Besides having therapy, there are several things you can do yourself, to improve your self-esteem:
- Practice self-compassion: Be kind and understanding toward yourself, especially when you are feeling down or struggling. Treat yourself supportively, the way you would treat a good friend.
- Set realistic goals: Aim to achieve things that are challenging but within your reach. This can help you feel competent and capable. And acknowledge every small step you have made towards these goals. Rome wasn’t built in a day and all the small steps will add up.
- Take care of yourself: Make sure to get enough sleep, eat well, and engage in regular physical activity. Taking active steps towards good health creates a sense of agency, which helps you feel good about yourself and improves your self-esteem.
- Surround yourself with supportive people: Seek out relationships with people who are positive and encouraging. Minimise contact with people who are critical of you. This helps you feel good about yourself.
- Challenge negative thoughts: When you find yourself thinking negative thoughts, take a moment to question them. Are they really true? Are they helpful? If not, try to reframe them in a more positive light.
- Focus on your strengths: Instead of focusing on your weaknesses, focus on your strengths and the things you are good at. Everyone is good at something and those things you are good at enable you to make a unique contribution to the world.
- Don’t compare yourself with others and tell yourself you are not as good as someone else. You’ll always be better and worse than someone else. Stay focused on your own abilities.
It bears repeating: acknowledge every small step you take, and every small change you make. You are capable of so much more than you think!