Many of us tend to look at the idea of self esteem as just that, an idea and not a reality. Our culture tries to encourage the building up of self esteem as well as a sense of self identity, but the reality is there are many things in the world today that try to break us down. It seems that one only has to tap on a social media app and be reminded of how they don’t measure up, someone has something that they don’t, or how they are never going to accomplish anything. In the day and age of never ending comparison or constant negativity, how do we build up our own self esteem or self identity?
1. Start accepting yourself. There is a saying that many of us have said to each other over and over again, “You can’t love if you don’t love yourself.” Many people have tried to really focus on loving themselves, but the hard part comes when they have to accept themselves for being who they are. This also includes our faults and things that we find less then perfect. You don’t have to be perfect to love yourself. You only have to accept who you are unconditionally and see yourself as the gift that you as a person are to the world around you.
2. Adopt a positive mindset. A chief problem with accepting ourselves is the tendency to focus on the negative about the world around us. When our minds are focused on the negative, the only thing we will be drawn to is the negative. When we make the choice to see the positive around us, it makes it easier for us to see the positive in ourselves.
3. Make it a point to put yourself first. We don’t mean this in a selfish or arrogant way. Rather we mean this in the fact that there are times when we have to focus on taking care of ourselves. Many people with low self esteem find themselves focusing on others completely to the point where they neglect their own health and safety. Putting ourselves first helps us with being able to be the best versions of ourselves that can truly be present and help others.
4. Identify what you need and what you want. Many people in the world today tend to not know what they need or even what they may want. Part of developing your own self-esteem is developing your own sense of identity. Many people try to mirror what other people may need and what other people may want in order to either be accepted or because they are ashamed of themselves. Personal needs and wants are nothing to be ashamed of, and they do require time and attention from all of us.
5. Look for the good. This falls in line with focusing on the positive. Looking for the good about ourselves and about our lives is essential to building up our own self esteem. Another way of looking at this is focusing on things that we can be grateful for every single day. This helps us see that live may not be as bad as we think that it is.
6. Practice saying “no.” We live in a culture that is very resistant to the word “no.” Many people seem to think that the word “no” should not ever be used in any context whether social or personal. In reality, “no” is an essential word due to the fact that it reminds us and others that we do have limits. Limits are not a bad thing! They are actually very important in order to keep us and everyone around us safe and healthy.
7. Develop your own hobbies and things that you like. As stated before, developing your own sense of self -esteem means developing your own sense of identity. This means identifying your own likes and dislikes when it comes to every day things. This might mean delving deep inside and learning more about yourself as a whole.
8. Don’t play the comparison game. Many people get wrapped up in the idea that they are lacking something due to looking at the lives of others. With the prevalence of social media nowadays, many people look and see things that their friends have and then compare themselves to that picture. The problem with the comparison game is that it never ends. Someone has something bigger or better then what you or I have at times, or they may get the things that we want quickly while we have to wait. The comparison game is also not a very fair one due to the fact that many of us are comparing our lives to a life that is completely different and on a different trajectory. Playing the comparison game will only sabotage your and your efforts to be your best self and leave you feeling empty.
9. Try to meet the needs of others if you can. There are many people out there in this world today that are hurting in some way. They may require people like you or me to be willing to step out and contribute something that would be useful for building them up. This might mean that you donate some old clothes to charity or go down to the local food bank and volunteer.
10. Be willing to recognize your own successes. Many people with low self esteem will intentionally ignore their own successes and highlight their failures. This only contributes to the endless lines of misery and self defeat. Any success even if it is small can be highlighted and praised in some way.
Self-esteem is a necessary component when it comes to building our own identity and our own person-hood. Everyone has a right to develop and grow these things in a healthy and productive way. These steps can be great building blocks for everyone to begin their own self-esteem journey.