By this point, we all know that Instagram is not real life. No one looks slim and toned all the time, is always smiling, or is constantly hanging out with friends – no matter how they make it look.
But while both the body positivity movement and mental health awareness have come to the forefront of our attention, overall self esteem still seems to be at an all-time low.
Why is that?
My speculation is that it’s still so easy to get swept up in social media and comparisons. We’re all trying to be and do everything, which is an impossible amount of pressure to put on ourselves.
Personally, I’m trying to be a self-employed entrepreneur, part-time worker, money-making/frugal living extraordinaire, self-sustaining adult, attentive girlfriend, energetic and caring dog/cat mom, put-together lady, exercise fanatic, super clean eater, fitness motivator, exquisite home cleaner, prompt laundry washer, and pro sleeper. And that’s not even including all my little goals!
Frankly, with all I have to do every day, we’re lucky if I even remember to put on my deodorant.
(And watch out, folks, ’cause I live in the toasty climate of Texas.)
So when we inevitably slack on one (or let’s be real, a bunch) of these roles – which are all pretty important – it’s no wonder we feel down on ourselves.
In the words of Ron Weasley, “One person can’t possibly feel all that. They’d explode.”
On the journey to do and be all, as well as our self-comparisons to other people, we can lose our self esteem along the way.
Fortunately, I’ve found a few things that have helped improve my self esteem over the years, and I’m really excited to share them.
I hope these tips help you too!
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7 Tips to Improve Self Esteem
1. Cut out toxic people
This first one may not be something you can act on today, but it’s a big one.
We all find ourselves surrounded by toxic people at some point or another. You can probably even think of someone in your life right now.
These are the people who cut you down rather than build you up, or create a one-sided relationship that’s only about them. They make you feel like there’s something wrong with you or that you’re simply uncool.
I can think of two instances where I had people like this in my life. Unfortunately, both times I didn’t realize what was happening for the longest time or that I could do something about it.
Eventually, I cut these people out of my life. It’s not necessarily that these were bad people, it’s just that they were bad for me.
So whether it’s unfriending, blocking a phone number, moving out, or sitting down and having a conversation that maybe you’ve grown apart, get these toxic people out of your life. Don’t do so in a mean way, but do it in a final way. It will be what’s best for you, your self esteem, and your happiness in the long run.
2. Take time for yourself
Of course it’s easier said than done when you have all your roles to fulfill.
But consider this: try adding “self-care champion” to your list of roles. That way, in your mind it’s just as important to take time for relaxation.
It doesn’t matter what it is: taking a bubble bath, watching your favorite show – it just needs to be something you enjoy.
When you regularly dedicate time to self care, you’re telling yourself that you matter.
Self care isn’t just about “refilling your cup” after a long day at work, it’s a great way to build up from low self esteem.
RELATED POST: Simple Self Care Ideas to Unwind and Refresh
3. Work on improving yourself
I talked about this in my most recent post 7 Self Improvement Ideas to Unlock Your Full Potential, so I’ll just lightly touch on it here.
Getting dedicated to self improvement is one of the best ways to improve your self esteem. When you know that you’re doing everything in your power to become the best version of yourself, how could you not love and respect yourself?
It’s extremely admirable. If you feel like you’re not growing or you just want to do more to better yourself, check out the self improvement ideas I discuss in that post!
Exercise is hands down one of the best ways boost your self esteem – and just your general happiness!
No matter your fitness level, if you get a workout in, you can feel pretty dang proud of yourself. You did something good for your body. It wasn’t easy, and it may have been out of your comfort zone, but you did it.
And some of the changes that come from exercise can increase your self esteem too. While physical changes shouldn’t be the source of your feelings about yourself, you can be proud of the new muscle definition showing because you know the work it took to get there.
Personally, I feel my strongest mentally when I’m working out. It’s empowering to lift weights or run hard, pushing my body to its limits.
So give it a try! Go workout and enjoy the self esteem boost that accompanies it!
5. Recognize negative thoughts and stop them in their tracks
Negative thoughts are so easy to succumb to. But if you’re trying to improve self esteem, a key step is realizing when you’re having these negative thoughts and what causes them.
Keep a notebook by you during the day and make a tally every time you think something negative about yourself.
Once you’re able to see your triggers, then you can begin to fight back.
(Read tip #7 for a good way to counter your negative self-talk!)
6. Have a go-to source for joy and inspiration
When you’re feeling down about yourself, find a go-to source of happiness. This could be a favorite book, a TV show, a funny podcast, a playlist, or an upbeat YouTube channel (I discuss some of my favorite YouTube channels here!).
Having something happy and uplifting to go back to is a great way to pick yourself up when you’re feeling down.
For example, the show Friends is one of my go-to’s. I find it relatable, and it reminds me that I’m not the only one experiencing certain hardships in life. Plus it’s funny and always makes me laugh!
I’ll add, though, that this source of joy shouldn’t be another person.
For one, that’s putting too much pressure on that person. No one human should feel responsible for having to pick you up every day – it’s emotionally draining.
And two, you shouldn’t need to rely on anyone else for your self esteem. It should come from within. People are inconsistent and unreliable for this – that might sound pessimistic, but it’s not! All it means is that everyone has their own ups and downs, and the person you rely on to boost your mood and self esteem may not be happy themselves on a given day.
So definitely find a source of joy that’s consistent, such as a book, podcast, or any one of the others I mentioned above.
7. Use positive affirmations
I’m still fairly new to the world of positive affirmations, but I’m already a big fan.
It may feel sort of silly at first, talking yourself up with certain phrases. But think about how natural it is to say something you perceive as dumb in a conversation and instantly think, “Wow, I’m an idiot.”
Positive affirmations are the positive side of self-talk. And consciously thinking about it will help us get better at doing it naturally over time. Telling yourself things like, “I am strong and capable,” and, “I’m prepared and have totally got this,” is way more constructive than “I’m going to blow this presentation.”
Plus, you’d never tell a friend, “Girl, you’re so socially awkward. Why is anyone friends with you?” So why would you tell yourself that?
I recently wrote a post including 25 positive affirmations for women during a bad day at work. I love all of these and think they’re so applicable for many different types of work. Check them out – they’ll definitely help improve self esteem!
Thanks so much for reading! I hope you found this helpful and constructive. Every single person is wonderfully unique, so keep striving to embrace it and appreciate who you are! There’s no one else like you!
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