A healthy level of self- esteem is comprised of a balanced and realistic evaluation of the whole self, which involves awareness, recognition and acceptance of both positive and negative aspects of the self. Needless to say challenging your beliefs about yourself, adjusting unhelpful behaviors and adapting helpful ones will heighten your self- esteem the most. The following, however, are 3 DIY strategies that could help too.
1. Make a distinction between who you are and what you do/have done-when we criticize ourselves for making a mistake, failing, not living up to our expectations or being imperfect, we tend to label ourselves and that label influences how we value ourselves. Firstly always question if you deserve that label.
Realize that, for example, making a stupid and inappropriate remark does not mean you are stupid. Your IQ did not change from what it was before that remark was made, did it not? It is a behavior choice at a specific moment not the definition of who you are. Similarly can be said in situations in which you might have failed to reach a goal… Does that mean you are failure as you might label yourself? Will you always fail in the future? Have you had no successes before? And what is your definition of failure, does it truly define your whole self or is it specific to this goal?
When you are able to make that distinction, you are not letting situational and changeable factors diminish your self- esteem. Learning your lesson and improving the next time will strengthen your self-esteem, as well as, your skills and capacities.
2. Focus on yourself not on comparing yourself with others- Comparing ourselves to others is usually done by focusing only on that which we lack/ our flaws , which magnify them and by ignoring our strengths and assets, while in the comparison over-exaggerating others’ assets, even putting them on a pedestal as the ideal standard and minimizing or ignoring others’ flaws and struggles. Both are unrealistic and the consequences are harmful to your self -esteem.
Redirect your focus on your own strengths, assets and fortunes instead. Appreciating and valuing your true self starts by acknowledging and celebrating all the positive points of your inner beauty( your values, virtues, inner strengths, characteristics, abilities, talents etc.) You can write them down and also mention why you are grateful for them, which will solidify your positive points. Think about being a better version of yourself by developing your own strengths and skills further, growing the positive characteristics and virtues in you even more, rather than aiming at becoming or achieving a biased and imagined perceived standard that you see in others.
Motivate and encourage yourself by looking at your achievements, who you are right now and how you can realistically become a better version of the present you, rather than only criticizing yourself for not being who you think you should be more like and changing yourself to be like others. Be accepting and kinder to yourself, as well as, pat yourself on the back when you deserve it. It will help you boost your self -esteem as you will see yourself in a more positive and imperfectly human light.
3 Be aware of your needs and nurture yourself – Being aware of what you need, be it psychological, emotional, social, physical needs etc ( e.g. emotional support, time to relax or heal, delegate your duties, alone time, further develop your knowledge, pamper yourself, taking a nap) and fulfilling these needs is telling yourself I matter. I value myself and I am worthy of giving myself the love, care, attention and personal growth that I require now. I am worthy of investing time and effort in myself at least I as do in others (who you probably unquestionably are attuned to and attend more easily to their needs). When you do that you validate yourself and thereby strengthen your self- esteem.