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10 Ways to Improve Your Self Esteem

What is self esteem?

Self-esteem is the opinion and thoughts you have about yourself and your abilities. Self-esteem can be low (often caused by a sense of insecurity, doubts about your capabilities, or from trauma caused by verbal and emotional abuse) or it can be high (which shows as confidence in your abilities, security in your identity and a sense of belonging) or it can be somewhere in between.

Self-esteem is made up from how you view yourself and your abilities, your confidence, sense of identity and sense of belonging.

When self-esteem is low, it can leave you feeling very insecure about yourself and shows up as lack of motivation, or as anxiety and depression. It is often coupled with negative thoughts and feelings about your body image too.

Here are ten ways to improve your self-esteem:

1. Use positive "I am" statements

It can be easy to get into the habit of saying negative things to yourself, such as, "I am so stupid," or other similar critical statements. One of the fastest ways to improve self esteem is to be intentional about choosing positive self talk. Start by making a point of noticing what comes after the thought "I am ......" and change your inner dialogue to something more positive. Try using a daily positive "I am" statement to set your intention for the day, for instance; "I am choosing joy today," and remind yourself of this if you notice yourself out of alignment with your set intention.

2. Be kind to yourself, and show yourself grace.

We all do the best we can, where we are, with what we have, and it is so easy to look back and see how we could have done things differently. Hind sight is 20/20 as they. Speak to yourself the way you would speak to your best friend. Come to terms with past decisions and actions, as they are behind you, and cannot be changed. Acknowledging that you did the best you could at the time allows you to show yourself grace and forgiveness for past decisions.

3. Forgive yourself for your past mistakes; everyone makes them

We have all done things, and said things that we later regret, and we have all made mistakes. The key is to learn from those mistakes so as not to have to repeat the lesson. It is also important to forgive ourselves for errors in judgement, outbursts of anger, or not handling a situation in the best possible way we could have. Recognize that we grow when we make mistakes, and that they are an inevitable part of life.

4. Schedule fun things into your life

Life can be busy! With work, kids, housework, grocery shopping, laundry and all the things we need to get done every day. Sometimes we forget that we need to do fun things too. It is easy to get caught up in work and life, so being intentional about scheduling fun things into your calendar. Find something fun to do with a friend. Invite friends over for dinner, or find a movie or play to attend. What ever you enjoy doing should become a regular part of your life, so start by intentionally scheduling one fun thing per month to do.

5. Become more assertive and learn how to say "No"

Your self-esteem can improve greatly when you take a stand for yourself. Sometimes that may mean setting firm boundaries around how people talk to you or treat you, or it can mean just learning how to say no. When you have firm boundaries in place it allows you to have a better sense of control over your own life and can improve your self esteem very quickly. When you get to choose what you truly want to do in life, rather than doing things through obligation it is empowering. "No." is a full sentence, and no further explanation is required.

6. Learn to be authentically you

Rather than focusing on measuring yourself against others, try to focus on your own goals and achievements. Any time "comparison-itus" sets in, recognize that you and the other person are totally different people with different families of origin, upbringings, backgrounds, circumstances, and lives. Be proud of who you are, and you do you!

7. Lose the need for perfection

Perfection is truly an unrealistic goal to set in any area of one's life. It is better to always strive to be the very best version of yourself and try your best, knowing that what you may do may not be perfect. Learn to be ok with not being a perfectionist.

8. Move more

When you move your body it releases feel good hormones called endorphins. Not only is movement good for your body, it is a great way to practice setting and achieving goals as well as a way to build confidence in your abilities. Try something new. Go ice skating or roller blading, take a yoga class, or grab a friend and go for a walk. The more you move and exercise, the stronger you become, and the better you will feel about your body, appearance and yourself in general.

9. Eat healthy food

Eating healthy foods helps us to feel good about ourselves. Not only does it give us energy it keeps our bodies running optimally and prepares us to be ready for whatever comes our way. When we are feeling down it is very easy to give up, but when we eat healthy food we make sure that we are giving our body what it needs, which in turn gives us more energy and when we feel good we improve our self-esteem.

10. Find your tribe

Surround yourself with people who make you feel good about yourself, avoid toxic people and anyone who is a gossip or triggers your negative side. Find people who encourage you to be better and who you enjoy being around because they will help to bring out the best in you.

How's your self-esteem today? Try the above suggestions, and if you need extra help please reach out!

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