How can your self-esteem be disturbed?
Throughout your childhood and adolescence, the basis for your self-esteem develops. If children grow up in a loving environment where they are allowed to learn about their strengths and talents, but also about their own limitations, then a stable self-esteem can develop. This is often put to the test during puberty. Here, one looks at oneself and one's own body particularly critically. Those who have experienced loving support here, despite all the difficulties, have a good basis for developing a strong self-esteem and self-confidence.
However, during this time and also later in life, there are many influences that can destabilize our self-esteem. Were you ostracized and bullied at school? Did you perhaps have a big sister who constantly made you feel guilty for everything and with whom you always compared yourself? Did your parents, teachers or other important people in your life put a lot of pressure on you to perform? Did you have to pretend or change during puberty in order to belong to a certain circle of friends? Did you have or do you have the feeling in your relationship that you are dependent on your partner? All these can be situations that weaken your self-esteem. But don't worry, there are some ways to strengthen your self-esteem again.
Strengthen your self-esteem
As you may have already read in our other article on self-esteem, our self-esteem is strongly related to our self-perception. How we perceive and interpret events influences what feelings are triggered in us. And our feelings, in turn, have a big impact on our self-esteem. You may wonder now if our self-esteem is not also influenced a lot by the outside. In fact, many people are quickly insecure in their self-worth due to feedback from others or define themselves by their accomplishments (car, money, financial wealth). This can quickly feel like you are at the mercy of others' evaluations and can't do anything to strengthen your self-worth yourself. But it doesn't have to stay that way. After all, it is called self-worth and not external value. You can learn to strengthen and stabilize your self-worth independently from the outside. Here are a few tips on how you can increase your self-esteem:
Every evening, pick one thing that you did well that day and be proud of yourself! It doesn't matter what it is. We can also be proud of small things. Don't devalue that thing by thinking about what you should have done better, just be proud of how well you did. Everything you do during the day requires your effort and cannot be taken for granted. Such things can be, for example: coming to work on time, preparing healthy dinner, remembering your colleague's birthday, staying calm when your child didn't want to brush his teeth.
Do something good for yourself at least twice a week, whether there is a reason for it or not. Again, it doesn't have to be anything big if you're on a tight schedule. It's mostly about being mindful of yourself for a moment and appreciating yourself. This can be a bubble bath in the bathtub, a breathing exercise, reading a book, eating something delicious, a walk by the lake.
Once a week, step out of your comfort zone and take on a challenge. This is about facing your fears and overcoming them. You experience that you can also master situations that you were afraid of. Which challenges these are depends on each individual. For example, do you always take over everything for others and say "yes" to everything, although it is actually too much for you? Then it can be a challenge for you to say "no" once in a while and to represent your own limits. If you only wear make-up everywhere you go, then it could be a challenge to leave the house without make-up for once. In the beginning, pick challenges that you think you can handle. Over time, you can then increase the difficulty according to your growing self-esteem.
Identify and reframe negative beliefs. With negative beliefs, we lower our self-esteem and become insecure. This is usually a vicious cycle. Because if you already have low self-worth, you usually use more negative beliefs because you don't believe in yourself. And that in turn further weakens your self-worth. Here's an example of a negative belief and its rephrasing; "I can't do anything at all."...instead, "Today I did ... (e.g. lunch) well."
Do not compare yourself with others. Every person is individual and had completely different conditions and circumstances in life. Therefore, your actions are not really comparable. Constant comparisons promote self-doubt. So stop it!
Supporting other people can also increase our self-esteem. We have the feeling to have made an important contribution and to have done something meaningful. It also gives us a sense of responsibility. The feeling of reliably and confidently doing a task for others strengthens our self-esteem.
Surround yourself only with people who are good for you. People who constantly compare themselves to you, don't take you seriously, or constantly talk negatively also drag down your self-worth. Instead, try to spend your time with people who have a positive influence on you.
Motivate yourself and talk positively to yourself. Our words and thoughts have a great influence on how we feel. If you are insecure in a situation, it can help to say to yourself "I can do it!" or "I will not give up! Other motivational phrases can be, "I deserve this!" or "I have all the skills it takes to do this."
Advocate your opinion. People with low self-esteem have a hard time standing their ground. Instead, they quickly give in and adopt the other person's position. You can try it out on a small scale for the time being, to represent your opinion or simply to take a different point of view than your counterpart. This is often easiest with people with whom you are sure that differences of opinion will not harm the relationship. These are usually family or friends. If you succeed there in representing your point of view, then you can practice it with others as well.
Evaluate yourself! Think about yourself, your body and your abilities. What do you like best about yourself? If you have low self-esteem, then you will probably think of all the things you don't like first. Then put all those things aside and focus only on what you like about yourself. This can also be very small things, like your eyelashes or your toes. Try to apply this positive self-reflection to your abilities as well. What are your skills? Are you artistically or musically talented, very empathetic or social? Do you have a quick perception, a good sense of direction or a strong feeling for languages? These are skills that are simply there, that you did not have to learn.
Avoid perfectionism. None of us is perfect, even if many would like to be. But such perfectionism always creates pressure and stress. You are always chasing a wishful image and overlooking what you already have. The most important step to a strong self-worth is to accept yourself as you are. You are good the way you are!
As you can see, there are many ways to influence and increase your self-esteem. Your self-esteem strongly depends on how you judge yourself. If, despite these tips, you still feel that your self-esteem is too low, it may be helpful to contact a psychotherapist. At WePractice you can find the right therapist to strengthen your self-esteem.