12 WORKING TECHNIQUES TO REBUILD SELF-ESTEEM ON ANY STAGE OF YOUR LIFE
The more you accomplish and achieve, the more valuable you feel.
A true self-esteem doesn’t depend on people around you. It is found by knowing and accepting your personal qualities and strengths without comparing yourself to others.
The only way that you can self-grow and build a healthy self-esteem is through self-discovery. You can’t be exactly as someone else; you are the only one with a unique set of personality qualities and experiences. Discover your identity and passion, and remember that you were born an original, and you are the master of your life!
Of course, you should surround yourself with positive people who would support you instead of pushing you down, but it’s not a main factor for building your self-esteem. If you heavily depend on other people’s opinions and approvals, your sense of worth and confidence is already hurting.
Unfortunately, your self-esteem (or lack of it) was shaped by your parents, school, peers, and other people in your life. It also affects the way people treat you now.
So although your self-esteem is largely a result of behaviors of others, it dictates others a certain approach toward you. By loving and believing in yourself, you “teach” people with your attitude that you are valuable and don’t tolerate disrespect from anyone. If you don’t feel good enough, people sense it and treat you accordingly, the way you treat yourself.
So you are stuck in this vicious low self-esteem circle, can you get out of it and start living a fulfilling life?
You definitely can.
TECHNIQUES TO REBUILD SELF-ESTEEM
1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY, NEEDS AND WANTS.
Learn to live in balance with your body, mind, and heart. Your body sends you signals if something is right or wrong for you.
If your body tells you that you need water or a nice stretch, don’t ignore it. There is an important message behind any pain or urge.
Always listen to your gut feeling, it warns you for a reason. Sometimes we feel that something is wrong and dangerous even before our mind grasps it. And follow your heart.
Find time to do what you love; your happiness depends on it!
2. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF.
Most people grew up learning how to take care of others and “behave well”.
Taking care of yourself is crucial. You can start now. Treat yourself the way a great parent would treat their child, and you will notice that you begin thinking and feeling about yourself much better.
A good care includes:
eating healthy foods,
choosing a physical exercise you love (dance, gym, biking, walking, sports, etc.),
planning enjoyable activities for yourself,
learning new things,
doing things that make you use your special talent or ability,
getting together with the positive, like-minded people that treat you with love and respect,
giving yourself rewards and treating yourself with personal services (spa, beauty salon, a special photo session, or massage),
making your living space comfortable and attractive,
doing something nice for another person.
Schedule self-care ahead of time. It can be 30 minutes in the morning or evening before bed. Decide ahead of time how exactly you will use it. Write in your journal or notebook about how you treated yourself every night before going to bed. You will see how your self-esteem starts improving.
3. SELF-APPRECIATION LISTS
Take a piece of paper or your journal for each list and write down these important things (at least 10 of each) to remind yourself how special and valuable you are. You can add more things, re-write, and read them often. You can create a board with these lists attached to it and put the board next to your bed or a place in the house you use the most.
- List of your strengths and positive qualities,
- List of your achievements (recovering from a serious illness, graduating from the college, raising your kids, building loving relationships, getting only good grades, helping someone, getting an award, etc.),
- List of learned life lessons (what you learned from every tough situation you went through, and what kind of strength they gave you),
- Gratitude list (write down everything what you are grateful for, starting with basic survival things such as food, air, and shelter; don’t forget about opportunities you received, people who loved and helped you, and your own talents and achievements).
- List of things that you can do that make you feel good about yourself,
- List of things you can treat or reward yourself with,
- List of things you can do for your friends and family or help someone else.
4. POSITIVE SELF-TALK AND AFFIRMATIONS
Affirmations are positive statements about yourself. They are designed the way as you already feel good about yourself. If you repeat them often, you start believing them.
Through affirmations you declare or assert your desirable state of being. They should be expressed in the present tense, so your mind could absorb them as your new reality.
As you keep repeating them, you believe them more, and over time they change your mental, emotional, and physical state. They will replace any negative self-talk you have.
Just make sure to not use negative words as you craft your affirmations. Instead of saying “I am not weak”, you should say “I am strong”.
Another important tip is to avoid words that mean uncertainty such as “I want”, “I try”, “I should”, “I might”, and so on. Use powerful verbs in your statements.
Here are some examples of affirmations to boost your self-esteem and confidence:
I deserve to live a fulfilling, happy life.
I am a good person.
I have a lot to offer to the world.
People love me and make me feel good about myself.
I belong in this world.
I am unique, and I value everything about me.
I accept my strengths and weaknesses.
I am grateful for everything I have.
I accept and experience all my feelings.
It is safe for me to be vulnerable.
I reward myself for trying new things.
My dreams are coming true.
I have the power and freedom to create the life I want.
I listen and respond to my own needs.
I forgive myself.
I let the Past go and start building my new, happy life.
I can handle anything that is coming my way.
I am stronger than I think.
5. VISUALIZATION BOARD AND ART AROUND YOU.
Creating a visualization board is a lot of fun and a powerful manifestation tool.
We all are visual creatures. Your board can reflect your personal goals, desires, and anything you love and want to achieve.
Collect or draw pictures of people in your life, places you want to visit, your dream house, your dream job, things you want to acquire, and feelings you want to experience.
You can write your affirmations and goals on the board between the pictures, and motivational quotes that empower you.
Place your board in places that are visible to you every day. Stop and reflect on it, think about things on your board as if you already have them, until you feel gratitude for it.
Choosing art for your house is very important. Art evokes emotions and directs our thinking processes. It attracts certain things in your life, things that you think about as you look at the art piece or a photograph.
My main goal as a portrait photographer is to empower and motivate people with a fine work of photographic art. If you see a portrait of yourself where you are beautiful, powerful, and happy, every day on your wall, I know that it will lift you up when you need a boost of positivity.
Any art should be chosen wisely. It’s important what you feel as you look at it. It will surround you every day, so make sure it makes you feel good.
6. SELF-HONOR BOOK.
If you enjoy scrap-booking, you can create a book that celebrates you as a great person.
Put pictures of yourself of different ages into your book, cards you received, your favorite things in life. Have this book in your purse, or keep it on your table, so you could access it if you need a self-esteem boost.
7. MIRROR EXERCISE.
In my experience many people had difficulties with this simple exercise, but I believe that the more you do it, the easier it gets.
Every morning as you wake up, look at your reflection and think about yourself. This is the only person who you are stuck with forever, and it’s a shame if you don’t like this person.
You need to love and accept yourself the way you are. If you don’t love yourself, you can’t love anyone else either, because you can’t give others something that you don’t have.
Look at your face and into your eyes, and smile.
Doesn’t it feel good that you exist, and that you are here?
Think about everything you love about yourself, your achievements and people in your life that care about you.
What are you grateful for?
What do you love about your face, your body, and your smile?
Promise yourself to take care about your needs and desires.
You are here for a reason. You deserve to be happy!
8. COMPLIMENTING EXERCISE.
Get together with your friend, and take turns complimenting each other.
Make sure your compliments are sincere, and you say what you really think and feel.
If you are friends, the chances are that you both have a lot of positive things to say about each other. After the exercise reflect and think about everything you heard. Doesn’t it feel good?
9. SELF-DISCOVERY JOURNAL AND ART THERAPY EXERCISES.
If you don’t like journals, you can use any notebook. The goal is to learn about yourself as much as you can. If you don’t know your goals, personality traits, unique qualities, passion, wants and needs, you waver through your life like a ship without captain that is lost in the ocean.
The ultimate goal is to set long-term and short-term personal goals based on your personality and passion/purpose. If you know where you are going in your life, you feel much better about yourself and your place in this world.
Every time you achieve something, you feel motivated and empowered.
Start with writing down your priorities, values, and beliefs; these are very important things that shape your character.
Ask yourself questions about your needs and desires, things you love to do, your roles in life, your strengths and weaknesses.
Art therapy can be used in this journal, too. There are many art exercises you can use to discover your life perspective and personal goals. I have a lot of tips and exercises for the self-discovery journal and art therapy that I will put into a separate article.
10. ASSERTIVENESS PRACTICE.
People with low self-esteem have difficulties to say “No”, but it’s an important thing to learn. You need to be able to stand up for your rights, and express yourself freely.
Being assertive means that you are sure of what you want and need, and you are expressing your wants and needs clearly to others.
Don’t confuse assertiveness with aggression. Aggression is a symptom of a person trying to hide their low self-esteem.
Learning to be assertive takes time and practice. Write down ten of your personal strengths; it will help you to appreciate your unique qualities, and see what kind of life suits you, and what you should do for a living. You will realize what you can offer others, so you will feel more confident and negotiate what you want from people with different strengths, because they are probably looking for someone with yours.
11. MEDITATION AND MINDFULNESS PRACTICE.
Your negative self-talk and self-limiting beliefs create stories in your mind that affect your life perspective, choices you make, and people you attract to your life. These frightening stories cripple your willpower, force you live in a fear, and invite more and more negative things into your life. We get what we think of and what we believe in.
To break self-limited beliefs and start building a new, positive story about yourself, you need to understand where your negative beliefs are coming from, and realize that it’s in the past, and now everything can be different, if you let yourself to accept it and let it go.
As your negative thoughts and fears come, just let them be and ask yourself if it is true for you now. When you realize that it’s just an old fear that is not helpful anymore, create a new story and visualize it often.
Have some quiet time alone in the morning or before bed, sit or lay down in a comfortable position, relax, focus, and visualize your new story. Give yourself time to fully mentally engage, until all of your senses are involved in the mindfulness process and trigger positive emotions. You might “see” the story you created in your mind’s eye, “hear” the sounds, and “feel” the things around. The more senses are affected, the more real it becomes, the more you believe in it.
We can meditate with our eyes open or closed, concentrate on some object, on our breaths, or on the sounds around us. Meditation on the natural environment is beneficial, because we can feel a better connection to the nature that helps us to heal and reduce stress.
12. BUILDING YOUR SUPPORT NETWORK.
Do you have family or friends that make you feel great about yourself, support and empower you every time you feel down?
These are the kind of people that you need to surround yourself with as often as possible. They are the people you should seek if you need advice or a confidence boost. Join the group of like-minded people, people that share your interests and passions.
And if you can’t reach them when you need support, have a “confidence tools” around you. It can be your favorite song or dance, a piece of art you are creating, a nice nature walk, your favorite bright-red lipstick, the dress that makes you look awesome, your beautiful portrait on the wall, or anything else that triggers your confidence, positive self-image, and affirmative self-talk.
Feel free to post here or message me about which techniques you find helpful, which ones you would like to know more about, and any new techniques you can suggest to those who need to boost their self-esteem.