to the positive things in life. It means treating others how you wish to be treated.
Focus on Your Positives
Following on from kindness, how kind are you to yourself? Do you accept compliments? Do you praise yourself after a job well done? Or do you focus on your negatives and failures? It’s hard to be happy if you’re always putting yourself down. So if you find that you’re too hard on yourself try to focus your attention on your positives. You can do this by celebrating your accomplishments and believing in yourself. Always remember how far you’ve come, not how far you have to go.