Boosting Your Self Esteem: From Wallflower to Sunflower
To boost your self-esteem can seem like a monumental task, especially when you’re experiencing self-defeating thoughts and feelings.
However, when you step back, you can see that low self-esteem is really just a continuous cycle, and breaking any part of that cycle can stop the whole thing in its tracks.
Low self-esteem cycle usually looks something like this:
First, you start to feel bad about yourself because you made a mistake or someone pointed out something they didn’t like about you.
Then, you start to obsessively stress about that “mistake” or “flaw.” Eventually you tell yourself that you’re not good enough and then you start to believe it. And once you believe it, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, and the cycle repeats.
Below are 10 simple ways you can instantly improve your self-esteem.
These techniques work because they break some part of the negative feedback loop of the low self-esteem cycle. The more you practice these techniques, the better they work, so practice them often for even better results.
1. Do Something Kind For Someone
When you’re in a low self-esteem cycle, it can be difficult to see outside of yourself. You become so focused on what your limitations are that you can’t see the pain others might be experiencing.
But when you actively seek out doing something kind for someone else or something good for your environment, your focus shifts. Not only will your obsessive, negative thoughts about yourself stop, you’ll also begin to think positive things about yourself.
Positive actions attract positive thoughts.
“Love and kindness are never wasted. They always make a difference. They bless the one who receives them, and they bless you, the giver.”— Barbara de Angelis, NY Times bestselling author
2. Take Care Of Your Appearance
Your outward appearance is often a reflection of how you feel on the inside. Have you ever noticed that when you’re sick, people say “You don’t look well”? Our bodies are connected to our spirit and mind and they all reflect each other.
When you have low self-esteem, it often shows through how you take care of yourself.
Small things like picking out something flattering to wear, taking time to style your hair differently, or accessorizing an outfit can seem vain and superficial, but they can actually make you immediately feel better about yourself.
The lesson here is not about vanity; it’s about treating yourself kindly.
“Love yourself first, and everything else falls in line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”— Lucille Ball, actress
3. Change Your Scenery
A great (and fun!) way to break a low self-esteem cycle is to do something completely out of the ordinary.
It can be as simple as traveling a different route to work in the morning, taking a short weekend vacation to a place you’ve never visited, or working from a cafe you’ve always wanted to check out.
Doing something you’ve never done before or being somewhere you’ve never been to can quickly refresh your mind and break negative thought patterns. We have a tendency to get stuck in a small bubble, neglecting to see that the universe is vast and our problems are usually a lot smaller than we make them out to be.
Changing your scenery can give you a fresh perspective and motivate you to make positive changes rather than dwell in the negative. Give it a shot.
“Sometimes it’s the smallest decisions that can change your life forever.”— Keri Russel, actress
4. Write Down Your Accomplishments
Think back to all of the accomplishments you’ve had. Get out a pen and paper and start writing them down.
It seems simple, but as your list grows, you’ll start to see that not only have you accomplished some impressive things, you are capable of even more.
You might begin to see patterns of times when you felt really good about yourself and accomplished a lot of great things. This exercise can help you tune in to the parts of yourself that know you’re adequate, capable and extraordinary!
“Nothing builds self esteem and self-confidence like accomplishment.”— Thomas Carlyle, philosopher
5. Teach Someone Something
There are definitely things you know that other people don’t.
Maybe you’re a great writer or you’re really proficient in math. Perhaps you know how to organize a messy closet, or you know how to change a tire on a car.
Simple knowledge that you may take for granted could be something that someone else is seeking to learn.
By teaching someone a skill or imparting some of your know-how, you not only share knowledge with them, you prove to yourself how amazing and unique of person you are, one that can share valuable gifts with the world.
“Teaching is the greatest act of optimism.”— Colleen Wilcox, Executive Director of the Alliance for Teaching
6. Reflect On Your Surroundings
Sometimes, when we have low self-esteem, we think that all of the problems we have are somehow our fault. When you’re in that state of mind, you end up taking the blame for everything.
If you find yourself in this position, observe your surroundings and see what outside stressors may be influencing you.
Is your job really stressful? Do you live in an unsupportive home environment? Do you live in a community that doesn’t meet your needs?
Take some time to figure out what’s adding stress to your life, be conscious of it, and start making a plan to change it.
“No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.”— Albert Einstein
7. Simplify Your Life
Just as our outward appearance is often a reflection of our internal world, our homes are usually a reflection as well.
And just as we hold on to negative emotions, beliefs and thoughts that don’t serve us, we often hold on to material possessions that don’t serve us either — they actually weigh us down.
Take a weekend to go through your things and see if you can find some items that might be weighing you down.
Do you have clothes you haven’t worn in years? Do you have items that once held sentimental value, but now don’t hold the same meaning? Do you have things you bought that you thought you’d use, but never have?
Have a yard sale and get rid of those things or donate those items to a local charity.You’ll free up some space in your life and in the process, you might just make some money and do something kind for someone else.
“The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life.”— Marie Kondo, author of The Magical Art of Tidying Up
8. Pursue A Passion
Everyone has a list of things they’ve wanted to do, but have never got around to doing.
We tell ourselves that we don’t have the time or money, but we know deep down that we can arrange things in our life to create time or money when it’s needed.
When you suffer from low self-esteem, you often make excuses as to why you can’t pursue your passions, but in the end, it’s because you don’t believe you deserve to follow your bliss.
Stop the cycle and make a commitment to pursuing a passion.
Don’t delay with excuses; start today.
“It’s your place in the world; it’s your life. Go on and do all you can with it, and make it the life you want to live.”—Mae Jemison, first African-American woman to travel in space
It sounds simple, but getting up and moving can have profound effects on your self-esteem. Exercise doesn’t just help your body, it improves your state of mind by helping you focus on small, achievable goals.
Sure, you’ll get a rush of endorphins that make you feel good, but it’s really the accomplishment that makes exercise a great choice for someone with low self-esteem.
By setting small exercise goals and achieving them, you prove to yourself that you can accomplish anything you set your mind to.
10. Invest In Your Well-Being
Take a look at your spending patterns and see if you can make some changes.
Are you spending money on self-destructive coping mechanisms? Whether it’s unhealthy comfort food, excessive drinking, video games or apps, or overindulgence of any kind, these spending habits can be transformed.
By taking the money you spend on indulgences and spending that money on self-improvement, you can empower your mind and body to raise your self-esteem.
Whether it’s a meditation retreat, yoga classes, self-improvement courses or simply healthier food, spending money on things that are good for you can make you feel better about yourself.
“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”— Aldous Huxley, writer & philosopher