How you feel about yourself is a conscious choice. Some individuals spend their lives wallowing in misery, feeling sorry for themselves, and blaming others for their situation and lot in life. They don’t have to do that –they choose to do that.
If your self-esteem is more negative than positive, you can take steps to reverse that, boost your self-confidence, and improve your sense of self-worth. The first step is to decide that you will make improvements. Nobody can tell you otherwise. It is up to you.
Here are 6 personal choices you can make that can start making a difference in how you live your life and feel about yourself:
1. Stop pretending
People who lack self-esteem spend a lot of time worrying about what others think of them and try to find ways to get people to like them – whether it’s necessary or not. Pretending to be someone else and not the true you is exhausting, even debilitating. Too much time and effort is spent creating often elaborate alter-egos – pretending to be happy, successful, and nonchalant about things and people’s opinions. But the truth is, individuals with low self-esteem can be suffering inside and pretending to be someone else, afraid that the outside world will see the real them and not like them.
Making the decision to stop all that can be hard. You can feel vulnerable and afraid. But when you get past that, being the real you is liberating – no more pretending, no more constructing false appearances in an effort to create favorable impressions. Instead, you can simply be you – and you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much others will like and appreciate the real you.
2. Own your actions
Don’t avoid responsibility for the things you do. When you make a mistake, say so. If you do something wrong, correct it if you can. And if you do something good, it’s okay to get recognized for it and take pride in it. You are responsible for everything you do, so embrace it and use your actions to grow and improve.
3. Learn to say no
Individuals with low self-esteem are overly concerned with getting others to like them. That often translates into saying “yes” to everything because they’re afraid of letting people down or of what others might think of them if they say “no.” But you have every right to say “no.” Your time and energy are your own, to do what you want and need to do. You don’t owe your time and energy to anyone. You don’t have to be rude about it -- just be firm and decisive. Developing the ability to speak your mind in a kind but firm manner, and to really deliver on the promises you truly want to make, will go a long way in building lasting self-esteem.
4. Go ahead and make mistakes.
Entrepreneurs in the business world have a saying: “Fail early and fail often.” What this means is that it’s actually good to make mistakes because that’s how you learn what doesn’t work and how to improve upon what you are doing. There’s also another saying: “You’re not trying if you’re not failing.” Failure indicates that at least you’ve tried to do something, which is better than doing nothing at all. Success springs directly from failure. Give yourself permission to fail and stop worrying about it.
5. Help others.
It’s easy to be consumed by your own problems and challenges, especially if you suffer from low self-esteem and you’re constantly scrutinizing yourself and the things you do – usually in a negative way.
Instead, try thinking about others for a while. What are they feeling? What do they need? How can you help them? You might be surprised at how good you’ll feel when you get a heart-felt “thanks!” from someone you’ve helped. What a nice change, to actually feel good about yourself. If trying to help others seems overwhelming at first, remember the words of tennis great Arthur Ashe: “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
6. Go all in.
When faced with the opportunity to do something, whether it's as major as taking a new job or as minor as deciding to try a new activity with friends, go all in. Stop dithering, second-guessing, and wringing your hands. Either do it or don't, but stop agonizing over it. Instead, jump in with both feet and give it your all. You'll be amazed at how easy it is and how satisfying the result. See? That wasn't so bad.
Choosing to put these six tips to work will be a great start to improving your self-esteem – but they’re worthless of you don’t make that choice. Journaling is a great way to explore your psyche and the roots of any self-esteem issues so that you can employ these tips even more effectively. We all have internal answers to our issues in our tissues. Journaling helps us explore our thoughts and feelings to improve our self-esteem.
Set your own expectations of who you should be and goals to help you achieve that person, then do all you can to live up to those expectations. You have it in you to be the person you want to be. No one can tell you different.
Want to learn more about how changing your personal choices can improve your 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."