Feeling good about yourself is a foundation for success in every area of your life. Sadly, most of us grow up feeling that we’re not good enough, not smart enough, or not whatever to truly have a wonderful life. Here are some tips for developing great self-esteem.

1. Accept who you are and where you are right now. Too often people criticize themselves for not being some false image society portrays (not pretty enough, not skinny, not rich, etc.) Do you do that to yourself? Ironically when you stop criticizing and start accepting yourself (Louise Hay calls it loving yourself, others call it self-esteem) your life can really take off because you’re not wasting energy on criticism!

2. Be dependent on yourself, not others, for feeling good about you. It’s always a great feeling to get compliments from others, but the real acknowledgment has to come from inside YOU.

3. Don't compare yourself to other people. (I’m not successful because I don’t have X amount of money or have a prestigious job.) You are your unique and special self, contributing your energy to the planet. Comparisons always lead to judgment, and then- you’re right back to criticism!

4. Distinguish between your behavior and who you really are.
As a spiritual being in a human experience, you make mistakes, even when you are consciously walking a spiritual path. But who you are in essence is Love and Light and a reflection of the Divine. So sometimes your behavior doesn’t reflect this. Make amends as appropriate, forgive yourself, and know you can make a different choice next time

5. Stop the shoulds. Shoulding on yourself is just another form of criticism! Sometimes the shoulds come from others, telling you how you should behave or be, and other times you make them up! Shoulds mean you were wrong, you are wrong, or you will be wrong! They’ll make you feel tense. So make a list of your “shoulds,” tear it up, and change the shoulds to coulds.

6. Take responsibility for your life now. Despite difficult experiences growing up or in adulthood, “they” do not have power over you. You are the power in your life and you have the ability to make choices to live the life of your dreams.

7. Be willing to focus in the NOW. Dwelling on the past and anger or regret OR worrying constantly about the future rob the present of your energy. Resolve the past. See a therapist if necessary. Learn to trust the future. Then you have a reservoir of energy for achieving what you want in the present.

8. Know that you're always doing the best you can, with the knowledge and experience you have at the moment. If you find yourself thinking, "why did I do THAT?” know it’s probably some old unconscious belief. For example, I once lost a beautiful new coat my mother had bought me before I even wore it! Years later, I realized that my belief growing up was “you can have nice things, but not the very best because we can’t afford the best.” Well, that coat was the best. But having it clashed with my unconscious belief and so I lost it! Now I know I was doing
the best I could at the time.

9. Compliment others often, truthfully and sincerely. Be complimenting others, not only do they feel good, but you are strengthening in yourself the habit of seeing the positive.

10. Learn and practice the new skills to create the life that you want: Positive self-talk, affirmations, and visualizing what you want.

Author's Bio: 

Patricia J. Crane, Ph.D. is an author, speaker, and trainer. Her book, Ordering from the Cosmic Kitchen: The Essential Guide to Powerful, Nourishing Affirmations, is available from her website or Amazon. Patricia and partner Rick also train Heal Your Life workshop leaders. www.drpatriciacrane.com