At a very young age, I began to have a very low self-esteem. I hated my face, my hair, my personality, everything. Mostly it was my face. I had never liked it really. Young age, meaning it all started when I was about 9 or 10 years old when my world came crashing down after my parent’s divorce. It may seem strange to some people, that an event like that would affect my self-esteem. But, because most children feel like their parent’s divorce was their fault, it’s usually very normal for them to suffer from self-confidence problems.
Over the years, I have learned some valuable tricks to overcome my low self-esteem. Please understand that I still have moments when I hate everything about myself and I have no confidence. There is not a week that goes by, that I have to hone in on my learned skills in order to chase those negative thoughts away. I’m giving you 5 tips and 5 challenges for how you can overcome a low self-esteem.
1. Genuinely compliment others.
When we’re wallowing in our poor self-esteem, for some reason, we don’t want to allow others to have a good self-esteem either. Pay attention to your thoughts on other people around you. Do you find yourself criticizing them? Even if it’s in your mind, do you cast judgments? I’m letting you in on a little secret…giving compliments will result in a cycle of more compliments. It also does the incredible thing of increasing the awareness of the world around you and instead of finding fault with others, you’re finding the good. It’s a simple confidence booster that you will not even realize will help you when you’re helping someone else.
So, here’s my challenge to you. Find someone to give a genuine compliment to every day. You’ll find yourself looking for ways to compliment someone. Which, in turn, results in more positivity and a more appreciative outlook on the world around you.
2. Take a compliment when it is given to you.
Along the lines of giving compliments is the ability to accept them.
Have you ever noticed, when someone tells you, “Hey, I love your outfit today!” Instead of saying, “Thank you,” you usually come back with, “Oh, I’ve had it forever. I probably need to get a new one.” It’s like you’re trying to convince the person giving you a compliment, that they’re wrong. You are invalidating their compliment and making social awkwardness. Someone else is genuinely trying to boost your self-esteem. Let them!
I challenge you to try something this week. Just smile and say, “thank you.” That’s it. Just say it and let it go. You’re going to want to convince your complimenter that they’re wrong. Please, don’t. Just say, “thank you.” You’ll be amazed at what this will do. Also, read this article from Psychology Today about The Art of a Compliment. It’s a quick read but will help you understand how to give and accept a compliment.
3. Journal the compliments that are given to you.
Take a moment when someone gives you a compliment and get out your phone, a notepad or a small journal, and write it down. Then, later, when Satan or your mind has a hold on your self-esteem, take out your phone or your journal and read your compliments. Those are all yours to keep forever. Those compliments were meant just for you and they will make you feel like a hundred bucks when you feel less than dirt.
My challenge for you is to get yourself into the habit of journaling the compliments. This may be difficult to remember to do, but I’ll just ask you to try. That way, when your low self-esteem is rearing its ugly head, you have something that can quickly boost your self-esteem and remind you that you’re amazing.
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4. Develop a passion into a hobby.
Do you remember when you were a child, how you were able to color in a coloring book for an hour? Or, how you could ride your bike all the way across town in the cool summer evening? What about how you could spend hours playing an instrument that you finally found warms your soul? Remember how you were just being a kid and your self-esteem was through the roof? You need to revisit those passions. What if, your passion for coloring can develop into an ability to create art someone wants to buy? Maybe your passion for bike riding could allow you to compete in a race you’ve been dreaming about competing in. Or, you may find yourself in a community orchestra playing your instrument.
When I was little, my mom used to make beautiful birthday cakes. The cakes weren’t overly extravagant, but she worked hard on them and they were very memorable.
When my own children started having birthdays, I wanted to continue that little tradition. It has developed into a hobby of cake decorating. I don’t claim to be an expert at all, but I really love the challenge of making cakes and creating art with them. There’s nothing more satisfying and self-esteem boosting than creating something I’m proud of.
Do you have a passion for something that you could turn into a hobby? This is my next challenge. Find your passion! Turn it into a hobby, my friend. Give your confidence the boost it needs!
5. Accept who you are.
You must stop comparing yourself to others. Stop telling yourself you’re not good enough, not pretty enough, not smart enough, not thin enough, not talented enough…just stop! You are enough! You are a unique and beautiful person. People need and love you. Friend, you are not doing your low self-esteem any good by continually telling yourself you’re not good enough.
I’d like to challenge you to tell yourself that you are enough. This sounds simple, but, really. Look at yourself in the mirror daily and say, “I am enough.”
You do not need (what you claim to be) a “perfect body,” “perfect hair,” “perfect makeup,” a “perfectly styled home,” “perfect kids,” “perfect meals,” or anything else you claim defines perfection. You are enough and so is everyone else around you. Get used to the fact that everyone is doing their best. I’m sure you are too. I am not saying that there’s no point in trying to improve ourselves because I firmly believe in self-improvement. I think we should all strive to be better. There’s a big difference between striving for perfection and striving to be better. Be better, not perfect.
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Get out there and be you!
Let’s just recap what your challenges are.
- Genuinely compliment others. Find someone to compliment every day.
- Accept compliments when they are given to you. Just smile and say, “thank you.”
- Journal the compliments when they are given to you. Write them down in your phone or a small notebook you carry.
- Turn your passions into a hobby. Find something you’re passionate about and boost your confidence by making it a hobby you’re proud of.
- Accept who you are. Tell yourself every day, “I AM ENOUGH!”
My hope for you is that you are able to find yourself and realize that you are enough, you are amazing and you are worth it. Keep your chin up and know that you are loved and needed. If you’re struggling with a low-self esteem, I hope that my tips will help you boost your self-confidence and become the strong person you are meant to be.