As we have seen in another article –see An introduction to self-esteem – self-esteem is a capital of our social relationships and of our ability to take action in our everyday life. With a low level of self-esteem, it is much more difficult to accomplish all the tasks we would like to, and this level can also actually trigger the installation of a vicious circle – the less self-esteem you have, the more you are likely to fail and the more you fail, the lower your level of self-esteem will be. As one can easily imagine, dealing with that situation and getting your self-esteem back to a normal or acceptable level is no easy task, especially without the help of other people evolving in your environment. Now, we will equip you with some tips and tricks to boost that self-esteem, without having to ask your peers to praise you just to make you feel better.
Before anything, the first step is to make a sort of inventory, to assess where you really stand regarding self-esteem. Indeed, you need to know what you are talking about before engaging in any process. How are you supposed to fix something if you do not actually know it? Just thinking you are not good enough is not enough to be able to boost your self-esteem, because the core of the problem does not lie in that simple sentence. This technique comes from cognitive-behavioral therapy, where you spend a lot of time identifying irrational thoughts and trying to know yourself a little bit better before starting any “fixing” process. So how do you actually get started on this? Well, the simplest thing to do is probably to sit down with a piece of paper and write down your strengths and weaknesses. Force yourself to find as many strengths as weaknesses. While helping you identifying what you should work on, this inventory will also show you that there is a lot of good already there in you.
Once you have done that, it is time to set yourself some goals. Be extremely careful here, as these goals not only need to be goals, they need to be REALISTIC goals. Indeed, setting yourself some unrealistic expectations that you perfectly know from the beginning you will never achieve will do nothing but lower your self-esteem even more. Do not dream of being crowned King of England, as it will probably not happen. This also works with much smaller expectations; do not wish for your boss to stop being an asshole because you know what? If he enjoys being like that right now, he will probably never stop! The only thing is that his behaviour, despite not being changed, just should not affect you anymore.
Learn to grab hold of your accomplishments. Be proud of what you do and of what you achieve. Acknowledge what you do for its real value. Even if cooking a beef bourguignon seems like an easy thing to do for you, it is nonetheless an amazing skill. There is gold in your hands! Too often, society is creating an image of perfection that might not be yours. If what the media says is not your ideal, then why should care about it? Set yourself free of all the speeches around you if they do not fit your vision of perfection, of what you would like yourself to be. If it helps, keep a written track of all your achievements, so you can look at them, visualize them and realize all the things you are actually doing. If you currently believe you are not achieving anything, well that should change quickly. Also, learn to value and cherish your mistakes. Far from preventing you to reach your goal, they are actually teaching you a method not to get there. They are a great opportunity to learn and to grow, not to pity ourselves and embrace the negative self-talk. Be thankful for the mistakes you make, as now you know what not to do in the future, and this will help you a lot. I am sure Barack Obama knows a few things about how not to become president of the United States.
When you are up to that point, you will be ready to embrace self- exploration. You have identified your strengths and your weaknesses, and learned how to be thankful for everything you do. Now, get ready to open yourself to new opportunities. Try new things, think differently, and try new friendships. You might not know that, but it will actually help you a little more to know yourself. Knowing yourself will make you happier and more confident. If you know what you really have to offer to the world, your self-esteem is less likely to fall down. If you know your resources well, you will not think that you have no value, simply because you will know it is not true. Take risks!
Of course, all this will require you to build a new image of yourself. The old, “I suck” image of you will have to be flushed down the drain. It is also completely useless to rehash the same things you used to do over and over again. For instance, it will lead you nowhere to think about how you used to know how to play the violin when you were a kid, but you do not anymore. If you want to play the violin, all you have to do is to take it out of its box! Furthermore, acknowledge all the things you did not know how to do then, but you are now doing every day. Is it not all worth it in the end? I personally think it is, and so should you! In a nutshell, do not evaluate yourself in comparison to what you used to be but to what is happening right now. Stop living in the past.
Last but not least, to boost your self-esteem, stop giving so much strength and value to other people’s opinions about what you are. Their comparisons can be unfair. Why would having 4,000 Facebook friends make you a better person than if you only had 300? Only compare things that are comparable. In another word, do not compare yourself to others but to yourself. This is no easy task for sure. But in the end, you will be so pleased with the results that you will quickly forget you had to put in, trust me on this one.