From the moment we enter this world, we carry an innate sense of self-worth that remains unshaken until external factors cast doubt upon it. We have all experienced our self-esteem being chipped away – perhaps by a childhood bully, parent, coach, societal standards, social media, or any combination of these factors. After a while, the thoughts in your head also seem to agree with the negative ideas you see and hear about yourself.
It’s crucial to acknowledge that anyone or anything that made you doubt your worth was mistaken on two fronts. First, they underestimated your boundless potential. Second, they wrongly believed they could control your opinion of yourself or your self-esteem. Your self-esteem is entirely your own, and we’re here to empower you to increase it! Keep reading for three ways you can boost your confidence.
What is self-esteem?
Before we dive in, let’s get really clear about self-esteem. By definition, it means confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. This doesn’t mean we feel confident 100% of the time. What it means is that we understand our limitless potential and worthiness to exist. We can embrace challenges and hard times without diminishing our existence or making it mean something about who we are. Criticism can be used as a tool for improvement but not a weapon to destroy us.
You may hear people refer to having either high or low self-esteem. Most of us experience self-esteem on a spectrum that tends to fluctuate throughout our life. We also may lean towards the higher end of the spectrum in one domain of our life compared to another. For example, we may have the utmost confidence in our ability to succeed in school but less about attracting a romantic partner.
When we find ourselves on the lower end of the spectrum it can have negative impacts on the way we think, feel, and behave. Regardless of where you are right now, here are three ways to begin boosting your self-esteem and confidence:
#1 Do something hard every day
The truth is, you are already doing something hard every day. Harboring those feelings of self-doubt and guilt is extremely hard! It’s not something we are consciously choosing to hold onto. The self-doubt creeps in when we lack confidence in our abilities. We all want to experience joy and happiness. So much so that we avoid doing things that make us feel uncomfortable. Here’s the reality though – some of the best things in our lives come from pushing ourselves beyond our comfort zone.
By doing something uniquely challenging to you every day and recognizing what you are accomplishing, you will build confidence. This does not mean you have to climb Mount Everest, although if that is your goal why not? It’s about reminding yourself that it can do anything you set your mind to. Our minds can be stubborn and need proof that we can do difficult things before letting us fully believe in ourselves. Here are some ideas of proven hard things that you can start with:
- Exercising or moving your body in ways that feel healthy for you
- Eating a nutritious diet
- Sticking to a daily routine
- Getting at least 7-8 hours of sleep
- Beginning a new hobby and practicing it regularly
The more you get yourself used to completing hard tasks the more you will trust in your abilities. The decision to actively choose your level of “hard” is more in your control than you think.
#2 Positive affirmations
Think about a time when you were in an anxiety-provoking situation. Perhaps you were at a social event and you couldn’t help but think about what others might be thinking about you. I’m so awkward. Why can’t I just strike up a conversation? They will never invite me again. They must think I’m so weird.
Those negative thoughts impact our self-esteem and increase our anxiety in stressful situations. Positive affirmations can help. Oftentimes the negative thoughts are automatic responses. By practicing positive affirmations, we are introducing the mind to a new language to use. The more you practice, the easier it will feel to access positive affirmations in stressful times.
It’s okay if you don’t feel a complete shift in your thinking while you are saying the affirmation. That actually is a sign that you need to hear it more because you’re having a hard time believing these positive thoughts. It is a practice that takes repetition and perseverance but it’s one that will change your life. Our thoughts are extremely powerful. Here are some affirmations you can practice with.
- I can overcome every obstacle that comes my way.
- I deserve to feel good about myself.
- I learn something new from every experience.
- I believe in my abilities.
#3 Own your self-esteem
Recognize the profound strength that comes from understanding that you are the sole architect of your self-esteem. We know that our confidence will inevitably be challenged by others and society. That is out of our control. What is in our control is the way we continue to care for ourselves and work to bolster our self-worth even in the toughest of storms.
Imagine your self-esteem as a tree deeply rooted in the earth. No matter what comes its way, the foundation of roots is so strong that even a hurricane can’t remove the tree from the ground. The tree might shake and lose a few branches, but through consistent nurturing and care the tree will remain strong in its ability to survive and grow again. Think of your self-esteem as a plant that needs a strong foundation, daily water to grow, and consistent sunlight. Plant a self-esteem seed every day to deepen your roots in your abilities, self-worth, and execution of your goals. You can do it. We believe in you and are here to support you in this journey.
You were once at the highest end of the self-esteem spectrum before your confidence was slowly torn away from you over time. Our trained therapists at Awakened Path are here to rebuild that inner strength and guide you in your journey toward raising your self-esteem. Should you find yourself on the lower end of the spectrum, you are not alone. Connect with us today.