Are you living in a dark hole of low self-esteem and having no idea how to escape it?
We constantly rely on external validation to improve our feelings of self-worth, but did you know that people will only treat you with the love and respect you show yourself? Read that again. People will only treat you at the level you treat yourself.
What exactly do I mean by that? Well, if you show others that you can be walked over or that people can take what they need from you without any giving in return, that’s exactly what they’ll do! You end up in a vicious cycle of not feeling worthy of healthy relationships, then people proving your point because you have no boundaries.
Healthy self-esteem is about being proud of who you are, consistently aligning with your values and feeling content with your identity. It's also about having realistic expectations of yourself, setting boundaries and practising self-compassion.
So, how can you improve your self-esteem?
Below are six simple, sometimes alternative ways of improving your self-esteem. Don’t knock any until you’ve tried them!
1. Remember - There are people who wish they were more like you. This might not feel obvious right now, but zoom out a moment… someone wanted your job, the grades you got, the part in the play you have, the home you have, a family like yours… Someone wishes they had your hair, your body shape, your style…
2. Be proud of what makes you different. If you have low self-esteem, this can feel difficult and is definitely a practice rather than something you just ‘have’. Make small changes like wearing the outfit you want to wear rather than what's in fashion. Or wear your hair in the style or colour you’ve always desired. Join groups who have the same interests as you so that you feel part of a community.
3. Celebrate yourself every time something good happens
Celebrating your achievements and being proud is a surefire way to help you feel good about yourself. Why are you relying on other people to validate you? Don’t look externally for approval and reassurance - approve yourself!
4. Remember, feelings and emotions are not permanent.
It can be easy to think, “I’m such a moody person” or “Why am I such a sad person?”
You are none of these things. No emotion that you experience (no matter how often) defines you. Think of emotions like the weather - they just pass through, and it’s never permanent. Even the good sunny days. This, too, shall pass.
Journaling helps you understand your ‘whys’, and this, in turn, helps you feel more confident. When you understand your triggers and glimmers (things that make you joyful), you live your life to complement that. Self-awareness is the most invaluable tool a human can practice.
6. Cold water therapy
It’s difficult. It’s bloody difficult! However, cold water therapy is excellent for improving mental health. Cold water swimming may help curtail the progression from psychological low mood to pathological depression (Chill: Mark Haper MD PhD). When I ice swim or take a cold shower, it reminds me how mentally strong I am. If I can do that, I can do anything. Start by doing 15 seconds cold at the end of your shower, and increase it each week, then start cold water swimming if you dare!
I also improve my feelings of self-worth by pulling a daily oracle card, exercising or movement, walking in nature, and reading inspirational books.
One thing is for sure - you don’t have to live with low confidence. You can do many things that will help you begin to love and respect yourself, and others will follow. With practice and intention, you can transform the way you view yourself.
I would love to hear the practices that you have that improve your feelings of self-worth!
Sending Light Your Way 💫