How we talk to ourselves or our inner dialogue, greatly effects how we feel about ourselves, our self-esteem and self-worth. Often we are unaware of our inner dialogue because it becomes so automatic that we don't even realize it's there. When you begin to pay attention closely and listen for it, you will become aware of your thoughts. This gives us the chance to change our thoughts to ones that help instead of harm us.

7 Things You Can Do To Improve self-esteem

1. Identify your inner critic
What is it you are telling yourself that is making you feel bad? It is our own thoughts that somehow have a habit of emphasizing failures or flaws in ourselves. These thoughts are so automatic that we are often, hardly aware of them. The key to changing the negative self talk is to first be able to become aware of it!

2. Challenge your inner critic
Once you become more aware of the negative thought patterns the next step is to stop them. A couple of simple things you might try are 1) tell yourself STOP, you can shout it out loud or in our head. Picture a big red stop sign. 2) do something to distract yourself, which often shifts the focus to something outside of yourself.

3. Develop Affirmations
So now you've become more aware of your negative thoughts, you interrupt the thoughts, but now you have to have something to replace those thoughts with. How about some positive thoughts or affirmations? For example the negative voice would say something like "I always screw things up". You might instead say to yourself "it's okay to make mistakes; I don't have to be perfect”.

4. Recognize your good points
It's easy to recognize our faults, we're so used to doing this, but how often do you say to yourself "you did a great job". There are things you're good at, so go ahead and acknowledge them, write them down so you can remind yourself of them when you are getting down on yourself.

5. Stop comparing yourself to others
We assume just by looking at someone that they are more put together than we are. Remember the old saying "don't judge a book by its cover". Well the same holds true for people. You never know what's going on in someone's life just by looking at them. Appearances can be deceiving.

6. Learn self-acceptance
Accept the positive things about yourself as well as your faults. No one is perfect and setting impossible standards of perfection will only make you feel worse. You need to be happy with yourself before you can enjoy a happy life.

7. Nurture yourself
We can do this in many ways, but one of the most important is developing positive self-talk to replace the negative thoughts. If we can change our thoughts to positive, compassionate, encouraging ones that lift us up instead of bringing us down we can begin to feel more positively about ourselves. Some very simple things you could do to nurture yourself is get a massage, take a long walk, relax with a good book, do whatever you find pleasurable.

Author's Bio: 

Denise Fitzpatrick is a licensed mental health counselor who specializes in working with women and families helping them create the life they want. As a therapist I teach women how to take care of themselves without feeling guilty and help them get what they want from their life. I am passionate about my work with women and I work hard to achieve the results you want.