Self-esteem is a reflection of how we perceive and value ourselves. To those coping with low self-esteem, those with the healthy, plumped-up version can seem to rule the world. They are confident, make quick and lasting decisions, and shake off negativity like water off a duck.
Whether it’s thriving or drowning, self-esteem affects every area of life…and it fuels or detracts from life’s enjoyment and happiness.
Many people suffer from low self-esteem. As a matter of fact, a recent study revealed that only 4% of women worldwide consider themselves beautiful. And I would venture a guess that most of the remaining 96% consider themselves to be in beautiful company — they just don’t see themselves in the same light.
If coping with low self-esteem seems to be a lesson in futility, please know that there are steps you can take to climb out of your doldrum self-perception. Easier said than done, I know — especially if your self-esteem is doing a slow waltz with depression.
Let’s take a look at some realistic and approachable tips for coping with low self-esteem. You will probably notice that most, if not all, really come down to “getting to know yourself”…and by knowing yourself, coming to love yourself.
- Think about what is affecting your self-esteem. Are you coming out of a difficult experience or relationship? Have you had a series of negative life events? Identifying the villain is essential to standing up to him now and keeping him at bay in the future.
- Identify thoughts, feelings, physical symptoms and behaviors of your low self-esteem. There is a huge difference between personality characteristics and symptoms of poor — and correctable — self-perception. Coping with low self-esteem means coping with all the ways it shows up…and that requires recognizing them for what they are.
- Listen to your inner monologue. Are you telling yourself that you are weak, ugly, fat, unlikeable, not skilled enough? Do you have the call to perfectionism on auto-replay?
- Identify your negative thoughts. Similar to your inner monologue, the thoughts in your head can trap you in a cycle of low self-esteem. Pay attention to what you “think” — about worthiness, about happiness, about “you vs. others.”
- Ask yourself if your thoughts reflect the facts. This is a “get real” and “get real honest” step. Sometimes it is actually easier to hold on to the deception and the self-deprecation than to acknowledge that your thoughts can’t pass the fact-check.
- Take care of yourself. Do you suffer from poor sleep, fatigue, tension, anxiety in social situations? How would you care for a child or someone you love? If thinking of yourself in the third-person helps you recognize that you deserve to be treated lovingly, then give yourself that detachment. Self-care is essential to coping with low self-esteem and can work wonders in elevating your value of yourself.
- Learn to be assertive. People who suffer from low self-esteem are notorious people pleasers because they assume others won’t like them. Learning to say “no,” setting boundaries and taking control of decisions can be a big boost to your confidence, and ultimately your self-esteem.
- Focus on your positives. Celebrate your successes, without criticizing or seeking fault. Do more of what you love and be proud of every small win. Perfection doesn’t have a place in positivity. Put on some rose-colored glasses and look in the mirror. Seek and celebrate every positive.
- Connect with people who love you. If you are coping with low self-esteem, the last thing you need is to be hanging with the Debbie Downers of your world. Bask in the feel-good of those who love you and genuinely care about your well-being. And consider asking them for a thoughtful assessment of what they like about you.
- Get support. This can be the toughest step for people who don’t feel worthy of happiness to begin with. But if you are working through the other tips listed here, support will not only make sense, it will be a breath of fresh air. Ideally, take the risk of reaching out to peer support groups or other talk-centric sources of help. Not ready to engage? Try a mindfulness practice.
Self-esteem, like happiness, is an inside job. If you are suffering from low self-esteem, happiness may seem elusive to you. The beauty of working toward a healthy self-esteem is that it is a process of truth. And the truth is always that you not only deserve to be happy, but are called to be happy.
And we are here to help you get there. Please reach out and allow us to help you elevate your low self-esteem. I’m here to help.