If you or someone you know is suffering from low self-esteem it can be easy to fall into the trap of thinking, “oh well, it’s not worth trying anything to improve my outlook or situation – I’m really no good and can’t do anything right anyway. What’s the point?”
Well, the point is, you CAN do something and it starts with getting the right attitude. Journaling is a great way to jumpstart the process because it can help you explore your inner thoughts and get to the root cause or causes of your low self-esteem.
Self-confidence – the source of high self-esteem and a healthy sense of personal worth – can take a little work. Self-confidence can appear to come naturally to many individuals, but the truth is, most people with good self-esteem had good role models in their lives from an early age. They had – and have – people around them who possess the positive attitude, right behavior, and can-do spirit that breeds self-confidence and higher self-esteem. Simply by mirroring how these positive individuals interact with others is a substantial start to raising your self-esteem and building the self-confidence needed to sustain it.
Let’s take a look at 7 easy ways to boost self-confidence and build your self-esteem:
1. Take pride in your appearance
If you just roll out of bed, grab something off the floor to wear, and stumble out the door to another day of struggle, you’re off to a bad start before your day even begins. Instead, present yourself with confidence. Fix up your wardrobe (it doesn’t have to cost a lot), spend a little more time on personal hygiene, eat something healthy for energy, and you’ll notice a big difference. When you look great, you feel great, and you’re off to a great start without a lot of effort. It’s not about being a fashion model or the most attractive person in the world – it’s about being clean, neat, and ready to take on the world.
2. Utilize your strengths
Everyone has strengths. Yours are different than everybody else’s, but you have strengths nevertheless. If you don’t know them, discover them through journaling. Write down what you like to do, what gives you the greatest pleasure, what you take pride in, what you receive compliments for – those are your strengths. Yes, there are plenty of tasks that need to get done that you may not be the best at, but don’t focus on those. Focus on what you do best and take pride in it.
3. Accept your imperfections
It bears repeating on a regular basis – no one is perfect. Not even the people you think are perfect. We’re all humans and we all make mistakes, have failures (and successes as well) – accept them all. They’re part of what makes you, you. The drive to be perfect is simply a mechanism to inflict pain upon yourself. So stop it. Strive to be good at what you do, confident in your abilities and skills, and stop trying to be perfect. Successful, happy people focus on continuous improvement – doing something a little better each time – not on being perfect.
4. Try your best
In everything you do – at work, home, or school – put your best effort into it. It may not be great, but if it’s truly the best you can do, you can rest easy knowing you didn’t just phone it in. Many people think they need to have confidence first before they try anything. That’s not true. You need to first be WILLING to try something so that you can build confidence in your abilities. You need to try your best, accept whatever the results are, and learn from your experience. One thing you’ll learn is that your best continues to get better with each effort. Without some failure there is no success. Just try your best – that’s the most you or anyone else can expect.
5. Accept disapproval
Trying to win approval from everyone is counterproductive and exhausting. No matter who you are, what you do, and what you achieve, there will always be someone who disapproves for some reason. So what? Attempting to win approval all the time means you’re constantly working to be something somebody else wants, not what YOU want. That’s wrong. How YOU feel about yourself is what matters.
6. Practice to be prepared – not perfect
Two common root causes of low self-esteem are the feeling of not being in control and the fear of the unknown. Both of these can be effectively countered by practicing something in advance and being prepared for what causes these feelings. For example, think you’re a lousy presenter? Practice in front of a small, sympathetic group of family or friends before that big presentation. You’ll be better prepared and more confident in your ability to present. Don’t worry about being perfect – good and competent is just fine. Remember Thomas Jefferson’s famous saying: “Don’t let perfect get in the way of good.”
Wait…what? Yes, just smile. Studies have shown that the simple act of smiling puts people in a positive frame of mind and that causes a ripple effect. When you smile at others, they smile back. Suddenly, everybody’s in a good mood. Stress gets reduced and negativity gets pushed aside. A positive attitude, transmitted by a smile, fosters self-confidence and boosts self-esteem.
As you put these seven easy tips to work, remember to use journaling to reinforce what you’re learning and practicing. One way to do that is to put a question at the top of a page, such as “What 3 things do I have to smile about?” or “Why did ________ happen and how could I have been prepared for it?” Then just do a little “free writing” to express your thoughts and reactions to the question you wrote down. You might be surprised at what you discover.
Journaling will help you explore ways to put these seven suggestions to work on your specific challenges and record what you accomplished with your new approach. You owe it to yourself to achieve a greater sense of self-worth. As you employ these tips, your self-confidence will grow and the people who matter in your life will take notice of the new you.
Want to learn more about how you can build your self-confidence and self-esteem? Learn strategies to improve your self-esteem – their influence and impact on our lives and ways to encourage feeling better about ourselves by downloading the eBook titled "How to Improve Your Self Esteem Through Journaling."