Tips to raise your Self-Esteem

Jun 09, 2024

Firstly, I would really like you to consider the following.

Your thoughts and beliefs about yourself are not facts. They are simply a product of information you may have received from the people around you, and then you focus on evidence supporting the theory. By default, we then behave in a way that continues supporting the theory. For example, suppose we believe that we are not good enough to stand in a room full of people and deliver a presentation. In that case, we are unlikely to seek out opportunities to do something like that, and therefore, this reinforces our belief that we are not good enough. The thought of placing ourselves in a situation that could reinforce that we are ‘not good enough’ can be enough to prevent us from exploring opportunities or taking a leap of faith, as the fear of being rejected and for others to think we are not good enough is just too overwhelming. Therefore, we can retreat to a place of safety and not do it. Imagine what it would feel like to take the stage, even though it’s scary, and come off knowing that YOU DID IT. The more we do scary things, the more comfortable we become.

Our self-esteem is like a pendulum; it changes depending on the feedback we receive from others. If somebody is critical of us, it plummets, and if somebody is complimentary, it swings the other way and makes us feel good (if we can receive the compliment).

If we have compassion for ourselves, we are more inclined to recognise that we are flawed, and that’s ok. We learn the greatest lessons from the things we don’t do well or perceive as failures. The aim is to learn from those challenges and go on to thrive. A great book that focuses on developing self-compassion is by Kristen Neff, “Self Compassion.’

I want you to think of your brain as a complex network of muscles. Every thought we have creates a new muscle, and if we keep working that muscle (repeating the thought), it will get stronger and stronger, and it forms into a ‘self-belief’.

Here are a few tips to help you to develop a positive self-belief and self-esteem

  1. Write down all the things that you believe about yourself, Good and Bad.
  2. Now, take yourself back to the first time you can remember thinking about each of those things about yourself on your list. (this is evidence gathering)
  3. Do you remember somebody telling you that or somehow making you feel that way, or did something happen that led you to believe this about yourself?
  4. If you do, then how would it feel to think, ‘This was just that person’s opinion; this is not fact. Or this was one thing that I didn’t succeed in, but that doesn’t mean I’m not good enough. We all make mistakes or get things wrong.

Now, the chances are that if you develop low self-esteem in your younger years, you may be able to find multiple experiences in your life where you’ve made bad decisions which have reinforced this. This is really normal; as I said earlier, if we don’t feel good about ourselves, we often go into the world believing that we don’t deserve good things or to be treated in a way that is with respect. It is inevitable that we ALL make mistakes in life, but that does not mean we are bad people or are not good enough; it simply means we are human. We are not designed to be perfect.

In the same way that our brain can develop really strong muscles that state that we are ‘not good enough’ equally, with enough time and effort, it can also create a lovely strong muscle that says we ARE ‘good enough’.

How do we turn it around?

  1. Look at your list of the good things you believe about yourself and repeat those to yourself EVERY day, multiple times a day.
  2. Now, take the list of the bad things you believe about yourself and flip them. You don’t have to believe these things right now, but imagine the muscle; the more you work the muscle, the stronger it will become. You may have spent YEARS strengthening your ‘not good enough’ muscle; it's now time to weaken that muscle and create a new one. For example
    1. I’m not good enough, to I am good enough (better still, I’m incredible)
    2. I’m a bad person, to I’m an amazing person
    3. I’m unlovable, to I am loveable
    4. I’m a bad parent, to I’m a great parent
    5. I’m shy, to I’m really assertive
    6. I have no confidence, to I’m super confident
    7. I’m ugly, to I’m beautiful (better still, stunning)
  3. If the flipped words you have chosen feel REALLY uncomfortable, they are the best words to use. The more you repeat those statements to yourself, the more comfortable they will become. Try it for two weeks and feel the difference. Remember, initially, you don’t need to believe them; you just need to say them. This can also be really powerful if you say them out loud in front of a mirror.
  4. Compassion – Be kind to yourself. Life can be challenging, but with every challenge comes growth.
  5. You deserve to see yourself through incredible eyes. If you feel that some support in making these changes would benefit you, please seek help from a professional.