The longest, deepest, most important love affair you’ll ever experience is the one you have with yourself and that’s why improving your self-esteem is so important.
However for most of us, the idea of “loving ourselves” seems kind of selfish or egotistical.
We think it’s better for us to direct our love outward rather than inward.
But when we are kind to ourselves through simple practices like positive self-talk, we can gradually make improvements to our self-image that add up to a monumental change.
So, today I want to share five simple, yet effective strategies you can implement to improve your self-esteem.
1. Practice Gratitude
I can’t overstate how powerful this is.
When you make the effort to recognize everything you have to be grateful for, you will find more and more things to be grateful for – including your own abilities and accomplishments.
And when you take stock of everything that is actually going RIGHT in your life, that negative voice in your head won’t be as loud. That’s why I encourage everyone to keep a gratitude journal.
At the end of the day, take the time to write down each thing, no matter how small it seems, that you were thankful for during your day. This makes good days even better and is also a beautiful way to remind yourself how good your life really is.
Also, be sure to pay your gratitude forward. When you feel grateful for the people in your life and the things they have done for you, let them know about it.
Tell them that you see and appreciate what they do for you and for others. This allows you to pass that positive energy on to them and boost their self-esteem as well.
2. Celebrate Your Successes
Schedule some time to write down up to 101 accomplishments you have achieved in your life.
They don’t have to be big achievements; here are a few simple examples:
- Graduating high school
- Getting your driver’s license
- Learning to play the guitar or the piano
- Getting into college
- Becoming a sergeant in the military
- Getting a new job or promotion, giving your first talk,
- Getting your realtor’s license,
- Getting married,
- Starting a family
- Running a 10K
- Traveling to a foreign country.
Work to create as long a list as possible, even if you have to resort to things like passed the first grade, passed the second grade, passed the third grade, survived Mrs. Zimmerman’s biology class, and so on.
The more you can see how much you have accomplished in your life, the more you will recognize what you are capable of achieving.
3. Try The Mirror Exercise
All you have to do is take a few minutes at the end of each day to look at yourself in the mirror and say – out loud – that you appreciate what you accomplished that day.
Be sure to mention everything you achieved, no matter how big or small.
Because it’s important to give yourself credit for the small things, too! You got up on time, you stuck to your diet, you took the dog for a walk after dinner.
If you feel good about it, you should acknowledge it to yourself. Then, once you have thanked yourself for everything you did that day, look yourself in the eye and say “I love you,” to yourself.
This might seem awkward at first, and you might feel a bit silly, but if you do it every night I guarantee it will change the way you feel about yourself.
One of my students has done this every night for more than 5 years, and I can tell you the difference in both her self-esteem and her personality is amazing.
4. Practice Positive Affirmations
Daily affirmations are the best way to replace those negative thoughts that don’t serve you with positive thoughts that build you up and give you the confidence you need to achieve your goals.
I recommend two different kinds of affirmations when working with your self-esteem.
The first are affirmations that affirm positive things about yourself.
These would include statements like:
- “I am competent, smart and able. “
- “I deserve to be happy and successful.”
- “I am growing and changing for the better.”
- “I love the person I am becoming.”
- “I am self-reliant, creative and persistent in whatever I do.”
- “I always do my best, and that is enough.”
- “I am self-reliant, creative and persistent in whatever I do.”
- “I am worthy of all the good things that happen in my life.”
Because a big part of self-esteem is feeling competent to achieve what you set out to do, you can also use affirmations as a tool to help you achieve the goals that you set for yourself.
These would include affirmations like: “I am so happy and grateful that I have lost thirty pounds and feel healthy and strong in my body.”
By anchoring your affirmation in an emotion such as happiness or gratitude, you motivate yourself to want to experience that emotion for real.
And by stating your goal as already achieved, you create a dynamic cognitive tension in your subconscious mind between what you are affirming and what is the current reality (for example currently being overweight).
That will actually stimulate your unconscious creative mind to resolve that tension by coming up with solutions for you, and thereby moving you closer to your goal.
5. Take Responsibility
My final tip to boost your self-esteem is to accept that you are 100% responsible for your life.
It’s easy to play the “blame game” and say it’s other people’s fault, or that you’re a victim of circumstance when life doesn’t go your way.
But the truth is, you’re the only one who has control over your life – which means you’re the only one who can change your life for the better.
Once you recognize this, you will find it so much easier to improve your performance, learn from your mistakes, and create a life you truly love.
And with every new action you take, and every goal you set for yourself and achieve, you will boost your confidence and self-esteem even more.
As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul® series, Jack Canfield fostered the emergence of inspirational anthologies as a genre—and watched it grow to a billion dollar market. As the driving force behind the development and delivery of over 100 million books sold through the Chicken Soup for the Soul® franchise, Jack Canfield is uniquely qualified to talk about success. Jack is America’s #1 Success Coach and wrote the life-changing book The Success Principles: How to Get From Where You Are to Where You Want to Be and Jack speaks around the world on this subject. Check out his newest book The 30-Day Sobriety Solution: How to Cut Back or Quit Drinking in the Privacy of Your Own Home. Follow Jack at www.jackcanfield.com and sign up for his free resources today!
Image courtesy of KAL VISUALS.