Self-Awareness

Boosting self-esteem, a crucial and gradual process

As Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent”. It may sound quite harsh at first, but I have experienced it myself and that is tragically right. Tragically since you may judge yourself and feel guilty if you trusted someone who belittled you, but you should not — it is part of the learning process. The one thing you need to think about is why this happened, what did come from you, and how to change your pattern and behaviour.

Please don’t forget that we all tend to be our harshest critics which is clearly not helpful either. Be kind to yourself! Self-esteem is how you value and perceive yourself, it is then crucial to avoid negative self-talk and focus instead on your positives. Some suffer from a critical voice inside their head making them second-guess absolutely everything — their potential, what they have just done or said -, which leads necessarily to deep insecurity. Again, this must be avoided. If you hold onto feelings of bitterness, anger, guilt, resentment, you keep yourself stuck in a constant circle of extreme negativity. Which, you may have guessed, won’t help you feel better about yourself either. You have to forgive to move on… Here are a few suggestions to help you improve your self-esteem.

Connect with peope who truly love you. Social media can be quite damaging in that sense. Posts are all about your so-called friends’ happiness, great times, wealth, success, and love. This may make you feel unloved, like losing out, ostracized. Remember that those walls are not the full picture of their lives, just one potential facet. Focus on your life instead, what you can improve according to your own values and desires, not someone else’s. Spend more real time with people who do care about you, whom you may learn from positively. Try to ask them what they like about you which could challenge your negative thinking.

Stand your ground. Learn to be assertive by saying no to things you don’t want to do, that you sense are not good for you. Stretching yourself to please others in order to feel loved automatically betrays your core values. You must love yourself first, not by expecting to fill this void. Set the right boundaries at the right time, do not bend over backwards to please others — you must respect yourself and behave in a way this is clear to others.

Focus on your positives. Write a list of things you have been proud of achieving, even the smallest things in your mind. Reflect on them — why this specific activity, thought, made you happy, and the reasons why you felt good about it. You may also include the aspects you like about yourself and focus on them to grow. Gradually, change your self-perception; positive affirmations are extremely helpful. Think about it…

Exercise. Yes, this may sound challenging if you are not used to working out, but so good in the end! Exercising increases serotonin activity — the molecule of will power and gratification -, making you feel good about yourself. As simple as that. In numerous studies, exercise has been shown to increase both serotonin production and release. Aerobic exercises, like running and biking, yoga, dance, do boost serotonin. However, you should opt for the right activity for you whatever it is. The goal is to make you feel better, relaxed, less tense, and more in line with who you really are. Motivation is key to success and you can only feel motivated if you choose an activity you really want to do or explore.

Never forget to take care of yourself mentally and physically. In the end, the only opinion which should matter is yours. By getting to know yourself better with positive self-talk, you learn to set the right boundaries and respect your core values. Life then looks good and challenges less harsh since you are now able to overcome them and bounce back in an even better way.


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