Three Simple Ways to Build Self-Esteem

Volunteer collecting food donationsEveryday pressures and responsibilities can keep us distracted from taking care of ourselves. With our fast-paced lifestyles, it is hard to remember that we are pretty amazing at all the things we do day in and day out. Throughout each day we are exposed to thousands of messages from ourselves, others and the media. This can subconsciously take a toll on our psyche and self-image. But there are three simple things that we can do to combat those messages and build our self-esteem.

Focus on small accomplishments and goals
We tend to think too big when it comes to goal setting. Of course, there are bigger goals to tackle, but usually it is a set of smaller steps that get us to the bigger goal. So, focus on the small steps. What are one or two things that you did well today? Maybe your presentation went well at work. Maybe you got the kids off to school without a hitch and you got to your long to-do list. Maybe you just took a personal day for well-being.

Those small things are accomplishments and should be rewarded. By focusing on the small triumphs we can feel a sense of accomplishment several times a day. When we feel accomplished we feel good about ourselves and this builds our self-esteem.

Allow yourself some grace
At times we can be our own worst enemies. There may be several negative thoughts running through our head at any given time. Maybe you forgot an important item at home, said the wrong thing, or missed the exit on the freeway. These things can set us off on negative self-talk.

This is a good sign that it is time for self-care. Next time, try to remember what you would say to your best friend if they were to tell you they did the very same thing. Usually, it is something much more forgiving and kind than what your inner voice is telling you. This is allowing for grace.

We give grace to our friends, family and even strangers much more easily than we give it to ourselves. Why is it that the standard we hold ourselves to is so much higher than the standard we hold others to? The bar should be set the same. So, allow yourself some grace. We are all human and make mistakes. People with high self-esteem are able to forgive and move on.

Give to others
This is a big one. When we give to others, we feel a sense of community. Giving connects us to others. And since we are social beings, we get a feeling of satisfaction that we are able to help another. Any gift of giving is worth recognizing. There is no gift too small. Whether it is holding the door open for a stranger or buying coffee for a friend, this is giving to others. Most of us do very giving things every day without thinking much of it. The biggest thing we are giving of is our time. Time is a precious commodity. Whether you are spending time with friends and family or doing community service, the gift of spending time with others is always meaningful.

Doing things that are meaningful and that connect us with others contributes to our sense of community. When we feel connected we feel good about ourselves and our outlook is more positive. So, give your loose change to the person on the street corner; you will put a smile on someone’s face and maybe even your own.

Self-esteem is not something that is easy to maintain. But, if we recognize all the things we do, big and small, then we can build upon our sense of self. Juggling life’s schedule is not an easy task. Just remember to include taking care of yourself on that list. When you take care of yourself, you are building your esteem.

© Copyright 2013 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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  • Angela Shelton

    Angela Shelton

    May 30th, 2013 at 10:15 AM

    Yeah! Also change the language you’re saying to yourself in your head. Catch those negative “worthless” thoughts and replace them with powerful ones.

    So when those “I’m stupid, fat, unworthy, unwanted, ugly” thoughts come up switch them to ones totally the opposite like “i’m a divine spark of Spirit, I’m a queen, king, goddess”. If you can’t think of one, use a giggle word like squish. It’s very hard to say SQUISH and not grin. Try it.

    And of course dancing always lifts the self. Dance down the grocery store aisle.

  • laura

    laura

    May 30th, 2013 at 12:34 PM

    Just giving yourself a little room to fail every now and then is okay- don’t beat yourself up about it! I know that’s hard because I can be my own toughest critic, I think that most of us are. But you have to give yourself a little bit of room to not feel like you have to be perfect all of the time. If you allow yoruself to relax a bit and take it all in stride then you are not constantly having that message stream through your brain all the time. get more of the message that there will always be aother chance to try again and get it right the next time. Take those times to learn and grown instead of knowcking yourself down.

  • Rf

    Rf

    May 30th, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    the thing about setting the bar too high is so true.i do this to myself all the time and even though i try to i cannot change it.not a pessimist but something just does not let me change this behavior.makes me shiver at time thinking how i could become a black hole that swallows itself.

  • Katheryn

    Katheryn

    May 31st, 2013 at 4:01 AM

    Another very important key to this puzzle is to remember to surround yourself with those people who support you. Why would you want to be aorund people who are constantly knowcking you down? Wouldn’t it be nice to keep people around you who love and respect you? I know that a huge part of this is building that self esteem up to begin with, but once that is done, find and keep more people with you who are far more concerned with propping you up then they are with knocking you down.

  • janet sc

    janet sc

    June 3rd, 2013 at 3:56 AM

    start small! small steps feel so much more manageable than huge chunks

  • Carolyn

    Carolyn

    June 3rd, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    Thank you so much for all the replies to my article. I hope you found it helpful and I appreciate your feedback and contribution. These are a few small things to keep in mind to help build self esteem.

  • kimberly

    kimberly

    November 24th, 2013 at 12:00 PM

    Thank you so much. i enjoy and have learnt something here.Yes i have to dissociate a friend who constantly find faults on people around her, this including me. I thought i do her good by being generous and forgiving; but then it had ‘knocking down’ impact on me. so even sometime i am lonely for missing friendship, but i tell myself loneliness is far better than being knock down all the time i faced her.

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