Building your self-esteem is a valuable practice, it is the internal picture we have of ourselves. It helps us to tackle life’s bumps on the road and to be confident and looking after ourselves. At times we all like confidence or self-belief and it can have an impact on us and our mental health.

Building self-esteemOften low self-esteem will start in childhood when others such as a parent, brother, sister or even teachers give us messages that we are not good enough. Life events such as divorce or illness can undermine our confidence and our belief in our ability to cope. We can then struggle with decision making or confrontation making it difficult to navigate daily life.

Building your self-esteem is about making small changes that make a big difference. Often a good place to start is with your inner critic. Your inner critic will find fault. Almost as though itdoes not like you seeing your strengths or achievements building your self-esteem so knocks it down. It is very destructive to your self-esteem.

When you start to criticise yourself, try shouting, “Stop” in your head and focus on your achievements or your plans for improvement. Celebrate what you have tried rather than noticing how you have failed.

Notice that your inner critic is all about the stick; try to use a little more carrot. Carrot is all about building your self-esteem in positive ways. Notice the benefits you get from activity, not where you fell down. For example: “I enjoy my music”, not “I will never learn to play the piano”. Notice what you have achieved, not what you have missed. Focus on your plans and your strengths not the weaknesses and failures.

Remember noticing every day achievement is important. You may even want to journal them. Pausing and noticing the things you have achieved even when they are small builds self-esteem. I walked up the stairs to work, I made my own dinner etc. are important alongside any larger achievements like marathon running and are just as important to build self-esteem.

By being compassionate and kind to yourself you can make a real difference to your self-esteem. Connecting with friends and family who value you can help you to remind yourself of the values that drive you and make a difference in your life.