20 ways to end your struggle with low self-esteem

Science and Health

We all want to improve our lives, and we put a lot of effort into it. The basis of all self-improvement is high and healthy self-esteem. This is really the start of any valuable change we want to make.

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is your opinion about yourself. It’s influenced by factors such as your self-confidence, identity and sense of belonging. Self-esteem can be high, low or somewhere in between.

What can lower self-esteem?

Many different factors cause lower self-esteem including people in your life, your emotional and/or physical surroundings and your approach to life. To give you a better idea, here’s a list of things that cause self-esteem to drop:

  • Abuse: Abusive and difficult relationships with parents during childhood or adulthood will damage your self-esteem.
  • Negative thoughts: A pessimistic approach to life lowers self-esteem, since the mind is flooded with negative thoughts.
  • Difficult life events like unemployment or losing a loved one.
  • Social standards where you crave the approval of others cause self-esteem to plummet.
  • Setting goals is great, but only if you know how to set them correctly. Unattainable, unrealistic goals cause self-esteem to drop.
Be careful of perfectionistic goals (Illustrative). (credit: Chris Yang/Unsplash)

Why is self-esteem important?

High self-esteem affects your decision-making process, relationships, emotional health and general well-being. It also allows you to believe in your ability to learn, achieve and contribute to the world. This means that your ideas, feelings and opinions are just as important as those of others.

Self-esteem is a framework that allows you to celebrate your strengths, challenge your weaknesses and feel good about yourself and your life. 

Skills can always be improved, and the possibilities of change are endless. But for this to happen, you first must believe that you deserve everything that’s good, give yourself permission to accept it, and feel entitled to enjoy the best that the world offers. This is done by improving self-esteem.

Many positive things will happen if you decide to improve your self-esteem:

You’ll enjoy personal growth and find satisfaction and meaning in life. Your relationships will improve. You’ll feel relaxed and safe when speaking with others, especially in tense circumstances.

You’ll speak your mind without fearing what others will think of you. Criticism can be accepted without wasting time and energy protecting the ego. You won’t need to impress others. You’ll be more assertive and able to see positive aspects even in potentially challenging situations. One can adapt better to changes and then receive and give warmth and love freely.

Here are 20 quick tips to improve self-esteem:

  1. Do something physical.
  2. Be open to learning something new.
  3. Get out of your comfort zone.
  4. Let negative people go
  5. Focus on what you can control.
  6. Read inspiring passages or books.
  7. Start saying positive things to and about yourself.
  8. Practice saying “no” and say it when you need to.
  9. Try to avoid comparing yourself to others.
  10. Celebrate your successes.
  11. Make time for hobbies and do things you enjoy.
  12. Write a list of your positive qualities.
  13. Don’t worry about other people’s opinions of yourself or what you like.
  14. Keep learning new skills.
  15. Be creative.
  16. Sincerely say “thank you” when you’re complimented, and don’t dismiss praise.
  17. Maintain a healthy and aesthetic appearance.
  18. Forgive yourself for how you treated yourself in the past.
  19. Set boundaries in your relationships.
  20. And remember that the first crucial step to improving your life is improving your self-esteem.

Meirav Dayan is a personal and business coach, and an expert in increasing self-confidence and changing thinking patterns.