Learning how to build your self-esteem is a vital task if you want to improve your social skills. Depending on your self-esteem, your mind and courage will either enable or prohibit you from doing certain things that will help you build relationships. As an adult, building relationships is something you will constantly need to do in both your personal and professional life.
That said, building your self-esteem is something you’re going to want to strive for. Not only is this good for your social life but it will also do wonders for your mental health.
Why Your Self-Esteem Is Low
There are a lot of factors that contribute to an individual having low self-esteem. If you want to build your self-esteem now, it is beneficial that you first figure out why your self-esteem is low. Here are some of the most common reasons why certain adults have low self-esteem.
- Parental negligence during childhood.
- Having received constant destructive criticisms from parents, friends, mentors, and teachers growing up.
- Currently feeling constantly stressed.
- Experience with bullying.
- Experience with a traumatic and abusive relationship.
- Mental health problems.
As awful an experience as it may sound, this is something you’ll need to think about for a while so you can move forward with building your self-esteem. For the last option, it is known that people who have depression and other mental health problems also have low self-esteem. If this is the case for you, it is recommended that you see and talk to a professional.
Finally, after you’ve traced back the root of your lack of self-esteem, you must then understand that it is all in the past and that it is time to move past it and go forward. Accept everything that was and use your memory and experiences to grow and be better as an individual.
20 Ways to Build Self-Esteem
Now that you’ve tackled the root of your lack of self-esteem, it’s finally time to learn how to build it up. Here are 20 ways to build your self-esteem.
Accept making mistakes
No matter who you are, where you are from, and where you are now, you are going to make mistakes down the line. It’s an inevitable thing that awaits us all. Having said that, if you want to build your self-esteem, the key is not avoiding mistakes, but rather, accepting them.
Whenever you make mistakes, don’t start being too hard on yourself. Instead, internalize what you did wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again. Accepting and knowing your own mistakes is a sign of self-awareness, which is key to building your self-esteem.
Of course, this isn’t to say you should just always expect making mistakes. Be sure you don’t do them way too frequently either. There’s a balance between accepting mistakes and doing your best so that it doesn’t happen, and that’s where you should tread.
Don’t avoid the problems
Similar to how you’re accepting the fact that mistakes happen instead of avoiding them, you also need to deal with problems head-on rather than escaping them. Actually facing and solving your problems will do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem.
You are also training yourself to be more resilient, brave, and reliable. This in turn will affect how the people around you perceive you. You will become more trustworthy and approachable. The more people trust you, the more you’ll also believe in yourself.
Facing your problems may sound like a strenuous task, but the more you do it, the more confident you will be in the long run. Besides, it is much better for you overall to face your problems now than to shove them under the rug, only for it to haunt you again later on.
The saying “When you look good, you feel good.” is a very popular quote, and for good reason. Studies have actually shown that exercising makes your body trigger your endorphins and dopamine, which is tied to bliss and other positive emotions.
By working out, you are helping your body and mind become happier. This will then naturally transform you into a more positive and confident individual with high self-esteem. On top of that, you will look incredible and your health will be phenomenal, to boot!
Dedicate an hour or so for about three to four days a week for exercise. Head to the gym, or just do exercises at home if you wish. Be sure to check in with a professional before you commit to a regimen.
Nourish the relationships you already have
One of the best things you can do to bolster your self-esteem is to actually nurture the relationships you already have. Talk to your closest friends. Constantly hang out with them. If you’re close with certain family members, reach out to them as well. Make time.
The closer you are to the friends you have now, the more opportunities you’ll have to speak your mind and have conversations. Better yet, you can also ask for their assistance on how to build your self-esteem. Your closest confidantes can act as your guide as you undertake this task.
The people who are closest to you tend to be more honest towards you, and that honesty is something you will need as you try to build your self-esteem. Speaking of honesty…
Be more honest
If you want to build your self-esteem you will also need to learn to be more honest. Honesty is a vital point in building your self-esteem as it allows you to voice out your thoughts, rather than keeping them in.
If there’s something that needs to be said, do not be afraid of speaking out. That is, of course, unless the statement is needless and unkind. Make sure you remain honest without being insensitive. Voice out statements only when it pertains to you and a necessary truth.
If you’re uncomfortable with a situation you’re in, speak out. If someone did something wrong to you, speak out. If a friend needs tough advice, share it with them. Not only will this build your self-esteem but it will also make others appreciate you more.
Do not underestimate the value and the benefits of reading. Just as you are exercising to make your body healthier, read to make your mind sharper.
Read novels to pass the time or dedicate an hour or two of reading just before going to sleep. Read on current events and relevant topics. Not only will you remain informed but you will also have topics to talk about whenever you’re hanging out with other people.
Find an activity you enjoy and join groups for it
Everyone needs a hobby, as they say. If you don’t have one yet, find one for yourself. This can be anything, from music to sports. If you already have a current hobby, then good! Make more time for that and improve on your craft.
You can then find groups and clubs for that activity so you can surround yourself with other people who share your interest. If your hobby is playing basketball, join a clinic or head to the nearest park. If it’s music, join a class or a band. Whatever it is for you, you can always find a group or club for it, and joining one will allow you to be comfortable around other people, which leads to more natural interactions. If you spend enough time with people you’re comfortable with, your self-esteem will build up naturally.
Appreciate everyone you meet
As you’re working on this part of yourself, you’re going to end up meeting a lot of people. That said, every time you meet someone, show your appreciation. Prioritize kindness and warmth and the reception you will receive in turn will be warm as well.
Being received warmly by other people will bolster your self-esteem greatly. However, even though you’re doing this with the task of building your self-esteem in mind, do acts of kindness and be friendly to other people for the sake of it.
When interacting with others, be sure to greet them with a genuine smile. Whenever they’re speaking to you, give them your attention and make them feel heard. Laugh at their jokes. Give advice to those who need it. The more relationships you make borne out of kindness, the better your self-esteem will be.
Surround yourself with positive people
Surrounding yourself with people who are positive is a wonderful thing for you as someone who’s trying to build self-esteem. Their presence is warm, you’ll laugh and smile more, and they will build you up with them.
A lot of people who are positive now also went through a dark time in their life and managed to pull through. By getting to know and befriending these people, you will be uplifted and educated. You will learn how they manage to be so positive all the time and how they keep their self-esteem up.
You can then apply the principles you’ve learned to yourself so you can build up your self-esteem. Aim to be the positive person that will draw other people. While doing all of this, you will gradually feel your self-esteem rising and you will be more confident with yourself than you were before.
Don’t force yourself into a situation you’re uncomfortable with
Every once in a while, you will find yourself in an unfortunate situation that’s just uncomfortable for you. Whenever you do find yourself in these situations, do your best to get out of them as nicely as you can.
You don’t need to force yourself to stay in an uncomfortable situation just because it pleases others. This will damage your self-esteem more and skyrocket your anxiety, which is the opposite of what you’re currently trying to do. If the uncomfortable situation you’re in was perpetuated by another, kindly tell them that you’re uncomfortable, perhaps tell them why you’re uncomfortable, and politely tell them you’d like to distance yourself from there.
Sometimes, there will be moments that feel uncomfortable but seem necessary, like serious discussions or interventions of some kind. For these moments, it will be a judgment call for you on whether you will stay for the benefit of others or leave for your own sake. However, you must always prioritize the integrity of your mental health.
Compliment yourself every once in a while
There is nothing wrong with complimenting yourself every once in a while. If you happen to do something good, achieve something incredible, or do something you’ve never done before, allow yourself to pat yourself on the back. This will improve your self-esteem greatly and it will make you more confident to be more daring moving forward.
When it comes to having high self-esteem, a lot of people will say that there’s a difference between being confident and being arrogant. This is a piece of advice you should take to heart. While it is good for you to compliment yourself whenever you do something spectacular, also make sure you maintain an air of humility about yourself. Be kind to yourself, but also keep your foot on the ground.
Aside from complimenting yourself to build your self-esteem, you should also treat yourself every once in a while. Unwind, have fun, and reward yourself in any shape or form. Have you been working out diligently for the past week? Reward yourself with a cheat day. Have you been working tirelessly all month? Reward yourself with a vacation. Is there something you’ve been wanting to get for yourself? Get it if you can afford it!
Make yourself happy and your self-esteem will rise up concomitantly. If your mood is up, your self-esteem is up as well. Treat yourself every once in a while. Do not disregard this piece of advice.
Be more open-minded
You are bound to meet people who have different belief systems, ideologies, and overall mindsets from yours. For this reason, it is important that you always keep an open mind from here on out. You have to understand that not everyone you meet will be 100% compatible with you. They will have ideas and beliefs that you don’t share, and that’s completely okay for as long as it doesn’t involve anything negative like bigotry and willful ignorance.
For example, if you’re Christian and another is a non-believer, don’t immediately dismiss them just because you don’t follow the same beliefs. This also applies to something as minute as music and movie preferences, or lifestyle decisions. Diversify your circle by befriending people with different interests. By being exposed to their world, you will become more knowledgeable. The more knowledgeable you are, the higher your self-esteem will be.
Learn how to improve and use your sense of humor
Laughter is the best medicine. If you know how to make people laugh, and make yourself laugh as well, that is an instant boost to your self-esteem.
If you believe you’re the type of person who just does not have a funny bone in their body, you may be surprised to find out that a lot of comedians today once felt the same way you do now. The thing with humor is that, while it comes naturally for others, it is also something you can practice and learn.
If this is something you’re interested in, watch various sitcoms and stand-up comedians. See how they craft and tell their jokes. You can also surround yourself with people who are naturally funny. Scramble your mind for a funny memory, or a funny story that you’ve heard from someone else in the past, and tell those stories yourself. Eventually, humor will come naturally for you, and the more you make other people laugh, the more your self-esteem will rise up.
While it is good for yourself to remain in situations where you’re comfortable and familiar, it will also do you good to challenge yourself every once in a while. What I mean by this is to try out activities and other things that seem foreign to you. Challenge yourself by diving into uncharted territories.
For example, if a friend asks you to trek a mountain with them and that’s something you’ve never really tried before, now is the opportunity to try the activity out for yourself. Constantly challenge yourself and improve upon the things you know by trying out new things. It’s fun and it will improve your self-esteem greatly.
Don’t compare yourself to others
Whatever happens, do not compare yourself to others. Everyone has different lives and the journey is unique to everybody. No matter how bad or good you have it right now, someone else will have it worse or have it better. If someone else is doing so much better, it is unknowable for you, unless you befriend and get to know the person, what it took for them to get to where they are now.
If you keep comparing yourself to other people, you will only find yourself on a downward spiral. Instead of comparing, focus on your own life and appreciate the lives of those around you.
Learn to forgive
Your self-esteem will never increase if you are burdened by grief, guilt, or anger. If you truly want to build your self-esteem, you need to learn to forgive, whether it is to others or to yourself.
It’s undeniable that, sometimes, there are things we’ve done in the past or things about ourselves that personally make us angry. If you are burdened by this, however, your self-esteem will remain down. Whatever it is that happened in the past, acknowledge that it’s been done and it’s time to move on. If someone else has wronged you, forgive, but learn from the situation.
The important thing here is that you provide yourself closure by forgiving. Let go of these burdens to lighten your soul. You will be surprised just how calming the aftereffect will be. After forgiving yourself and the others that have wronged you, your self-esteem will start to increase. This is because you’ve managed to let go of the things that have been weighing you down and your mind will be at ease.
Know your strengths
Everybody has strengths and weaknesses. If you want to build your self-esteem, familiarize yourself with your strengths and use them to your advantage. That way, whenever you’re socializing with other people, you know exactly what you should do to bring others to you.
For example, if you’re good at giving advice, do not hesitate to give them to friends and peers in need. If you’re good at telling stories, tell them to your group of friends. If you believe you know how to make people laugh, then do so!
Never seek validation
As you meet more and more people as you try to build your self-esteem, understand that you won’t be able to please everyone you meet. With this in mind, it is vital that you do not seek validation from everybody. If this is something you constantly expect, you are only diminishing your self-esteem if your expectation isn’t met.
Instead, just keep working on yourself, be kind to others, build friendships, and keep on building your self-esteem and don’t worry about how others see you. If you’re doing a great job, most people will appreciate you and enjoy your company. If there are those who don’t appreciate it, don’t worry about it. Just keep on doing what you’re doing.
Understand why you’re doing this
Finally, keep on reminding yourself why you’re working so hard to build your self-esteem. Remind yourself that you don’t want to wallow in self-pity anymore. Acknowledge that this is good for your social life and your mental health. Understand that you don’t want and you shouldn’t feel down anymore, and that’s why you’re doing your best to improve yourself and building your self-esteem.
This task is not going to be easy, but believe me when I say that it is going to be worth it. Having low self-esteem is very difficult and grim, but the good thing is that it is something you can work on. Just heed the things you’ve read above and keep on working on yourself.
Once you finally build your self-esteem, your social life will flourish, your mental health will be in a good place, and you will be happier overall. This is a worthwhile goal to work on and there is no better time to start working on it than right now. Good luck!