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What is self-esteem? 

Self-esteem is how we value ourselves; it is how we perceive our value to the world and how valuable we think we are to others. Self-esteem affects our trust in others, our relationships, our work and almost every part of our lives. Positive self-esteem gives us the strength and flexibility to take charge of our lives and grow from our mistakes without the fear of rejection. 

Signs of positive self-esteem: 

  • Confidence 

  • Self-direction 

  • Non-blaming behavior 

  • An awareness of personal strengths 

  • An ability to make mistakes and learn from them 

  • An ability to accept mistakes from others 

  • Optimism 

  • An ability to solve problems 

  • An independent and cooperative attitude 

  • Feeling comfortable with a wide range of emotions 

  • An ability to trust others 

  • A good sense of personal limitations 

  • Good self-care 

  • The ability to say no 


What is low self-esteem? Low self-esteem is a debilitating condition that prevents people from realizing their full potential. A person with low self-esteem may feel unworthy, incapable, and incompetent. Often, because the person with low self-esteem feels so bad about themselves, these feelings may perpetuate the person’s continued low self-esteem. 

Signs of low self-esteem: 

  • Negative view of life 

  • Perfectionist attitude 

  • Mistrusting others – even those who show signs of affection 

  • Blaming behavior 

  • Fear of taking risks 

  • Feelings of being unloved and unlovable 

  • Dependence – letting others make decisions 

  • Fear of being ridiculed 


How can you raise low self-esteem? 

Feelings of low self-esteem often build up over a lifetime, and letting go of ingrained feelings and behaviors is not easy, however there are things you can do to help create a healthy self esteem: 

1. Start Small

Start with something you can do immediately and easily. Starting with and achieving small successes, allows you to gain more confidence in your abilities. Each completed task, even if it is small, will help you feel more confident. What are some small things you can do immediately to show that you are capable of achieving goals you’ve set for yourself? For example, clean your desk, organize your papers, or pay all your bills.

2. Visualisation

Use the power of your imagination. Create an image of yourself as the confident and self-assured person you aspire to become. When you are this person, how will you feel? How will others perceive you? What does your body language look like? How will you talk? See these clearly in your mind’s eye, with your eyes closed. Feel the feelings, experience being and seeing things from that person’s perspective. Practice doing this for 10 minutes every morning. Put on music in the background that either relaxes you, or excites you. When you are done, write a description of this person and all the attributes you’ve observed.

3. Socialize

Get out of the house or setup a lunch date with a friend. Socializing with others will give you opportunities to connect with other people, and practice your communication and interpersonal skills.

4. Do Something That Challenges You

As with all skills, you get better with practice and repetition. The more often you are proactive about doing things that scare you, the less scary these situations will seem, and eventually you will be rid of that fear.

5. Do Something You Are Good At

What are you especially good at or enjoy doing? Regularly doing things that you are good at reinforces your belief in your abilities and strengths. 

6. Set Goals 

Set goals that are clear, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time oriented. This gives you have a clear target of where you want to be. When you take action towards that goal, you’ll build more confidence and self-esteem in your abilities to follow through.It will also help you to feel like you are moving forward.

7. Help Others Feel Good About Themselves

Help somebody or teach them something. When you help other people feel better about themselves and like themselves more, it will make you feel good about yourself. See what you can do to make others feel good or trigger them to smile. Try giving them a genuine compliment, helping them with something or telling them what you admire about them.

8. Get Clarity on Life Areas

Get clarity on the life area that needs the most attention. Your self-esteem is the average of how you view yourself in all the major areas of your life. Write down all the major areas of your life, e.g., health, relationships, finance, etc. Then rate yourself on a scale of 1-10 in each area. Work on the lowest numbered category first, unless they are all even. Each area affects the other areas. The more you build up each area of your life, the higher your overall self-esteem.

9. Create a Plan

Having a goal needs to be followed up with action. Get clarity on your action items. One of the reasons people can struggle with motivation, is because they don’t have a plan to achieve their goals. They don’t know what the next step is and lose focus and direction. Write down small steps to achieving your bigger goals so your goals seem manageable and you don’t become overwhelmed. 

10. Get Motivated

Read something inspirational, listen to something empowering, talk to someone who can uplift your spirits, who can motivate you to become more of the person you want to be, to live more consciously, and to take proactive steps towards creating a better life for yourself and your family.

11. Stop Comparisons

Stop comparing yourself to other people. Low-self esteem stems from the feeling of being inferior. For example, if you were the only person in the world, do you think you could have low-self esteem? Self-esteem only comes into the picture when there are other people around us and we perceive that we are inferior to them. Try not to focus on what other people are doing. Accept that it’ll help you more to just go down your own path at your own pace rather than to compare yourself. Make today a chance to start afresh and begin immediately with the smallest step forward.


13. Look After your Body


Addictions to drugs or alcohol can affect your mood or how you feel about yourself. Seek help and support for these if they are an issues. Maintain a balanced diet and get regular exercise as looking after your body will also help you to feel better about yourself.

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