When anyone compliments you on your looks or abilities, what is your first response? A reply like “Thank you”, shows you’re most likely a confident person. On the other hand, a reply like “Oh no, I’m nothing like that” shows you probably think very little of yourself.
When a person accepts and acknowledges their own worth or abilities, they are said to have high self-esteem. This should never be confused with arrogance, as having an arrogant nature is about exaggerating one’s own abilities.
Suffering from low self-esteem however, can be self-destructive. A study reported that 75% of girls with low self-esteem resorted to smoking, drinking, suffered from eating disorders, were victims of bullying and worse yet, attempted suicide. A report by the World Health Organisation (WHO) revealed that the largest number of deaths every year was due to suicide rather than war or homicide.
It would therefore be in every person’s best interest to work at boosting their self-esteem as confidence in one’s self can lead to a healthier, more successful and productive life.
1. Do your homework
While every human being is born imperfect, every single one has positive attributes they can build on. Some people realise and cherish these qualities easily, so they are confident and comfortable with themselves.
However, many people fail to realise or treasure their positive qualities and look down on themselves. So, what does it mean by doing your homework? This method is easy and surprisingly rather rewarding.
Get yourself an affordable and awesome looking notebook and start listing down your positive qualities. These qualities can be anything from your attitude, skills, talents or experiences. Whenever you receive a compliment, be sure to write it down.
This method requires continuous effort on your part but in exchange, your self-esteem will get a much needed boost. On a particularly trying day when your self-confidence is at its lowest, opening that notebook and reading about past compliments and the good qualities you listed about yourself, will restore belief in your self-worth.
2. Take time to reflect
New experiences can leave you feeling uncomfortable and stressed, simply because you feel vulnerable at the possibility of making mistakes and dashing people’s expectations of you.
When things go wrong, take the time to reflect on it and be more forgiving of yourself. Push yourself to find five good outcomes from that experience and understand that learning is not a one-time thing, but a lifetime work in progress.
Understand that you are not defined by one petty failure, but the accumulation of your experiences over time.
3. Avoid negative thoughts
It is natural for people with low self-esteem to automatically think negatively about themselves. Instead of beating yourself up about your supposed shortcomings, start challenging those negative self-beliefs and consciously make the effort to love yourself more.
Whenever you start questioning your capabilities, take up new challenges to prove yourself wrong. When in a difficult situation at work or among your friends, reflect on the obstacles you’ve successfully overcome and start believing in yourself again.
Every small accomplishment matters because success is the sum of these small and repetitive accomplishments. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
4. Learn to relax
Humans are not robots so they cannot be perfect at all times. Instead of being a perfectionist and constantly pushing yourself to achieve success, learn to relax. Taking time to relax is important because when you do, your brain is less emotionally charged and happy memories get the chance to resurface, creating the pathway for relaxation.
Different people seek different ways to relax. Here are some for consideration:
- Deep breathing
- Listening to music
- Art therapy
- Tai chi
Keep in mind that these relaxation techniques are skills as well. Skills require practise for perfection. Remember to be patient and not let it become yet another source of stress.
5. Mix with positive people
Spending time with people who degrade you or who don’t appreciate you for what you are, will only worsen your sense of self-worth.
A study among female students revealed that 80% said their negative body image arose from unkind remarks made by friends or family about them. Hence, it is important you spend more time with people that care and love you for who and what you are.
Besides, talking to positive people also helps keep negative thoughts at bay. For example, “My family constantly reminds me of the right things I’ve done and that it’s normal not to be perfect.” Positive affirmations like these help boost your self-esteem so you can get back on the road to believing in yourself again.
DoctorOnCall is Malaysia’s first online clinic that allows chat, phone, and video calls directly with a registered Malaysian doctor at www.doctoroncall.com.my
DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is not a substitute for professional medical advice. You are encouraged to confirm any information obtained here with other sources, and review all information with your physician. Please do not disregard professional medical advice or delay treatment because of something you have read here. FMT is not responsible and liable for any damage caused through information obtained here.