“Nothing builds self esteem and self confidence like accomplishment.”
Low self esteem (and lack of confidence) can be deeply rooted in.. traumatic life experiences, ill health and negative life events. All can lead to a lack of self control.
Additionally, where discrimination in all it forms is experienced, this too can lead to a crash in self confidence and self esteem.
“The way we talk to our children becomes their inner voice.”
The link or relationship between low self esteem, mental health and dis-ease is a complex matter, often exhibited in forms of depression and may manifest in other disorders such as Borderline Personality Disorder.
People who experience low self esteem/confidence often view the world as a hostile place, and in turn view themselves as victims of this hostility. For some individuals this may lead to a withdraw from social interaction, feelings of powerlessness to change their circumstances, and at worst a spiral further into ‘the abyss,’ of despondency, feeling lost and broken.
Fortunately, there are strategies that can be implemented quite easily, and help ie good counselling is also readily available.
For the moment, let’s look at some strategies to address these challenges to a positive life. Gradually introduce some of these into your daily life and try to practice them regularly until they become ‘second nature.’ By remaining objective will help with the transition process.
F.L.Y. First Love Yourself. Others will come next.
20 Strategies to boost self esteem and self confidence:
- Think positively about yourself and the world. Everyone has positive qualities. You have the right to be accepted, respected and valued.
- Draw up two lists –
- 1) Personal Strengths
- 2) Personal Achievements
Use your circle of friends (or people you admire) to contribute, provide support and feedback in carrying out of this task.
- Challenge the distorted views/opinions you or others have of you. Where’s the evidence to support such distorted views/opinions? Quite often individuals repeat patterns of negative thought. Halt the ruminations and call it for what it is. For example, “The Old Hag” of putdowns has appeared. Visualize and plan 100 ways (..OK maybe 10) to deal with this intrusive “Old Hag.” Visualize running her down in a car, pushing her out of a plane (no parachute), flushing her down the toilet…. You get my drift!
- Eat healthily – Strive for a balanced diet. Eat slowly and mindfully, in peace and with no distractions. Recognise that alcohol must be controlled. Alcohol may dull the pain initially but the outcome is that it acts as a depressant leaving you feeling flat and despondent.
- Occupy your mind with creative/artistic endeavours – follow your passions, learn new skills. Do the things you enjoy. It’s time to bring some joy to your life.
- Exercise regularly eg. walking, cycling and some vigorous exercise (to make you sweat). Not only will you feel better for it (after the initial aches and pains) but you’ll find your clothes just look better on you somehow.
- Take pride in your personal appearance and practice good hygiene. A bath or shower gives one a chance to wash away the concerns of the day. Water therapy has many beneficial properties to it. Clean clothes (ironed skirt/shirt) help you to be more prepared to meet the day. It says “I care about myself.”
- Ensure you get enough sleep. Avoid caffeine and alcohol at night. No TV in the bedroom. Maintain a strict bedtime routine. End your thoughts on a positive note. Still the ruminating mind with “Time to sleep and I’m going to dream happy dreams.”
- Manage your stress levels. Walk, meet friends, see an uplifting movie, or simply get a massage. It’s time to nurture and be kind to yourself.
“Inhale Confidence…Exhale Doubt.”
- Give your home/apartment a makeover. Declutter, tend to the garden or buy some new pieces for your home. It doesn’t have to be expensive, just little things.
- Count your blessings. Yes, there are some! Go out and meet or observe people in the shopping arcade or café. You will see mothers with their children, seniors laughing, smiling and enjoying the company of friends. Life may have its challenges, but the beauty of life is in the small details. Strike up a conversation. Talk to the person sitting on the bench with their dog.
- Do some volunteer work. So many would welcome your assistance and company. It’s a great way to make new friends and form special bonds.
- Make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones. We have a history, we have a present and a future. Keeping in touch with friends/loved ones is one of the great joys in life.
- Avoid people that treat you badly and places that make you feel uncomfortable or those that make you question your value. Life is too short. You choose what you want/don’t want in your newly defined life; it’s direction and destination.
“Feelings are much like waves, we cannot stop them from coming but we can choose which one to surf.” –Jonatan Martensson
- Surround yourself with positive people. Have you ever noticed how people gravitate towards positive, optimistic and happy people? It is contagious. We learn to model ourselves on others, make yours constructive rather than destructive.
- Practice positive self talk. Encourage and train your brain to focus on positive ideas, images and beliefs. When negativity creeps in, reframe your thoughts, create another ‘lens’ to view the situation using strengths, capabilities and positivity.
- You control the power to change your brain. Neuroplasticity ie the brain changing throughout life through reorganisation of structure, function and connections. Through this process new pathways are created in the brain which affect behaviour. When negative or invasive thoughts begin…consider using:
- Actions : Stomping, shaking your hands
- Symbols: Write a mistake on a piece of paper and burn it.
Stop thinking about failure and your brain stops treating you as a failure.
- Create achievable goals that guarantee personal/relationship success.
- Practice, practice, practice. Ensure you are prepared and try again. Repetition of good habits, effective communication and self validating self talk must be practiced. Don’t give up.
- Fear stops us from taking Action. Fear can be complicated. There’s the defence mechanisms ..Fight, Flight or Freeze. Recognise that these feelings are not real, they are a reaction. Familiarize yourself with your fear triggers. Talk about it (self talk) and seek guidance from someone you admire and respect. Ask yourself “Where’s the evidence?” Seek counsel about your concerns. Set yourself up for success rather than the negative action of thinking about mistakes. Become solution focused and future directed. It’s time to go from Victim -> Survivor –> to…Thriver!
“Health is the greatest possession. Contentment is the greatest treasure. Confidence is the greatest friend.”