Low self esteem can have a massive effect on your life. The way you value and perceive yourself can influence every area of your day to day living. Low self esteem can make you feel some or all of the following emotions:
- Dislike, or even feelings of hatred towards yourself
- Feeling like nobody likes you
- Blaming yourself for things that aren’t your fault.
- Feeling that you’re undeserving of happiness
- A lack of confidence
- The inability to make decisions
- Feeling ‘not good enough’
- An inability to recognize your strengths
- Guilt for spending time or money on yourself.
Such feelings can have the effect that you end up living a life that, if they get bad enough, can be a nightmare. Of course, in such extreme situations it’s necessary to seek professional help. But there are many things you can do to help yourself as well. So if you feel that low self esteem is beginning to have an impact on your life, then the following tips could be of help.
What is affecting your self esteem?
This differs for everyone, but could include the following:
- Ongoing stress
- Losing your job or not being able to find work
- Abuse and/or being bullied
- Mental health issues
- Physical illness
- A difficult relationship, divorce, or separation
Of course, it could well be a combination of the above, or something entirely different altogether. But the key here is to be totally honest with yourself and try to understand where your feelings stem from.
Once you’ve managed this, then you need to attempt to practice methods that will begin to change the way you feel about yourself.
- Avoid negative self talk. You might not even realize that you put yourself down – many of us don’t. Identifying this is crucial, and can be done by simply by asking yourself the question, ‘would I speak like this about someone I loved or cared about?’ If the answer’s yes, then you should make a concerted effort not to talk about yourself in such a way either.
- Set yourself a challenge. Now, this doesn’t have to be something huge – in fact, making the challenge too monumental could be detrimental to your efforts entirely. Instead, find something you enjoy doing (drama, tennis, art, running… It doesn’t matter what, as long as you enjoy it), and simply do more of it. The key here is to set small goals that are wholly achievable, because when you suffer from low self esteem it can be hard to find motivation. But once you start to hit your goals, this can help you feel better about yourself.
- Take care of yourself. This is a huge one, because when you feel bad about yourself, it’s often that case that you simply don’t bother. Look at your sleeping habits, watch how much alcohol you drink, think about your diet… But d’you know what the biggest influence of all is? Exercise… And no, you don’t need to sacrifice every waking hour to the gym. Simply going for a walk on a regular basis will help. Or go dancing if that’s your thing. Run around in the garden with the kids. or cycle to the shops instead of getting in the car. You get the idea…
- Try to focus on your positives. Now, this can be very hard if you’re suffering from low self esteem. But there are small steps you can take to help this. Try writing a list of the things you like about yourself. This might be small to start with, but try to add something to it every day, or every week. And, now this is a biggie, try to allow yourself to accept compliments from others. Hard, we know, but when they come your way, make a note of them so you can revisit nice things people have said when you’re having a down day.
- Learn to be assertive. In other words, you probably need to re-learn how to say ‘no!’ As well as this, you need to set boundaries as to how much you’re going to do for other people, and learn to take control over the decisions you make. Now, learning to ‘say no’ can seem like a massive challenge. But there are many small ways in which you can being this journey. Try keeping your response simple, be true to yourself, and most importantly, try not to feel guilty when you do so.
Very importantly, if things really start to get to much, it’s vital to seek help if and when you need it. Talk to your medical doctor who’ll be able to determine the best course of action to take. Counselling is available, and can be truly helpful, for cases where low self esteem is having a serious negative impact on your life.
But the key is to address the issue before it gets that bad. We all have times in our life when things start to get on top of us. And if this is happening to you, then try not to bottle it up. Talk to trusted friends and family, and talk to your doctor if necessary.