How do I Improve my Self Esteem?
By: Jessica Plancich, MFT
First of all, I want to congratulate you for even going this far and recognizing that you could have better self esteem. The process to improve and have healthy self esteem for the remainder of your life is a process that youâll have to work at forever. Itâs like dishes, laundry or brushing your teethâ¦just because you did it once doesnât mean that itâs gone. Itâs just one of those things that needs regular maintenance, which is what youâre doing now. Below are some key ideas for you to begin to consider and embrace if you want to feel better in the skin that youâre in.
Self Esteem Is a Choice
Youâre already showing that youâre willing on some level to take action toward improving your self esteem, simply because youâre reading this page. How you choose to view yourself is entirely up to you. No one can force you to see yourself in any particular way. You may have influences, history or learning experiences in your past, but it takes you to buy into these ideas. It takes 2: one person or circumstance to try to influence you AND your participation and willingness to agree with it. Otherwise, it remains a neutral event and dies there. If you donât like your reflection, you and you alone can shift that. Thatâs a good thing and a challenging thing.
Challenging if you donât yet believe that you have the ability to change it.
Good since you have the full capacity to see yourself in any way you want.
Understand this completely. If you canât accept this as possible and truthful, then youâll have a hard time with anything else we present. If you are having a difficult time with this notion, ask us questions and seek some support (parents, a counselor) to assist you in grasping this idea.
Hand in hand with seeing your view of yourself as a choice is taking responsibility for your actions. Assuming a victim stance is the first give away that your self esteem needs work. I love to crack at this one; people donât stay victims long when Iâm around because I quickly get them to see how theyâve created their circumstances, so they can create others. Youâll get no pity from us, but you will get support and praise for becoming accountable to and for the only one that you are responsible forâ¦.YOU.
One of the outcomes of taking responsibility is solving problems in your life. When you recognize that something is not going the way you want it to, do something about it. Instead of staying in your problems, find solutions. Ask questions and be willing to hear answers that may be difficult to hear. That means that when a teacher, friend or coach gives you feedback about your behavior, see it as a chance to improve. Itâs not YOU theyâre judging, itâs your BEHAVIOR that theyâre talking about. Try seeing it as something outside of you so that you donât take it so personally.
Taking action toward finding a solution will build which your confidence. When you take on a challenge and strive toward a resolution, your sense of self improves each time, regardless of the outcome. Your willingness to seek answers is the most important self esteem building component here. Despite the consequences, your motivation to quest, inquire, explore and take action is key to improving your sense of worth. No one I know feels good about sticking their heads in the sand.
There are a few common things I see among those with a low sense of self worthâ¦they see the world through dark and doomed lenses. They struggle to see the things in their lives that are flowing well. They have difficulty practicing gratitude for things like their health, having food to eat and family around them. They instead see the ONE aspect of their body that they donât like, the material things they donât have and want or the ways that their families are dysfunctional. Even if you got the things you want today, by next week, youâll want something else, and else and elseâ¦until you spend your life chasing things and stuff, yet never satisfied and happy.
This way of doing life will leave you feeling satisfied If-and-only-if you fulfill your exact expectations of how things SHOULD be. By the way, this hardly ever happens, so itâs no wonder many spend so much time miserable. This leaves next to no wiggle room or possibility of anything else being useful or acceptable to you. This cuts off your recognition of the tons of things that are likely going your way.
Therefore, for the next week, for each time that you complain and moan about something, find something to be grateful for. For example, if your knee is in pain and you canât use it very well, be thankful for even having a knee to use at all. There are lots of vets out there whoâd love to have it.
Examine Your Expectations of Yourself
As you start to do things to improve your self esteem, I encourage you to do something different this timeâ¦be patient and kind to yourself. This is not something like taking a math test. This has no beginning or end; itâs a new way of being and a new lifestyle that youâre stepping into. This is related to the reason diets donât workâ¦people put a concentrated amount of effort for a specific amount of time, only to return to the unhealthy habits that broke their pant seams to begin with. Adjusting your lifestyle means practicing new ways of relating to yourself, today, tomorrow and forevermore.
Along these lines, I invite you to reconsider your expectation of perfection. Perfection is a changing set of notions that can and will mess up this process. Your version of perfect today will change a day, a month and a year from today. What are you chasing? This is a changing set of values that you think are important right now. Basing your worth off of that is like chasing your own tail. Consider giving it up watch how much happier youâll be.
This means that there is no finish line and youâll benefit from practicing these skills for the rest of your life. Sorry to break this to you, but this is not like a shot that you have once and forget about. This involves a shift in your perspective, including views of yourself, people and circumstances around you.
Jessica Plancich, MA, MFT is a licensed marriage family therapist with a background in clinical, spiritual and somatic psychology, reiki, yoga and massage therapy. She uses an integrative approach to healing and fuses Eastern and Western wisdom. Additionally, her company, Innerfinity specializes in assisting people to live from the heart and make choices in wellness, relationships and service that are motivated from the sage within. Through her own practices and insights, she hopes to inspire others to activate their intrinsic gifts and highest potential.