Hi friends, I’m happy you are here today because the topic I’m going to discuss is very important and I believe that it impacts us all at some point in our lives, and I also believe that this is the cause of many casualties in today’s society. It is the topic of self-esteem.
What is self-esteem?
In short, it is the way we view ourselves. It is how much we believe in ourselves, in the things we can do and accomplish, in the respect we give ourselves, in the confidence we have in us. Is it important? Extremely. The way we view ourselves and the confidence we have in us greatly impact our daily lives, from how we dress to how we walk. There are two types of self-esteems to worry about, the very low self-esteem and the very high self-esteem. I’m sure you know someone that thinks they are better than others in every single way. Well, that is because they have such a high self-esteem, which is not necessarily good. We have to find a balance, somewhere in the middle. Since I’ve never suffered from high self-esteem, I won’t write much about it. Instead, I will focus on low self-esteem.
I’ve struggled with a low self-esteem ever since I was 12 years old. I remember it very clearly because it was the year we moved to a new country. I didn’t have any friends, I didn’t know the language, and I became overweight. For me, being overweight was the main reason why I became very guarded and I was very self conscious of how I looked. It made me feel bad about myself and I didn’t love me. I would always walk with my head down so I wouldn’t look people in the eye, I didn’t dress up because I didn’t think I was pretty enough, I was barely audible when I spoke (if I spoke at all), I would never raise my hand in school, and the list goes on.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of people that have very low self-esteem. In school, especially High School, I noticed a lot more kids that were left out and the “cool” kids made fun of them. Or the “nerds” would be seating on one side of the cafeteria while the basketball team would be on the other side. Why do you think there are so many attacks in school nowadays? It is because those kids have been traumatized in someway or another and they don’t see any value in themselves, much less in others. But let’s think outside of the school system, how about at work? Do you or your co-workers make fun of a particular co-worker there? Or someone in your family? It doesn’t matter how little or how big, if you make someone feel bad in any way, it is detrimental to their well being.
If you are suffering from a low self-esteem, this article is for you. First of, let me tell you that you are not alone. There are a lot of people in the world that feel this way. The good news is that you can improve your self-esteem and you can learn to love yourself. The first thing I want to say is that God loves you and He created all of us in his image, in other words you are perfect as you are:
Change is not easy
I have greatly improved my self-esteem over the years. It is not easy and it is not fast and I didn’t do it alone. For me, my now husband was my light. If you were to asked him how our first date went, he would tell you that I probably counted each grain of rice in my plate when we were having dinner; I would not look at him. If he had been any other man, he would have probably walked away. But he’s wonderful and took a chance with me. He made me realized how special I am, and he made me feel loved. He was surrounded with positive and encouraging people, and he introduced them to me. And being around an environment like that really made me grow. I also started reading motivational books and dressing up better, and taking care of myself.
Again, this is not easy and it is not fast. There are changes that have to be made but you would not be reading this if you were not ready to commit to these changes. So here are my recommendations to start working on improving your self-esteem. It can be done, you just have to be patient with yourself, learn to forgive your mistakes and learn to love and accept yourself.
8 Steps to Improve Self-Esteem
- Read. Yes, this is my first recommendation. The first book you should be reading is the Bible. You don’t have to do it for too long, you can start with one page. The Bible is full of encouraging, loving words that any person needs to read. Whenever I read the Bible, I feel better about myself, I love myself more, and in turn I love those around me even more. It’s a wonderful feeling. I also recommend you read motivational books. There are so many good, even great, books out there. For a woman, I recommend you start with “Captivating” by John and Stasi Eldredge. For a man, I recommend you start with “Wild at Heart” by John Eldredge as well. I will do a separate post with a compilation of the books I’ve read and how they’ve helped me so you can read them too. I also suggest you read other articles of this nature. There is a lot of information out online with awesome tips and writers.
- Exercise. Yes, you read it right. Start doing exercise. Again, this does not have to take long if you are too busy. You don’t even need a gym or equipment to start working out. You can do it at home, for as little as 5 minutes. There are many benefits of exercising, from energy boosting to mood improvement, to losing weight and prevent/improve health conditions. There are countless Pinterest pins and videos in youtube that show how to do workouts for different fitness levels so there is no excuse. You can start by walking for 5, 10 or 15 minutes and increasing the amount per day or per week. You can do a quick workout right after waking up or before taking a shower. Find the time to workout. You can do it. Here’s a quick routine that should take about 15 minutes. It’s tough if you have not been working out but it’s very effective. If you can’t do all the exercises, get through as much as you can and increase the repetitions as you improve:
- Filter what you see, hear and say. This is a huge, huge topic. We are and we do everything we see, hear and say. Don’t believe me? Imagine this: a teenager boy goes home from school everyday to find his dad drunk, mistreating his mom all the time, telling him he is a nobody and that he’ll end up in jail someday. This teenager hears insults everyday and sees violence everyday. In school, they make fun of him because everybody knows how things are at home. Even his inner voice tells him he is a nobody and has no future. What do you think his future looks like? It seems pretty dark. Unless this teenager finds a mentor or a friend that helps him change, he’s going to a bad place. And unfortunately, this happens to us too. If we tell ourselves that we look bad, that we are no good for anything, that we have no meaning, our subconscious will eventually believe it and we’ll become what we fear the most. We have to be very selective of the things we say to us, of what we watch on TV or what we hear on the radio. BE POSITIVE. Say nice things to yourself. Watch yourself in the mirror and give a compliment everyday. Stop watching those reality shows that don’t have any meaning. And stop listening to those negative comments other people say.
- Socialize. When we are making changes, it feels daunting and sometimes we give up. But that’s okay, we can start back up again, learn from our lesson and continue on. But we can’t do it alone, not on this life. I encourage you to find a friend, or friends, that love you and support you. Talk to them about the changes you are trying to accomplish and they will help you. You might have to find new friends if the ones you have don’t help you, you don’t want your friends making you feel bad. But there are places where you can find this support, such as in Church, or by joining a team. This will also serve to boost up your confidence because if you start speaking to strangers, you will see that you can do it and you won’t be intimidated by that. I personally couldn’t go to a person and say “Hi” but after trying it, now I say “Hi” to everybody, I smile and look them in the eye. How cool is that? Try it for yourself. Next time you go to a public place, start saying “Hi” to strangers. It’s okay if they don’t respond back, and it feels even better when they do.
- Self-care. I have trouble with this one personally but I think it’s very important as well. I find it that when I look nice, I feel better. And I don’t mean to use your pretties clothes, or use make-up everyday to hide all the imperfections, or to buy all the expensive perfumes. I mean use clothes that flatter you (that make you feel nice), do your hair differently, use lipstick, put on earrings, seat down and breathe for a minute.Take at least 5 minutes every day for this kind of stuff. Take 5 minutes every day to pamper yourself. Discover what you like for you, what makes you feel special. It doesn’t matter what others say; it’s what you feel. Love yourself. I’d also like to add here to eat well and healthy; this also makes me feel good about myself. So take a few extra minutes to plan your meals and snacks, it does make a difference.
- Organization. This connects a little to “Self-care” because it also makes me feel better when I’m organized. If everything around the house is always chaotic, it gets really messy and my spirits are down. And if I’m not feeling well, I can’t make my family feel well and I end up feeling like a failure because I’m not the perfect mom who always has dinner ready on time, the house is not always clean, the kids are not always kids (haha) and it feels like the world is about to end. We DO NOT have to be perfect. But if we get organized, and have a plan, more times than not, things will work out on their own. I usually have a weekly meal plan and I recommend you start one if you don’t already have one. This one thing helps us out immensely and it makes me feel good about myself. We also try to have a cleaning schedule and laundry schedule, and although it doesn’t always work out the way we planned, it is a lot easier than having to do all the cleaning in one day, or all the laundry in one day; that’s very tiring to do. So get more organized, and you’ll feel like you’ll get more accomplished and that will make you feel better.
- Goals. I’m a goals person; I write down things I want to accomplish and the date I want to get it done. Does it always work out like planned? No. But when I do finally accomplish a goal, it feels wonderful and I feel accomplished. I’d like you to set goals for yourself, short term and long term. Start small, and work yourself up. Since you are working on your self-esteem, start applying some (or all) of the tips you read here, not all at the same time. You can start by reading for 5 minutes each day for a week. Then, add on a 5 minute exercise for the second week. For the third week, add healthy eating and plan your meals. Don’t try to do everything at the same time because you will feel overwhelmed. Break it in little pieces and start working towards your goals. If by the fourth week you are falling behind on some of the goals you’ve set yourself, you’re probably overdoing it. Identify the areas you need work on the most, and start working on those first. You can do it!
- Have fun. Last but not least, have fun! Enjoy the process and try not to be too hard on yourself. We all make mistakes, we all fall down. But it’s important to learn and get back up and continue on. Today, I laugh at my past self. I don’t feel sorry for myself because I am the person I am today because of my experiences. We all go through difficult times, some harder than others. But if we focus on the positive, and learn from those lessons, we’ll be better equipped to help others that are going through. So enjoy your journey and know that everything happens for a reason. We might not see it today, but I’m sure that we’ll see it in the future.
I really hope that these tips help you, or someone you know. So please share this article because it can really save a life.