With the desire of not sounding too technical, low self-esteem is horrible. It eats away at your life and it often feels that there is nothing you can do. And because there are negative connotations to having low self-esteem, it makes it very difficult to talk to other people about how you’re feeling. So, here are ten ways to overcome low self-esteem and build self-confidence.
Table of Contents
How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem
- 1. Forget the past, ignore the future
- 2. Stop trying to be the person you’re not
- 3. Understand what causes your low self-esteem
- 4. Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings
- 5. Don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t change
- 6. Failure is part of the process, not the ending
- 7. Stop trying to please everyone all the time
- 8. Approach activities in a positive way
- 9. Volunteer to help people less fortunate than you
- 10. Be your own best friend
How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem
1. Forget the past, ignore the future
This is the first step to overcome low self-esteem and build self-confidence. What has happened to you in the past has no power to your present. I know this sounds difficult to understand but the past only has the power to affect your present if you let it. That doesn’t mean you can’t learn from your experience, both positive and negative.
Likewise the future. Think about all the things you were worried about last week. Now think about all the things you were worried about actually happened. I can almost guarantee that most of the things you were worried about didn’t happen.
2. Stop trying to be the person you’re not
Your job in life is to be the person you want to be, not the person everyone else wants you to be. This could be concerning your job, your weight, your sexuality, self-confidence, or anything else that affects you.
Be the person you are and stop listening to people telling you what they think. And I’m not saying that the people giving you advice aren’t trying to help; I’m sure they are. But they are not you. This process will help you also to build a strong personality in time.
3. Understand what causes your low self-esteem
Try and understand why you have low self-esteem. Unless you can identify the causes of your low self-esteem, it will be almost impossible to fix things. You’ll need to be brutally honest with yourself so don’t hold back.
For example, continuing on from the above theme of friends trying to help. If you have a particular friend whose advice seems to bring you down, then you may need to talk to your friend or avoid him or her altogether.
4. Keep a diary of your thoughts and feelings
Diaries or journals are an incredibly important part of the strategy to resolve your low self-esteem problems. If you write down what it was that affects you, either negatively or positively, then you can start working on those effects.
When you write down what happens is important. The best time to do it is straight after what happened. You really need to be as accurate as possible about this. However, if you can’t do it until after work, for example, then that’s when you’ll have to do it.
5. Don’t beat yourself up about things you can’t change
This goes back to the first point but I’d like to extend it a bit. Do you ever find yourself thinking back to something in the past and making a sort of groaning sound? If you do, then you need to let these things go.
We have all done something in the past we regret. In fact, most of us have done many things we regret. The point is there is nothing you can do about it. The only real mistake about past mistakes is not learning from them and making the same mistakes again.
6. Failure is part of the process, not the ending
It is strange that I’m writing this at the time where the media is discussing failure. Americans ‘do’ failure very well because they recognize it as part of the process the results in success. Famous politicians, including Winston Churchill, understood the importance of failure.
You must look at failure in the same way. Failure is an opportunity to grow, to become successful, and to build confidence. Don’t let failure knock you down. Use it as a new step on the way up to the summit of success.
7. Stop trying to please everyone all the time
You should stop trying to please everyone all the time. I’m not saying you should stop caring about everyone and only think about yourself. That will lead to a life of emptiness and selfishness, which will not give you any pleasure.
The keyword here is ‘all the time’. You need to understand that you are just as important as the people around you. And if you want to do something that will make you happy every once in a while, do it. People who love you will support you no matter what.
8. Approach activities in a positive way
Doing activities that make you feel uncomfortable is a necessary part of growing. If you avoid doing anything that worries you, you’ll end up never doing anything more than the things you are already doing.
However, how you approach these activities makes a difference. No matter how you feel inside, try to be confident and positive on the outside. You’ll be surprised how quickly faking your feelings becomes genuine feelings.
9. Volunteer to help people less fortunate than you
Finally, volunteer. It is very easy to believe that your lack of self-esteem and confidence is the worst thing in the world. However, it’s not, and all you need to do is a volunteer for organizations that help people who are less fortunate than you.
And if this worries you, think of this as part of approaching activities in a positive way we talked about earlier. I am in no way trivializing your own problems with self-esteem and low confidence, volunteering shows you that there are many doing worse than you. Volunteer works also have a positive impact on your mental health so go for it.
10. Be your own best friend
Get into the habit of questioning yourself, what would my mother/friend say to me in this situation? Then speak to yourself in that same encouraging tone. This will help you move on and often see light at the end of a dark tunnel.
When you’re aware, you recognize how you react to your own fears, creating a moment between your emotions and your actions. This encourages you to respond in a healthier way.
Your past will always be there and as the old saying goes, hindsight is always 20/20. To increase your self-esteem and build self-confidence, forget your past, think about yourself and your own happiness, and concentrate on being you. You’ll like yourself more and surprisingly, other people will like you more too.