By Justin Ho
Increasing your self-esteem and self-confidence is undoubtedly easier said than done. Focus on taking the first steps in a positive direction. Increasing one can increase the other.
Self-confidence can be increased through practice and taking on challenges. There is nothing like overcoming a struggle or obstacle that helps reinforce our faith in our abilities to get something done.
Increasing our self-esteem is a little more complex because it has a direct correlation with how we think others perceive us. Here are 5 ways you can try incorporating into your daily life to possibly increase your self-esteem.
1. Start with a mirror.
Look in the mirror and think about who you are and where you have come from. Are you happy with what you see, or is there something that bothers you? Find the root of that discomfort and begin taking steps to improve it.
Be honest and straightforward with yourself. What do you feel needs improvement?
Instead of saying “I just suck” make it clear on paper what is causing yourself disappointment.
From here we can target these traits.
That guy can’t see the beautiful person you are? Cut him out of your life.
Do your parents think you’re not the sharpest tool in the shed? Start sharpening your skills and study hard. Get that A and learn to respect yourself.
2. Surround yourself with the right people.
This is a tough one to distinguish. The “right group’ will always be a subjective matter. As much as we don’t like it, our self-esteem is most commonly shaped by our peers. Finding the right group of friends for you is like creating a recipe from scratch, you most likely won’t make it happen the first time, and will have to try multiple times to get a better result.
Surrounding yourself with people who always put you down isn’t the best for improving your self-esteem. You need people who believe and support you in how you carry yourself around. So this means I should surround myself with people who support me, right?
Not necessarily. If you’re surround by a bunch of ‘yes’ people telling you that you’re fine and that everything is going to be okay, you’ll be ignoring possible opportunities for self-improvement and feed off of empty reassurance. It is extremely difficult to figure out if they are sugarcoating the truth or being sincere. I find that if you surround yourself with ‘yes’ people you’ll have a false sense of who you are, and will let yourself go in the wrong direction.
What you need is a diverse group of both types of people, but with a common characteristic: they want to see you have realistic and positive progression through your obstacles. You want them to be able to tell you the situation as is and be critical, but also be there to support you when you can’t hold yourself up. It’s tough to distinguish between these, but you’ll know when you’ve hit the right group of people when you start seeing yourself better.
3. Widen your perspective.
Nobody is perfect. Give yourself a chance. To improve yourself, you’re going to have to be open to change. Being flexible and having the ability to adapt is key to building up your self-esteem. It needs to be understood that everyone isn’t perfect.
Take note on what your strengths and weaknesses are. What makes each individual unique are their imperfections. Focus more on accomplishing personal goals and appreciate the little things that go well for you more so than obtaining that perfect image.
Having a wider perspective will help stall stubbornness and allow yourself to freely touch base on specific aspects and traits that you can improve.
4. Stop comparing.
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde
Comparing yourself to others is an inaccurate measurement of who you are.
Again, nobody is perfect. It is okay to idolize people, but not to a point where it makes you feel terrible about yourself. You are an entirely different being than your peers, so it cannot be expected for you to be just like them. Rid yourself of ideas of superiority and inferiority and challenge yourself. Compete against yourself. Compare your present self to yourself from yesterday.
5. You do not need others to validate you.
Understand that you don’t need anyone’s validation but your own. You can have peers to support you, but it is important to know that your satisfaction with your image is uniquely tailored to you. Also keep in mind that self-validation can easily end up as an overconfident facade for insecurities.
The opinions of others should be received open-mindedly, but with a grain of salt. Your peers provide critiques to your image because they care.
It is important to be aware of these critiques, but it is more important to know that you have the power to choose what to do with the criticism.
It’s tough to break from the need of affirmation. We all seek affirmation every day of our lives and the affirmation becomes less like advice and more like entitlement.
As written on It’s Time to Pretend, avoiding the need for affirmation is not easy, but it is important to be aware of small victories. Looking at the little gains of everyday, you can slowly build your self-image. You can begin to wean away from the need of affirmation and focus more on building up your self-esteem.
It is never too late to start improving to yourself. Making changes to your character is difficult and takes a lot of determination and discipline. How bad do you want it? Are you going to settle and be content with your insecurities, or are you going to take up opportunities to adjust them? These 5 tips are not for everyone, but they provide an essential basis for change. Take the first steps into a better direction.
Our self-esteem and self-confidence won’t change significantly overnight, but day by day we can chip away at our insecurities and slowly realize how beautiful we are.
Photo Source: Justin Ho