In this section you can learn how to build self esteem using these free help with confidence and self esteem building activities and tips
We are not given a self help manual when we are children to teach us how to build our self image and raise our self esteem.
Most of us can only see ourselves through the eyes of the people around us, and if we don't know how to do it for ourselves, we can be kept in a state of low self esteem and not living life to the fullest.
Don't rely on other people to make you feel good about yourself, learn how to do it yourself, for greater confidence and happiness.
Self esteem is the image we have of ourselves, and is related to how much we value ourselves as a person.
Our self esteem encompasses how we see ourselves in terms of our accomplishments, relationships, careers, social standing and in fact every area of our life.
Individuals who place a lot of value on themselves, and have a high regard for themselves in all areas of their lives are seen as having a high self esteem.
In contrast, individuals who feel that they have nothing to offer and very little value are seen as having low self esteem.
Having a high level of self esteem doesn’t mean being arrogant or boasting about your accomplishments.
It’s about feeling confident in your abilities and knowing that you deserve to succeed in life.
People with a high self esteem generally manage to pursue their chosen careers, have healthy and fulfilling relationships and are happy and content.
If they do not quite have what they want in life, they know they have what it takes to get it.
People with high self esteem respect themselves and in turn demand automatic respect from others.
They feel entitled to assert what they need or want out of any situation and are confident in their ability to cope with whatever challenge life throws at them.
In contrast, people with low self esteem feel that they are worthless and don’t deserve the things they want out of life, and doubt their ability to get it.
They risk staying in the job they hate or in an unfulfilling relationship, which damages their self esteem still further until it becomes a downward spiral.
Self esteem can affect all aspects of our life, and if it is low it can prevent us from achieving our life goals.
Our self esteem starts developing as soon as we develop consciousness, and how we were treated as a child can have a huge bearing on our self esteem as an adult.
If your parents constantly criticized you or told you that you were useless, or if you were bullied at school, you are likely to grow up with a low level of self esteem.
However, if your parents were supportive and treated you with encouragement and praise, and you were popular in the playground, you are likely to enter adult hood with a high level of self esteem.
It is possible for children with low self esteem to go on to develop high self esteem as adults.
Unfortunately, it is also possible for children with high self esteem to develop low self esteem when they reach adult hood.
There are many factors which can damage self esteem, from being bullied at school, college or even work, relationship or marriage break ups or losing a job.
Quite often people can suffer several factors over a period of time, which can erode their self esteem little by little.
Chances are if you are reading this report then you already suspect you have low self esteem.
If you often feel that you are worthless, stupid and incapable of doing anything right, then you are certainly likely to have low self esteem.
If you feel that you don’t deserve to live the life you want, feel you are too fat or whatever or constantly put yourself down when talking to others, then it is very likely you have low self esteem.
However, you were not born with the level of self esteem you have now, and it is not fixed- self esteem can be raised with conscious effort.
It is perfectly possible for an individual with very low self esteem to develop high levels of self esteem- if they know how.
Having a low self esteem can affect us in many ways.
On a basic level, it can stop us from fulfilling our potential and achieving the things we want out of life.
But a low self esteem can also affect other areas of our life.
For instance, it can affect our relationships with others.
We might question how anyone else could love us, as we feel that we are unlovable and worthless.
This could lead to us subconsciously trying to push the other person away as we feel that they will only desert us anyway.
If you hold yourself in little regard and don’t treat yourself well, you are inviting others to treat you badly too.
We can only expect others to respect us if we first respect ourselves.
If you have low self esteem, you are more likely to turn to addictions such as drugs, alcohol or gambling as a crutch and to attempt to feel better.
You may be more prone to depression when things go wrong, and may even become very angry at a world you feel is out to get you.
You will feel very resentful of other peoples’ successes.
You may be more susceptible to being taken advantage of by others such as scam artists or false mystics promising you an easy road to achievement and happiness.
Your job may suffer as your performance can be impaired.
You will doubt your ability to undertake aspects of your work and may avoid turning to your boss for advice as you feel he or she will question your actions.
You may avoid doing certain tasks because you dread making mistakes.
People who live their entire lives with low self esteem risk never feeling truly happy, or never getting the things they really desire from life.
They instead live lives of quiet desperation.
If this describes your life so far, you owe it to yourself to learn how to boost your self esteem and live the life you desire - now!
Remember, your self esteem is only your own view of yourself- not anybody else’s.
You may feel that you are worthless and not able to achieve anything, but others will not necessarily see this.
Here are some tested techniques for developing a healthier level of self esteem;
Don’t compare yourself to other people.
It is OK to admire an individual and want to achieve what they have achieved, but if you feel that they are much more attractive than you or you can never hope to achieve what they have done, then this will lower your self esteem even further.
Chances are that the individual admires certain things about you and your achievements.
If you are unhappy about your appearance, change what you can and accept what you can’t change.
For instance, if you are overweight and this is making you feel bad about yourself, losing some weight might make you feel a lot more confident, and also improve your overall health.
If you don’t like your height or face, accept that these cannot be changed and are an important part of you.
Learn to accept and love yourself just as you are.
Don’t be tempted to put your life on hold.
It may be tempting to think ‘I’ll start swimming when I lose 30lbs’ but you are robbing yourself of something you may enjoy.
Just go swimming without focusing on your weight - the exercise will help you to lose weight and there will be people of all shapes and sizes at the pool.
Chances are nobody will give you a second glance.
Take it one day at a time
Make a commitment that you will do something every day to improve your self esteem, no matter how small.
This could be anything from reading a chapter in a good personal development book, looking for details of a new class, or starting a conversation with a stranger.
If your appearance is a cause of your low self esteem, go for a walk or a gym class or have your hair restyled.
The aim is to build your self esteem a little more each day- this is not so daunting as trying to do it all at once and will stop you from feeling overwhelmed.
Make sure you push yourself just a little more each day and your self esteem will naturally grow with each small step achieved.
Be nice to yourself.
Take the time to plan things that you enjoy doing, whether it’s going for a walk in the countryside, reading, seeing a movie or taking up a hobby you always wanted to try. Make life fun!
Celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small.
Even a small task such as making a difficult phone call or getting positive feedback from an assignment is worthy of celebration.
Plan a reward for larger accomplishments, such as a meal out or a new outfit.
Keep a success diary - every time you accomplish something, write it down.
Every time you are feeling low or worthless, read your success diary and remind yourself of what you have achieved already.
It is often easy to overlook successes and focus on perceived failures.
Reward your successes, even if it’s something small such as half an hour with a good book or a long hot soak in the bath.
You could also try making a success file
lace any positive documentation in your file, such as awards, certificates, photographs, letters etc.
Place mementos of your achievements where you can see them often as they are something you should feel proud of; frame certificates and hang them on the wall and place trophies on full display.
Write a list of all your skills and the things you do well.
You may not think you have many at the moment but you are wrong- there will be a lot of things which you do well or at least better than a lot of people.
Take the time to think about this; are you great at writing effective letters? Do people queue up to taste your home baking?
Are you the person people always turn to for relationship advice or when they need a shoulder to cry on?
Write it all down and celebrate those skills!
Try something new
Book a class in a subject that has always interested you, or start a hobby you fancy trying.
As you learn, you will gain confidence in your abilities and feel good. You might also find a whole new social life too!
Learn how to deal with criticism.
Many people with low self esteem find this very difficult to deal with and can internalize it, dwell on it and let it erode their self esteem still further.
If you receive criticism, first ask yourself whether it is justified and whether the person criticizing is qualified to give it - a lot of people give criticism as a way to feel better about themselves by putting others down.
It may be that the criticism was justified and reasonable, and was a guide to how you could do a task better next time rather than a personal attack.
If this is so, take on board what has been said and learn from it.
If you are feeling upset it may be worth discussing the issue with the other person and telling them how you feel.
If you feel that the criticism was unjustified, don’t get into the trap or either internalizing it or trying to defend yourself.
Just say something neutral such as ‘Well, I guess that’s your opinion’ and refuse to dwell on it.
Being passionate about something gives you an inner fire and powers you to get things done.
Find something to get passionate about- your career, a hobby or even raising your self esteem!
Do something nice for someone else.
Help out a friend who is struggling with an unpleasant task, let a fellow driver out at an intersection or just give someone who is looking sad a big smile.
Being nice to others helps us to feel good about ourselves.
If you make a mistake, again don’t dwell on it.
Accept it, put it right and move on. You are not your mistakes, and they are not a part of you.
As humans, we learn by constantly making mistakes- they are a natural and unavoidable part of our lives.
Learn from them, let them go and move forwards.
Fake it till you make it.
I recall a story I read once about a sailor who was promoted to the rank of Admiral.
He didn’t feel at all confident in his ability to do his new job and feared he would make a mess of it and be found out as an imposter.
Finally, his wife said to him ‘Dress like an Admiral, speak like an Admiral, look like an Admiral, act like an Admiral… and you will be an Admiral!’
Think how a confident person would act, or study people who you admire for their confidence.
Learn how they dress, how they talk, how they present themselves, and simply copy them.
Act as though you are a confident person.
This will be projected to others and they will start to respond to you in a positive way.
You will feel more confident as a result and before long, you will be that confident person.
In order to have a healthy level of self esteem, you first need to accept yourself.
This means learning to be happy with you, just as you are- and your flaws as well as your strengths.
Here are some techniques for learning self acceptance;
It is too easy to get into the habit of negative self talk. This is that little nagging voice in our head which constantly tells us we are useless, too fat, too old etc.
Negative self talk includes constantly putting ourselves down in our conversations with other people (for example, saying ‘I could never do that’, ‘I’m useless with money’ and ‘you know how stupid I am’).
Unfortunately, our subconscious picks up on this negative self talk and makes us act in ways to serve this belief.
From now on, monitor your thoughts or conversations with others.
Be on guard for any negative self talk or thought, and as soon as you detect it, stop immediately.
Every time you have a negative thought about yourself such as ’I’ll never lose weight - I’m such a fat pig’ replace this with a positive one such as ‘Every day I am choosing to eat well and exercise, and am moving closer to my ideal weight’.
This may take some practice at first but you will eventually break the habit of negative self thought and talk.
If somebody gives you a compliment, accept it gracefully rather than playing it down.
Self acceptance comes from loving yourself.
We can only love someone else by first learning to love ourselves.
Stop looking at your perceived imperfections, such as a flabby tummy, and learn to love yourself as the truly unique, talented individual you are.
Look for the good in yourself- celebrate the things you do well and the talents you have.
Go and blow your own trumpet and sing your own praises!
Learn how to say no.
People with low self esteem can find it very hard to say no when they are asked to do something they don’t want to do or haven’t got time to do.
This comes from a wish to be liked and a feeling that your time and wishes don’t count.
Of course, your time is just as important as anyone else’s!
Next time someone asks you to do something you really don’t want to do, be assertive and say no.
There are ways of doing this without offending - for example you could say something like ‘I’m sorry, I am busy that night’.
Don’t get flustered and start trying to make excuses or the other person may sense that you could be talked into it.
Saying something like the example above makes it clear and non negotiable.
Remember, you can only expect others to respect you if you first learn to respect yourself.
You can do this by treating yourself as you would treat someone you respect.
Respect your body by eating a healthy, nourishing diet and exercising regularly.
Stop smoking or drinking alcohol to excess and even take care of your skin, nails and hair.
Respect your mind by learning new skills or reading books you find interesting rather than watching endless trashy television shows.
As soon as you start to treat yourself as somebody to be respected, others will automatically start to treat you the same.
Treating yourself in this way will also make you feel better about yourself and your appearance.
Positive affirmations are positive statements to yourself which counteract that negative voice in your head.
They will replace your old, negative feelings with more positive ones when used regularly.
The trick is to create some positive affirmations which are relevant to you, and repeat them to yourself several times each day.
Write them down on a card and carry them with you so you can read them during the day.
Put them up where you can see them often; in the bathroom, above your desk, even above your bed.
These affirmations are statements of intent- the kind of person you aspire to be.
Good examples of these are ‘I am confident’, ‘I control my anger’, ‘I am a winner’ or ‘I am a non smoker’.
By stating these affirmations as though you have already achieved them, the subconscious mind will direct your actions in ways which will make these come true.
Affirmations specific for raising self esteem could include ‘I am becoming more assertive each day’, ‘I can handle this’ and ‘I deserve to love and be loved’.
It may feel strange at first, especially if you have always been used to putting yourself down, but it will soon become second nature to you.
Start the day off by looking at your reflection in the mirror, giving yourself a big smile and saying ‘I like myself!’
This will probably make you laugh at first but it will give you a psychological boost.
Having a poor body image is a side effect of low self esteem.
Many of us look in the mirror and don’t like what we see- whether we feel we are too fat, too short, too ugly or have a big stomach, there will always be at least one aspect of our body we hate.
Our modern day society can make it very difficult for people to achieve a positive body image.
The glossy magazines are choc full of photos of airbrushed celebrities or size zero models.
We haven’t a hope of achieving these unrealistic ideals, which makes us feel even worse about ourselves.
We may even start to feel that nobody will ever be attracted to us.
What you are seeing in the mirror may not be what is actually there.
Individuals with a poor body image tend to see a distorted view of themselves and focus on their perceived imperfections.
For example, I know somebody who is convinced that she is fat when she is a size 6, and have a friend who constantly moans about her large nose and ears even though she has a queue of male admirers!
A poor body image can contribute to low self esteem and may even lead to mental health problems, such as body dysmorphic disorder or eating disorders.
In order to attain a good body image, you need to stop hating your body.
Remember, we are all individuals with our own unique features. Learn to love yourself and celebrate your body the way it is.
Don’t compare yourself to anyone else, and remember that those celebrities in the glossy photos have been probably been airbrushed so don’t even represent real people.
Change your posture.
People with low self esteem and a poor body image tend to slouch along in a hunched fashion.
Straighten your spine, hold your head high and walk tall and proud- this will give your mood an instant lift.
Make a point of smiling often
You will feel so much better and this will show on the outside.
Choose clothes that flatter your shape and emphasize the parts of your body you like best.
Treat your body well.
Make sure you eat a healthy diet and drink plenty of water; this will give you radiant skin, glossy hair and a feeling of wellness.
Make time for exercise - this will make you feel better about yourself, as well as toning your body.
Pamper your body with a massage or facial, and have your hair styled regularly.
Use a good quality body moisturizer to nourish your skin.
This will make you feel and look great, both inside and out, as well as giving your subconscious the message that you deserve to be treated well.
You must aim to use these techniques on a daily basis; they will become routine and automatic.
Once you attain a positive body image, you will find it easier to raise your self esteem.
Sometimes boosting our self esteem is not something we are able to do all by ourselves.
We often need the support from others to do this; ironically people who are suffering from low self esteem find it very difficult to ask others for help as they feel that they don’t deserve it and question why the other person would want to help them.
Ask your close friends, family or people in your life you trust for their support.
This may be anything from having someone to talk through your feelings with when you are feeling low to providing more active support.
You may need them to help you to write down your skills and achievements; it is quite likely that they will have noticed skills which you have overlooked.
They could also become involved in encouraging you to take up a new activity or even join you for some moral support.
If you are having problems at school or college, pick an approachable tutor and talk through your problems with them.
Chances are they will be able to help you to resolve them. If you are struggling at work, have you got a sympathetic Line Manager you could talk to or any close colleagues you could turn to?
You may well find that some of your friends, family or colleagues are also having problems with their self esteem.
You could even choose a ‘self esteem buddy’ and support each other.
Try to stay away from overly negative people, or people who make you feel bad about yourself.
If this is not possible, reduce the time you spend with them to a bare minimum or their negativity will rub off on you.
Choose to surround yourself with happy, cheerful positive people.
If your self esteem is becoming a real problem, or you feel you may have an associated problem such as depression, discuss this with your doctor.
You may need some counseling to deal with painful issues from your past.
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