First of all, we need to define what is self-esteem. From my point of view and experience, I see self-esteem as a way of thinking, feeling, and acting that implies you accept, respect, trust and believe in yourself. To believe in yourself means that you feel you deserve to have the good things in life. It also means that you have confidence that you can fulfill your deepest personal needs, aspirations, and goals. Self-esteem comes from within where you see yourself as a worthy, secure person who feels capable and able to handle whatever challenges may arise. That is having the “knowing”, that whatever happens to you in life, you can handle it!

For most people, self-esteem can raise or decrease depending on how they are feeling on a particular day, what they have experienced, and how capable they feel at handling these challenges. In order to help you to measure your self-esteem, I would like you to use a scale. On a scale of 1 – 10, with 1 being low self-esteem and 10 being high self-esteem. Ask yourself where you are right now!

For these exercises to be most effective, you need to be filling them out when you are a 6 or more, on your scale. Once this is done, put the list in a place that is easy to access, and remind yourself that these are your self-esteem builders to use whenever you fall below the number 5. These exercises will move you up the scale, if used as described.

Exercise 1:
Write a list of 15 things you have accomplished over the past 5 years
- Asking for a raise
- feeling good about starting an exercise program
- eating healthier.
- finishing a book
- sticking to your budget
It doesn’t have to be a big thing, just something that you feel good about.

Exercise 2. Write a thank-you note to someone who has been kind to you in the past. You don’t have to send it out, just writing it, will make you feel better. It could be a friend or relative, who was there for you when you went through a hard time. It could be a thoughtful thing your child did, a teacher who was helpful, a kind neighbour, a boss, even a stranger who helped you out. Writing a thank-you note makes you focus on something positive that has happened and this attention will raise you up the scale. What number did you start with? Where are you now?

Exercise 3.

Write a list of 10 things you appreciate in your life right now. Example:
- I am glad to be in an apartment I can easily afford
- I am glad to have air conditioning in this heat!
- I am glad I am working in a company with good health and vacation benefits
- I am lucky to have good friends who are there for me
- I trust my doctor to look after my health

Exercise 4.
Remember a past positive memory. Look through some old pictures. It could be a nice trip you once took, or a visit with your family, friends you spent time with or beautiful scenes you photographed.

Exercise 5
Another way to feel more positive is to check your perceptions and judgments regarding situations. For example, if you are feeling hurt or angry because of something that someone said or did, it may help to question their motives. Sometimes people may be well-meaning, but just may have chosen the wrong words to express themselves. It may be helpful to ask yourself, “Even though I feel angry or hurt as a result of what this person said or did, maybe they were trying to be helpful.” Is it possible that they had good intentions even if their methods or manners were hurtful or incorrect? This is not to excuse unacceptable behaviour, but sometimes people with the best intentions, don’t realize how others can misinterpret what they say, thereby causing hurt feelings. If you can look at the situation with more compassion and understanding, rather than feeling insulted or hurt, it can help you to forgive and let it go and contribute to your feeling better. You can also ask for clarification, thereby asserting yourself, and feeling more in control of the situation.

Exercise 6:
Take a calculated risk! People with lower self-esteem tend to experience a lot of fear and anxiety when it comes to making changes. However, it has been found that taking even a small risk and seeing that you survive it, is enough to raise self-esteem and increase your self-confidence. This risk can be as little as going to a gym to exercise, asking a friend for a favor, setting your limits, or smiling at a stranger. Try it, you might be surprised at how good it makes you feel. And that feeling will help you to feel empowered.

These are just a few exercises that can help to raise your self-esteem. There are many others. If you notice that raising your self-esteem does not last very long, even after doing these exercises, then it is possible that you may have some negative self-talk sabotaging these efforts. In this case, you may want to consider seeing a solution-focused therapist, for some short term counseling that can help challenge those negative beliefs
and help you to release them so that they no longer interfere with your efforts to raise your self-esteem.

P.S. If you find these exercises helpful and want to learn more, don’t forget that I will be starting an Assertiveness course in September. Stay tuned for more information.

P.P.S. If you have any friends or family members who might be interested in this topic,
or would like to join my free monthly newsletter group, please pass it along.


Faith can move mountains. Doubt can create them” Howard Wight

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