Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Do you find yourself struggling with your self-esteem? Are you looking for ways to improve your confidence and self-esteem? In this blog post, I'm writing down some of my favourite ways to improve this part of your life that you can start doing today!
My blog post is more detailed, but if you're more of a visual learner, check out my YouTube video for KMA Therapy that shows my tips here!
Ah yes, self-esteem. It's something that a lot of us struggle with and something we so want to have a great deal of. Self-esteem is the overall sense we have of our own value, worth and emotional evaluation of ourselves. We are so judgmental of ourselves sometimes and our emotional sense and how we feel about our own self can really change our day, positively or negatively, depending on our state. So, what can we do about it? Quite a lot, actually! I've struggled with a low self-esteem myself, so here I'm giving you some ways that have really helped me in my journey.
1. Start being KIND to yourself!
We can be so mean to ourselves sometimes. We are hyper-critical, judgmental, talk negatively to ourselves, and we pick apart our bodies and minds. Why do we do this? It's so unnecessary!
So today, I want you to start being nice to yourself. Speak to yourself and treat yourself the way you would speak to your best friend or someone you care dearly for. All of the negative things you say about yourself is what you are putting out into the world, and that is not a nice perception or an accurate description of you at all. Give yourself compliments, highlight what you did well today, smile to yourself if you pass by a mirror. Any imperfections or parts of you that you wish were different, embrace it instead. Start embracing all the uniqueness that makes you, you! There's only one of you after all, and that's pretty darn special. So make the most of this life and start to love all that you are and speak to and about yourself with kindness.
Here's an exercise for this that I want you to try (right now, if you can). Go over to the mirror and look yourself in the eye and say "I love you." In addition to this, scan your body from head to toe and apologize to yourself for all of the mean and negative things you have said about yourself. Now, go and thank every part of your body for doing all the amazing work it does and for being who you are. I know it's an odd exercise, but trust me, this is effective. Start doing this every morning and every night and notice the changes in your perceptions of yourself.
2. Get Moving
What's your favourite form of movement or exercise? For me, I really enjoy boxing and I also like to lift weights. But my favourite form of movement that makes me the happiest, is simply walking outside. Going for long walks (or even short 10-15 minute walks whenever I can), boosts my mood like no other. I love the endorphins I get from my blood pumping, the people I pass on the street that I smile at (and their adorable dogs, I probably smile at them more), the fresh air, and the music or podcasts I listen to that help me feel inspired. I get a wonderful rush from all of that. I always feel a boost in my self-esteem from this, so I fully believe this is a great way to get started today.
In addition, a balanced diet is always helpful, too. Moving your body and putting good food and nutrients into it will certainly help boost your sense of self and overall well-being. But hey, I'm also all about those lazy days with pizza sometimes, so remember that it's all about balance and not to beat yourself up if you didn't get a walk in today or go to that exercise class. Just accept it and know you'll get up and move tomorrow! Incorporating movement into your day will become a welcomed and wonderful habit you'll love to schedule for yourself. So pull out your agenda or calendar on your phone (yep, right now), and schedule in some movement time for yourself. And hey, why not see if a friend wants to join you? Make it fun, not a chore!
3. Surround Yourself with Positive People
It's not a fun thing to do, but it's time to realize that some people in your life are holding you back from being your best self. We sometimes hold on to friendships or relationships because they are convenient, we have history with them, or they make us feel comfortable (but not the good kind of comfortable - the complacent kind, or 'comfort zone' kind). Saying bye to these relationships can be pretty tough, but ending toxic friendships or partnerships will one day make you feel a whole lot better about yourself and improve self-esteem, because by doing this, you're telling the world your worth and what you won't put up with anymore. I'm not saying to go out right now and cut a bunch of friendships, that could be reckless. But if there has been someone who you feel is always negative, isn't reciprocal in their part of the friendship (i.e. you're always going above and beyond for them or always have to be the one to reach out), or doesn't make you feel appreciated or how you so desire to feel, then perhaps re-evaluating what this brings to your life would be good for you. Setting your boundaries will be an empowering process for you.
It's time to be around people who lift you up! When you feel awesome about yourself, you start to attract awesome people into your life. That's why I believe it's important to be kind to others. You never know who you might meet, what struggle someone is going through, or the kind of new friends you'll make that will inspire you to be the best version of yourself.
Exercise: Make a list of qualities, values and morals of the kinds of friends and relationships you want in your life. Set your expectations, set your boundaries, and set your guidelines. You deserve the best!
4. Acknowledge Your Accomplishments & Compliments
Pat yourself on the back (yes, right now. I know, I'm pushy eh?). Please stop downplaying your accomplishments that you have achieved in this life. This self-esteem tip has been a challenge for me, but it's honestly a tip that I have incorporated in my life that has really helped me feel better.
I want you to accept compliments, and accept them graciously. Believe it when people compliment you, congratulate you on an awesome job well done, and when they tell you something nice about you, or they tell you your beautiful. Because let's be real here. It's so much easier to complain about something and write a bad review than it is to take the time to compliment someone or write a good review. So please believe the good things people have to say about you!
Exercise: Write down a list of as many accomplishments you have had in this life, as well as compliments you have received. I'm talking alllll the way back. Like, winning the spelling bee in grade 2, learning to ride a bike, getting a 70% on a math test (okay, the math test is for me. I was never good at math, okay?). Keep this as a memory bank that you can reflect on whenever you are starting to feel your self-esteem dip, so that you can look at this list and put a big ol' smile on your face. All of the accomplishments, all of the compliments. GO!
5. Try Something NEW
Basically, what the title says. Get out there and try something new, once or twice a week (or you can start by trying this once or twice month), that gets you outside of your comfort zone and maybe even scares you a little! Go up to a stranger and spark a conversation, go sign up for a sport or new workout, go to the movies by yourself if you've never done it (my personal favourite), try a new and exotic food, travel, anything! What is something you've always said "ugh, I wish I could do that?". What was the first thing that came to mind when you read that sentence? Write down a list of things you've always wanted to try but have been a bit nervous to, and start ticking them off one by one and see the changes that will come about!
I hope these 5 tips will help you as much as they have for me. So go on.. get out there, try new things, smile at people, tell yourself "I love you", be kind to yourself and to others, surround yourself with awesome people, and set some goals while you're at it. You got this!