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How to improve your self-esteem

All sorts of stuff can cause you to lose confidence in yourself

Written by SpunOut | View this authors Twitter page and posted in mental-health

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We all have times when we don't feel great about ourselves, but if this is something that happens a lot then you might be struggling with your self-esteem. 

Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. If you have low self-esteem it means that you think less of yourself than of other people.This could be in how you think about your appearance, looks, or abilities.

What causes low self-esteem?

Many things can cause you to lose confidence in yourself. These include:

  • Being criticised or teased a lot by other people (maybe family, so-called friends, a teacher or a boss)
  • Being made to feel worthless, feeling unloved or neglected, or being abused
  • A change in your life, like parents separating, losing a job, being unemployed or breaking up with someone
  • Low self-esteem can also be a symptom of depression

How do you recognise low self-esteem?

  • You might have very little confidence, not feel good enough or criticise yourself a lot
  • You might feel helpless, powerless or isolated and often need the approval of others
  • You might be afraid to try new things or take on responsibility because you're worried you won't be able to do it
  • You don't expect to ever do things well, so you don't try 
  • Maybe you don't even know what you're good at
  • You might be shy and don't speak out for yourself
  • Maybe you get into fights, argue about stupid things or lose your temper easily

Ways to improve your self esteem

Having low self esteem can be hard and it may seem like you'll always feel this way about yourself. Remember that it is possible to improve your self esteem, and things will get better.

Recognise when you’re not being fair on yourself. 

You might feel down on yourself a lot of the time, but in reality, you’re so much better than you think. Try to believe in all the great things about yourself, and when you have a negative thought about yourself, make a point to stop and question whether that negative thought is really based on fact.

​Write it down

Keeping bad thoughts in your head makes them seem bigger than they are. Also, by writing down your feelings, you may have a better idea of what makes you feel a certain way, and when this happens.

Surround yourself with people who know how great your are

Make sure your friends are people who celebrate your strengths and not your weaknesses.

Treat yourself

Find time every single day to do the little things you enjoy and make you feel good.

Pursue your interests

Write down a list of the the things you love doing, or have always wanted to do but haven’t got around to trying. Pick one of those things, and decide to start doing it. Maybe it’s photography, sports, or writing. Either way, pursuing something that really excites you can give a big boost to your confidence.

Don’t be ashamed to seek a little extra help 

Low self-esteem can be both a cause and a symptom of mental illnesses. If you’re suffering from depression or anxiety, it’s absolutely fine to seek professional help. 

Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?

If you are a customer of the 48 or An Post network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 086 1800 280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’.

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Published Decem­ber 18th2012
Last updated June 26th2018
Tags self esteem mental health
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