Updated: Sep 11, 2020
Low self-esteem and pessimism can make it difficult to accept responsibility and constructive criticism
What is low self-esteem?
Low self-esteem can be defined as a lack of self-confidence or seeing yourself as unworthy, inadequate, incompetent, unacceptable, or unlovable. Having negative, self-critical thoughts can affect your behaviour, your life choices and leave you trapped in a lonely vicious circle.
Low self-esteem can also affect one’s mental health, leading to stress, depression, and eating disorders. As such, it’s important to take quick actions when you realize that you or someone you love is suffering from this debilitating problem.
Moreover, low self-esteem and pessimism can make it difficult to accept responsibility and constructive criticism, which can hinder you from opportunities and also prevent you from taking on new challenges; consequently, blocking you from having fulfilling experiences in life. It can also ruin important relationships. Low self-esteem, which affects our emotions, our thoughts, and behaviour, as well as displays how we perceive and connect to ourselves and others, can occur for many reasons, including disapproval from people you value, putting your self-worth in circumstances that are out of your control, which when they don’t go the way you want causes you to feel like a failure, and some mental disorders, such as borderline personality disorder and depression.
When it comes to poor self-esteem, there are some things you can do to help overcome it and be the person you were meant to be, including:
Accept some flaws
I know that this is easier said than done, but it’s a must if you want to overcome low self-esteem. There will always be things about yourself that you don’t like. Try to understand that this is true for every other person on earth, no matter how flawless they may seem.
One of the tips for overcoming low self-esteem is to learn to concentrate on your strengths, not your limitations.
Make some improvements
Many things can lead to low self-esteem. Some of them are not in your control, while others are fully within your power to change. For example, being overweight or having a bad body shape are some of the things you can change and improve your self-esteem.
If you are overweight, for instance, you can start taking up an exercise routine and eating better. When you exercise and eat right, there’ll be numerous positive changes in your body both to how you feel and how you look. For some people, this can be a great first step in improving their low self-esteem.
If feeling tired all of the time is one of the things that lower your self-esteem, then you can overcome this by turning off the computer and television a few hours earlier and try to get at least 8 hours of good sleep every night. Create an evening routine that makes it easier for you to unwind at night. Getting adequate sleep will help keep your body and mind healthy. You’ll also wake up feeling refreshed and full of energy, which will help you accomplish more throughout the day.
Surround Yourself with the Right People
Low self-esteem usually begins early in life at the hands of disapproving authority figures. For instance, if you were constantly told that you don’t measure up or you were criticized for everything you did, it can prevent you from growing into a confident adult with a positive self-image. Therefore, to help build your confidence, try surrounding yourself with positive, healthy people who acknowledge and reinforce your positive attributes as well as your contributions and who genuinely support you.
As you try to overcome your low self-esteem, remember that we are all human. Everyone, at some point in their life, will make a mistake. In fact, some people make way more than others.
One trick to overcoming low self-esteem is to learn not to beat yourself up when you make mistakes. Instead, learn from that mistake. Store in your memory and be using it to prevent you from repeating the same mistake in the future. Always keep in mind that we all learn from trial and error.
Live in the now
Another way to overcome low self-esteem is to learn to live in the present and not let the hurts of your past or worries about the future affect your actions. You can achieve this by engaging all your five senses – stop and listen for melodious sounds of birds, feel the breeze of air on your skin, smell the freshness of the air, enjoy the beautiful colour of the sky. All these will draw your consciousness into the present and help you have the right frame of mind when making day-to-day decisions.
Be kind to yourself
Why would you be kind to others, but be hard on yourself? One of the tricks for overcoming low self-esteem is to treat yourself just the way you’d treat your best pal: be caring, gentle, and forgiving.
Loving-kindness meditation is one way to sit and take time practising some love and kindness to yourself. Sometimes, we may be kind to our friends and family but forget to extend that kindness to ourselves! Accept yourself, love yourself, and feel your self-esteem soar.
Get to Know Yourself/Become Your Own Best Friend
Despite your differences, you are valuable and deserve to feel good about yourself. Therefore, spend time alone and take time to get to know yourself, which will allow you to discover where you are unique, special, and worthy, which will help you gain a better appreciation of yourself. You can also try making a list of your achievements and strengths to remind yourself of your feats, and then review it whenever you lack self-esteem and need to feel better about yourself. This is also a great time to pinpoint and confront any negative views that you have about yourself.
Acknowledge Where You Need Change
We all have faults; however, if you don’t recognize and acknowledge where you need change, it can keep you stuck in a rut of poor self-esteem, which will only get worse the more you try to run from it. Instead, choose to become aware of and acknowledge where you need change and then put forth the effort to improve it. You can even enlist a good friend or relative for support. You should also become aware when you are too critical of yourself, and then remind yourself that these are not facts, which will help you avoid negative emotions that can lead to negative self-talk.
Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Psychotherapists warn that comparisons only lead to a negative self-image, which can lead to poor self-esteem, stress, and anxiety that in turn can ruin your work, relationships, and physical and mental health.
Try to relax
One of the things that contribute to low self-esteem is a constant feeling of stress. When you’re stressed, your negative thoughts will take charge, making you focus on your weaknesses instead of your strengths. This will even aggravate your stress and lead to more low self-esteem.
Take time to do something you find relaxing. Practice self-care. Try doing things such as taking a bath, gaming, meditation, singing, indoor dancing, etc. This will reduce your stress and make yourself feel better.
Repeat Positive Affirmations
Just as negative affirmations, such as you’re stupid, can be believed, they can also be unbelieved. Therefore, psychologists suggest that you repeat positive affirmations that you want to believe about yourself daily to help get you back on the right track to a time before you had low-self esteem. In fact, research shows that positive affirmations can even help lessen symptoms of depression and more.
Take Care of Yourself
Simple things like taking a shower, brushing your hair, wearing clean clothes, eating right, and exercising regularly help you feel better about yourself. Studies also show that making your living space comfortable, clean and attractive also help improve your mood.
Donating, volunteering, and helping others that are less fortunate, not only helps take the focus off your own issues, but it also makes you feel good knowing you are helping others. In fact, studies show that doing more things in your life that you can be proud of increases your self-worth, which helps you feel better about your self.
In the end, people with a positive self-appreciation are open to improvement and more meaningful experiences, meaning they don’t rely on external reinforcements, such as status or income, for self-worth, which enables them to experience more happiness and delight in life. Therefore, be mindful of who you allow into your life as well as the circumstances you allow to dictate your self-worth. You should also be mindful to take care of yourself, including exercise and eating right, to help keep your both your body and your mind healthy.