Self-esteem is a hot topic right now, and if you didn’t know it - February is "Boost Your Self-Esteem Month." - but really every day is a new chance to boost your self-esteem.
Before we look at how we can boost ours, let’s take a glimpse at what it is…
Self-esteem is essentially how we view ourselves. It is the value we place on who we are and what we do. It is a measure. When we have high self-esteem we are able to rely on ourselves to meet our needs, we are able to celebrate who we are, our uniqueness, our qualities, and we have a healthy, realistic, positive view of ourselves.
But, when we think of self-esteem we often think of it in terms of lack – we think of low self-esteem as something that leads to low mood, low self-worth and can lead to psychological distress and mental ill health.
Sometimes, unconsciously we use our self-esteem as a measure to weigh up where we are in the pecking order of life. This can be true especially if we spend a lot of time on social media. We can end up measuring ourselves against others and on an unconscious level we decide whether we are as “good” as, “better” than or “worse”. And this comparison can really lead us to overlook our own amazingness!
So how can we improve our self-esteem?
It can help if we see self-esteem as more than a measure and think of it more as a resource, a tool kit, a psychological medicine cabinet. It can be somewhere to store everything we think about ourselves. It can be the place we can go to give ourselves a pep talk, a reserve for our resiliency.
Our self-esteem is made up of our thoughts and feelings about ourselves. Becoming aware of our thoughts is key in boosting our self-esteem. If we are continually thinking negative things about ourselves then these thoughts are what we will have in our toolkit when the outside world gives us a knock. But if we try to bring our awareness to our good points and consciously make an effort to think positively about ourselves we will have a wealth of positive thoughts to combat external pressures.
We can increase our self-esteem by setting intentions to think about ourselves in a positive light. Set aside some time each day to think about something we like or love about ourselves – every morning throughout February I have written down one thing that l like about myself, for example – I like my sense of humour, or I like my hands. It doesn’t need to be something big. You are worth taking a minute out of your day to reflect on your unique and special qualities. If it feels hard to do this try to remember that you are not your thoughts and negative ones are just a product of self protection, they try to keep us safe when in reality they are just barriers to self love and love for others.
Choose one act of self care per day, this might be giving ourselves a really good breakfast, watch a comedy show, paint a picture, go for a walk, get dressed up and go somewhere new, phone someone we want to talk to, get out in the fresh air and do some gardening, listen to a podcast, start reading a new book, look into doing a new course to learn a new skill or language, bake something tasty, de-clutter a drawer or cupboard, look at what's on in our area, do some yoga... the list in endless and only we know what feels good to us. Make yourself one promise each day that we can stick to.
Start doing more of what makes us feel good. For me this means being creative, listening to music and watering my plants. What makes you feel good? Do more of that!
Stop the comparisons. You are the only you on the whole planet! There is a 64 trillion to one chance that you are here out of all the other ancestral possibilities. Stop trying to be like someone else. Remember that whatever another person’s life looks like on the outside, you are only seeing them through the image they want to show you - often we have all had to struggle with something on the inside.
Remember that we all have stuff that gets to us. We are all complex and therefore made up of light and shade. Our problem solving brain often brings our awareness to our issues and faults as a way to increase our chance of survival, to fix us, bring out the best in us, but often the reverse happens… we see a negative; instead of seeing it as an area for compassion or growth, we see it as something that confirms we are indeed broken or not normal, or not good enough. We all feel this at times, remember to have the compassion for yourself that you would show to your best friend.
Reach out – if you are struggling with your mental health and your feelings of low self-worth are making you suffer, there are people who can help you.
Make a change -Sometimes making a healthy lifestyle change can really boost your self-esteem too, it is part of increasing our self-care. If you want help to Drink Less Alcohol, Move More, Eat Well and Stop Smoking – We are here for you! You can sign up for our Free support HERE
The information and advice within this blog are not intended to replace any medical advice, with all our clients we seek to address their individual needs and circumstances - this includes any adaptations required for long- or short-term health conditions and medications. Please seek medical advice if you have any health conditions before considering a lifestyle change. If you would like to address any of the content of this blog, please email us.