Our self-esteem represents how we feel about our self. You can think of it as an internal barometer that sets how we feel we cope in the world. Building and maintaining self-esteem is important to maintain good mental health.  Poor self-esteem leads to being critical and beating yourself up over simple mistakes. There is a loss of perspective on what you have achieved.

One of the first things we can do to improve our self-esteem is accepting ourselves. It is worth noticing that trying to be better in all areas is a game you can never win, someone will always be better. You can never enjoy your success if you are always looking at what you are still to achieve. If we can stop comparing ourselves to others, and start valuing ourselves from the standards that come from within, we begin to notice how far we have come. Then we will be able to value ourselves for our achievements and move away from the despair and anxiety that often follows this toxic comparison to others.

building self esteem

Notice your achievements

We can take the time to appreciate our lives. Build your self-esteem by noticing the great things that are happening. It might be activities that you enjoy or events that you go to, people you know or the compliments you given to you all go to reinforce our values and the things that we see as positive in our lives. If you find this difficult it can be useful to keep a Journal of the positive things that happen in your life. It can be helpful to learn assertiveness skills so that you can set boundaries and get better at saying “no” to those activities that you do not enjoy or wish to do.

Building self esteem with positive self talk

Banish your harmful inner critic. Notice how harsh you are with yourself when you make a mistake and you look back on an event and wish you acted differently. Rather than beating yourself up try to focus on lessons learned and how you can constructively change in the future. You should try to focus on your achievements, positive relationships and avoid the negative ones where we dwell on failure.

Thinking healthy

Having a healthier lifestyle can also help in building self-esteem. Alongside taking care of your physical health through exercise and sensible healthy eating you can take other steps. It can be helpful to learn relaxation and meditation that help to reduce stress and anxiety in the body. This allows you to refocus on what is important to you by giving you more control over your thought process.

Like any change, improving our self-esteem takes time. Make the changes in small steps and set small easy goals to achieve. It can be helpful to focus on the benefits, and remind yourself of why you are doing it along the way. When you spring to judge yourself, remember that we are interacting with the world given the uncontrolled environment and circumstances that we face every day that we are not responsible for those. Remember that the objective is not to be perfect, but to be good enough.

In conclusion, self-esteem is an important tool for our mental health. Building and taking care of it is a valuable practice that helps us cope with the difficulties of everyday life. If you feel that you are struggling with your self-esteem and find it difficult to get started on changing perhaps talking to your GP or a counsellor might help.