Health & wellbeing

How we can improve our self-esteem

14 Sep 2023 | Written by Susanna Lewis

The Joy Club member and host of our monthly ‘Writing for wellbeing‘ workshops shares some tips on how you can give your self-esteem a boost…

“Self-esteem” is a popular term that we see all over the internet and is the theme for many self-help books. Many of us may feel we have low self-esteem at any point in our life, which is usually triggered by a negative event such as rejection, feeling of failure or disappointment.

Having a healthy self-esteem is to have an appreciative, positive opinion of oneself, to accept who we are, our physical and emotional traits and everything else that makes us who we are.

Issues with self-esteem arise when we start being critical of ourselves and finding negative aspects of our life that then destroy our healthy outlook. It is much easier to be critical of oneself than to think positive thoughts and yet low self-esteem can have a massive impact on our life.

So, what can we do to help improve our self-esteem? Here are my top five tips.

  1. Look at your thought pattern.Be mindful of what negative words you are using that may be contributing to your low opinion of yourself. Do you constantly put yourself down to yourself and in front of others? Do you use derogatory words or phrases such as ‘I’m not good enough’ or ‘I look awful today’ or ‘I’m no good at anything’?Try to recognise when your negative thoughts wander in and then make an attempt to stop the negativity and replace it with positive thoughts. Question these negative thoughts – after all, they are only thoughts and often not reality.It’s important not to believe everything you think.
  2. Be proactive in changing the story and your thoughts.If you are constantly putting yourself down then it can be hard work trying to stop this bad habit. But it is achievable. Try using positive affirmations such as ‘I am worthy,’ ‘I can do that,’ ‘I am a person worthy of love,’ ‘I am beautiful, inside and out,’ ‘I am loved,’ ‘I can achieve anything,’ ‘I am successful in my life.’If we repeat positive affirmations enough times our mind becomes programmed to believe them. This boosts our self-esteem and we start feeling good about ourselves, pushing the negative thoughts away.
  3. Stop comparing yourself to others.People might appear to have a perfect life but the reality may be different. It is easy to look at others and think ‘She is far prettier than me’ or ‘He is more successful than I am’ or ‘She is so much more confident than me.’Don’t assume that what you see on the outside of a person is the truth. People often hide fears and insecurities from the public world. Comparing yourself to others can lead to feelings of anxiety and doubt and can lower your self-esteem.
  4. Try acting as though you have a healthy self-esteem.Be confident, smile and be assured in everything you do. You may not feel it inwardly but if we ‘act’ the part of a confident person then we fool our brain into thinking we are. This may sound a little crazy but try it! I use this method often when I am feeling unsure or lacking in confidence and it really does work.
  5. Have friends that are good for your self-esteem and make you feel positive about yourself.Don’t waste time and energy on people that put you down or can’t find anything good to say. Spending time with people who accept us for who we are and who say positive things about us helps improve our self-esteem.We feel valued and loved and appreciated when surrounded by people who uplift us. Be selective about your friends and recognise if someone is constantly putting you down; you deserve better!

Low self-esteem can have such a negative effect on our mental, emotional and physical health, so it really is worth addressing it. By making small but positive steps you really can improve your self-esteem, which will have a direct impact on your life for the better.

If you haven’t already, please do book onto Susanna’s next Writing for wellbeing workshop, so you can begin to heal and process your emotions through the written word…

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