It’s fair to say that having low self-esteem or experiencing self-doubt at one point or another is likely an almost universal experience. Whether it’s comparing ourselves to others on social media, feeling unseen in the workplace, or being involved in a less-than-happy relationship, there are many ways our self-esteem can drop.
Self-esteem describes how we feel about ourselves and our abilities – whether that be physically, emotionally or mentally. Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can leave us feeling down, depressed, insecure and unmotivated. It can even negatively impact our relationships or see us tolerating toxic or harmful relationships that we would not otherwise endure. Another offshoot of low-self esteem is “imposter syndrome”, which describes an overwhelming feeling of being undeserving of success, often leaving us suspecting that our achievements are due to luck, rather than talent and hard work.
If you identify with any symptoms or feelings of low self-esteem, thankfully, there are some easy, everyday practices and ways to boost self-esteem. It’s important to understand that we are allowed to feel good about ourselves, after all!
Be kind and compassionate…
Not just to others, but to ourselves! Often those of us suffering from low self-esteem treat others with much greater care or love than we do ourselves. But we’re here to tell you that self-compassion is not selfish, it’s important! Forgive yourself for making mistakes (you’re only human), challenge negative thoughts, and speak to yourself in the same way that you’d speak to a friend or a loved one.
Try – writing down three things you’re proud of yourself for.
Time to get moving…
We always say that exercise has many benefits beyond fitness. It releases feel good hormones (endorphins), increases our motivation and confidence, builds energy, and can help us practice goal-setting. You can take this as “me time” or use it to hang out with friends.
Try – gentle yoga with meditation or a coastal walk with a friend you trust.
While it’s great to have goals, it’s important for us to remember that perfection is unrealistic. The same goes for comparison – it’s unproductive to compare yourself and your goals to someone else’s.
Try – personalising three goals unique to you.
Instead, focus on what is in your control…
Focusing on things that we have no control over can easily send us into a negative spiral and can peak anxiety or depression (or both!). Focusing on changes we know we can make can leave us feeling more confident and in control of our lives and wellbeing – even if they are as small as walking around the block or giving ourselves one daily positive affirmation.
Try – making a list of three things you’d like to change, and what you can do about it.
Celebrate your wins!
Again, no matter how small, allow yourself to celebrate your wins. From getting out of bed in the morning, to doing the grocery shopping, to nailing that presentation at work, think of ways you can reward yourself. This can have a huge impact when it comes to building confidence!
Try – write down your proudest win once a week.
Finally, surround yourself with support…
Although it may not always feel like it, the relationships we are and are not involved in are oftentimes within our control. Choosing to leave a friendship or relationship that negatively impacts our self-esteem or triggers negative thinking can be a fantastic way to regain control and feel capable and confident. Likewise, surrounding ourselves with people who are supportive and to whom we can lend support can do the same.