3 Easy Ways to Improve Self-Image and Boost Self-Esteem

Woman smiling outdoors with arms crossedEveryday tasks can deteriorate our self-esteem and self-image. The media are constantly telling women how to look—get smoother skin, lose weight, look younger. Men are bombarded with messages about how to be stronger, act tougher, be a man. These messages can wear on us and give us mixed messages about who we are as people and about our gender and sexuality.

Building your self-esteem can be a way to combat these messages while improving your schema of yourself and how you view others. Here are three easy ways to help you build your self-image and self-esteem:

  1. Pick a quality you like about yourself and express it at least once a day. Maybe you believe yourself to be thoughtful, caring, giving, considerate, generous, honest, loyal, or hard-working; anything positive that you believe to be true about you will do. Express that quality with others. Offer to pick up a cup of coffee for a coworker if you are going to pick up one for yourself, turn in a report on time at work, or reach out to a friend or relative you have been meaning to contact. Any small task that reinforces positive beliefs about yourself only helps confirm that belief and also improves your thoughts about who you are as a person.
  2. Pick an aspect of your body image to put in the spotlight. You may like that you have kind eyes, broad shoulders, nice feet or legs, or a nice smile. Choose to emphasize the aspect of yourself that you like most. Maybe you decide to wear a skirt to work, or a blazer to emphasize your shoulders. Try smiling more often to highlight your asset. Whatever it is that you personally like about your appearance, choose to bring it out and show it to others. Note how you feel when you do this. It would be hard not to feel good about yourself. And when you feel good, you do good—for yourself and for others.
  3. Only positive self-talk will do for today … and every day. Make it a ritual to use only positive words when thinking or speaking of yourself. Some experts say it takes five positives to outweigh any one negative. So, start each morning by reciting in the mirror five positive things about yourself, or five positive things you will do today, and then make it happen. It may seem strange at first, but try it and see the benefit of positively reinforcing your thoughts and beliefs about yourself. Soon, you won’t even notice any negativity in the background. And if you do, you will be able to more easily let it roll off your shoulders and move on because it will not coincide with your personal beliefs. If it’s not true, it won’t stick.

These are easily implemented steps that you can do to personally take charge of your self-esteem and self-image. It takes only small steps each day to help you improve your self-esteem. Once these steps become a regular part of your routine, they become more or less automatic, and less thought and effort is put into building and maintaining your self-esteem.

Why not start today?

© Copyright 2014 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Carolyn Russo, MS, LMHC, therapist in Seattle, Washington

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Amanda

    Amanda

    July 14th, 2014 at 11:21 AM

    I don’t know what it is that makes it feel impossible to focus on the good thingsa bout myself! I always have friends telling me how sweet, how this or that I am, but it is hard for me to accept that.
    I like the idea of trying to talk myself into believeing it by repeating these things and only the positive things throughout the day, but the really snarky things always come creeping in too and they make me feel terrible all over agin.
    I am not looking for compliments from other people but there are times that what others say means a whole lot more than the things that I try to tell myself.

  • Chloe

    Chloe

    July 14th, 2014 at 4:12 PM

    This is what living, real living is all about. It doesn’t matter what size you are- you are beautiful despite all of that, and today is a great way to start reminding yourself of that constantly.

  • Carson

    Carson

    July 15th, 2014 at 11:24 AM

    I have grown bored with pleasing other poeple for too long and have decided that now is the time to work more on pleasing myself. I know that a large part of that comes with accepting the flaws that I have always seen and I know that I will be happier overall after doing that for me.

  • Joely

    Joely

    July 15th, 2014 at 1:28 PM

    Just remember, my friends, that no matter how much positive energy you put into yourself, if you allow yourself to be surrounded by too much negative, it doesn’t take all that much to tear you down :(

  • tim

    tim

    July 17th, 2014 at 6:16 AM

    and if you have a hard time, then ask friends what the one thing they like about you is and then you have something to go with
    i know that i would have a hard time knowing where to start but maybe someone else could help you out with that extra motivation that you need

  • Terrell

    Terrell

    July 18th, 2014 at 12:05 PM

    It is crucial that you stop trying to live up this idealized version of yourself and live up to what you actually are. That means you have to stop being critical, stop letting others be critical, and find the special things in you that are there and play those up. Talk about them, recognize them, and emphasize them, if not for others then for yourself. If you do that then pretty soon you will see that you are the only one you need to make happy, and when you do that more good things are bound to come your way.

  • Lynn Louise W.

    Lynn Louise W.

    July 19th, 2014 at 8:14 AM

    The way out of the stuck place of low self value is indeed to start with one small thing you want to BE and BE that… ACT AS IF until it is completely natural… Be willing to grow softer in the things you think and tell yourself…. Be willing to release…let go of the self-defeating habits of negative thinking. Awareness is the first step. I see this working with my clients and in my own life consistently.

  • Ayla

    Ayla

    July 30th, 2014 at 11:40 AM

    Our minds are complex things, they can hold on to some comments that were made about us years and years ago and still hold them true.

    Another good idea is to write down all the qualities you admire about in others (and you can also write down concrete examples of how this is manifested in real life; so if you write that someone is helpful, you also add examples of him/her being helpful), and once you’re done with this, go through the list and find examples of when you acted in such a way, thus proving to yourself that you already possess the qualities you admire in others. You can also make a copies of this list and put them somewhere you can see them.

    What also helped me was reading some self-help books and I also use affirmation cards. The ones I use are called Heal and Prosper – amazon.com/gp/product/9619355857. They help me train my brain to get used to hearing positive things about me so that my body no longer fights them (I would usually find a counter comment when someone complimented me), but accepts them as true.

  • plan cul poitiers

    plan cul poitiers

    September 22nd, 2014 at 2:41 AM

    Helpful info. Fortunate me I found your website unintentionally,
    and I am surprised why this twist of fate did not came about in advance!
    I bookmarked it.

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