Well done! You look great! We may say that for others, but how often do we say it for ourselves? We seem to be taught from an early age not to praise ourselves. But is it really such a bad (arrogant? boastful?) thing to do? I think not.

People generally show great respect for those who take a pride in looking smart, having a tidy house, a well tended garden, well behaved children, doing a good job and so forth. When we are complimented by others about such things it makes us feel good about ourselves. So why should we not give ourselves a pat on the back for what is significant to us in the way of achievement – our own personal self esteem booster.

This could be particularly valuable for those times in our lives when we don’t seem to be receiving (or maybe are just not hearing) praise from others; when we are finding it really difficult to think well of ourselves on any front. Confidence and self esteem may be low because we are going through a hard time, feeling depressed and have let things slide a bit, are in a family or work situation where we are taken for granted or constantly put down or, perhaps, our whole upbringing has just never allowed us to feel good about ourselves.

If this sounds like you, now is the time to begin to boost your own self esteem and develop your confidence.

Make a start today by looking at yourself in the mirror (yes, I know you hate doing that, but give it a try). Look yourself over - eyes, hair, figure, smile, complexion, hands, feet and so forth - and pick out your best feature (yes, you will have one). Then, looking yourself straight in the eye, say out loud:- “………(your name), you have a fantastic ………(whatever feature you have chosen)” and smile. Remember these words throughout the day and each time you think of them – smile!

A smile is a wonderful self esteem booster. Not only does it do wonders for your facial muscles but you will find that you will attract smiles to you and your spirits will be lifted. However, bear in mind that this may be a little more difficult on a cold, wet Monday morning, so don’t give up to soon in the day!

Try the mirror exercise daily and gradually work through every feature. Then, if there really is one thing about your looks that you absolutely cannot bring yourself to affirm, try this while looking yourself over in the mirror:- “……(your name), you may have an awful ………(feature you really don’t like) but you have fantastic ……(list all your good features)” and smile. I suspect that by the time you get to the end of this statement you may well be turning this way and that and laughing out loud at yourself. To be able to laugh at our own foibles is a big step forward in feeling good about ourselves so try not to take yourself too seriously in all this.

Now you are feeling better about your body image try moving on to complimenting yourself on your actions – something you feel that you have achieved or done well recently – no matter how small or insignificant it may seem to others. Use your mirror again and looking yourself in the eye as before say out loud:- “Well done……(your name), you did really well” - and don’t forget that smile. Once you have got used to giving yourself praise in this way try and say those words for yourself whenever you feel you have done well. Remember it does not have to be a big achievement to receive an affirmation – just so long as it is important to you is what matters. You will soon find that you do not have to say the words out loud to receive the affirmation – just to think them will be enough to make you feel good about yourself.

By now you will be feeling better about who you are and what you do, so why not give yourself a reward. Think of something that you would really like to do or have as a treat. It need not be anything expensive or difficult to organise. Just keep it small at first – a bunch of flowers, a cream cake with your coffee, a bit of window shopping, a long, hot, bubbly bath by candlelight – whatever would please you, it’s your choice. Remind yourself that you deserve it and that you don’t have to feel guilty. A bit of self indulgence is fine now and again!

As you learn to listen to and believe your own inner voice telling you that you are OK, you will begin to feel more confident. You will begin to feel that you really deserve these affirmations for who you are and what you do. You will find that you are receiving compliments from others and because you are able to believe them you will be able to give back an appreciative smile rather than that old glum look of disbelief which has kept others at a distance.

Feeling good about yourself will help you feel more positive about people around you. You will find you are able to genuinely compliment them and feel good about it, rather than getting that old inadequate feeling that they are so much ‘better’ than you. Remember there is room in the world for us all to feel good about ourselves.

Ultimately you will be able to take more control of your life, have the confidence to make good decisions for yourself, to believe that you are important enough for your actions to count, to feel truly valued for who you are and what you do. All this won’t happen overnight and, of course, you will need to do more than the exercises suggested, but - if you believe it will happen and work at it (keep listening to that positive, self affirming inner voice, read some good books on the subject, join an assertiveness class)- it will happen. The world will be a better place for you and those around you.

Go for it, give it your best shot – believe me, believe yourself – you’re worth it.

Author's Bio: 

Jeanne is a regular contributor for www.selfhelper.co.uk and has her own column as ‘Agony Aunt’. Jeanne is an experienced teacher, personal and relationship counsellor, polarity therapist and healer. Through these four mediums and her wisdom, insight and life experience Jeanne has developed a unique style of healing, guidance and personal empowerment. She has counselled for Relate, the prison service and in a GP surgery. She has worked successfully with a wide range of people and problems and had her own counselling and polarity therapy practice in North Birmingham. She now lives in America, Florida but continues to write for SelfHelper.