How to Build Your Self-Esteem

Luca Vaccino
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Causes of Low Self-Esteem

There are many causes and reasons for low self-esteem, and not all of them are easily identifiable. Often, your self-esteem will be negatively affected by things which you cannot control or change.

If you are constantly treated badly, or if you have been abused in the past, then this can knock your confidence down and create a downward cycle of self-esteem and action.

It may also be a good idea to set aside time each day to meditate or pray. This is the ultimate time to ask for personal and life blessings, and getting into the habit of praying will help your mind and body in a number of ways.

Did You Know?

Paying attention to your body as you eat your meals, especially healthy meals, is a very good habit to develop.
When we pay attention to what we eat, we fill our minds with positive and healthy thoughts and put the food into our bodies in a more effective and positive way.

If you feel disorganized, in a rat race, or have a feeling of being overwhelmed, take time to put things into smaller compartments as you see fit.

On the flip side, if you currently have an over-abundance of things in your life that you have no control over, then it’s a good idea to take some time out of your day to think about how you can make some changes in your life.

#1 Negative Thought Patterns

#2 Body Image

#3 Lack of Experience

Many people blame low self-esteem and poor attitudes on lack of experience. Critics argue that without the necessary real life experiences to build your self-esteem, you have a baby step to put in place before anything else on this list will possibly have any significant impact.

While the lack of experience certainly doesn’t help the situation, it is not the main problem. At the heart of any problem is an unhealthy relationship with yourself.

Even after lots of experience, building self-esteem is still possible if the brain is behaving healthily and happy with itself. Everything else builds on top of that.

If your brain is coping with an emotional reality that is unhealthy, it will therefore be ill equipped to process it all.

Emotional instability can be found even in people who have tremendous experience. It’s just that experience doesn’t necessarily create a mentally healthy person. Emotional instability is a factor that occurs regardless of experience.

Even though you may be a top-flight physician, but if you have a food addiction or don’t like your job, it can still have a negative impact on your self-esteem.

#4 Previous Relationship and Bad Breakups

How many times can you break up with someone, before they stop trusting you? This is the threshold of trust you need to pass before you get their attention again.

In psychology, this threshold is called the “loyalty kiss.” It’s the price you pay to get your ex’s attention back. The loyalty kiss consists of three steps:

{1}. You do something so uncharacteristic that they question your character.
{2}. In this heart-breaking moment, you begin behaving in a way that makes you more likable. It’s a move that’s strategically designed to make you more attractive to them once again.
{3}. Once you’ve completed your loyalty kiss, they start trusting you once again. And most importantly, they notice you and want to be with you again.

What Happens When You Have Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is perhaps the most common negative effect of peer pressure. Not only does it make us act in a certain way that we wouldn’t choose, but it results in a wide variety of other negative social and emotional aspects.

How does self-esteem work?

The theory goes that low self-esteem goes hand in hand with lack of self-love.

Low self-esteem makes you feel insecure; insecure people don’t like themselves that much, or something they do or are. They feel that they are not important enough, which in turn makes them begin to look out for number one.

People with low self-esteem tend to put themselves last on the list, which makes them put other people before them.

They also fear life and love it being a bit of a rollercoaster ride.

They try to protect themselves from hurt, pain and rejection by being self-reliant and trying to do everything on their own.

They look for the easy way out even though they spend a lot of time thinking about what they should or could have done better.

They have all the best intentions in the world to deal with problems, but they don’t know how.

#1 You have trouble communicating

The way you communicate is your first way of building your self-esteem. No matter what you say, tone of voice and body language often communicate a lot more to people than what you actually say. For this reason, you need to work on your own self-confidence and overcoming your fears. If you’re outgoing and talkative, then one of the best ways to connect with other people is to start up a conversation with them.

By yourself, if you have trouble initiating conversations, then try practicing some open-ended questions on your friends and family. Find out the best questions to ask, and always be on the lookout for the answers to this until you learn to treat the best interests of others as well as yourself.

Your self-confidence is often felt in your ability to ask good questions. A strong sense of self-esteem often is placed on being able to keep a good conversation going. Nobody is going to fault you for squeezing an awkward silence in the middle of a long-winded story.

#2 You become toxic and possessive.

If you know yourself and you know what you’re good at, you can rely on yourself more. If you don’t know yourself, then you will have trouble trusting yourself.

Do you have ever said, “I wish I could believe I’m good enough for that.” What about “I wish I could believe I’m good enough for that, but I know I’m not”? We say those things because we don’t feel that we measure up.

The way to build self-esteem is to believe you deserve to have what you want. What you deserve is everything you can’t change about you.

Your race, your gender, your beliefs, and your skills.

What you can change is your behavior. What you can change is how you feel about yourself.

All it takes is a change in attitude to begin to see yourself in a new light. How do you do that? By getting to know yourself.

What are your values?

Values are things you believe in. They are principles and priorities that guide your behavior.

#3 You are over sensitive

You can't trust yourself to see things clearly, even if they are right there staring at you. You overreact to upsetting triggers. You seek constant reassurance that you aren't losing your mind.

You find it difficult to forgive yourself and others. You lack motivation and carry on, emotionally blocked.

The worst part is that you don't create the experiences keeping you in this sweet spot. Successful people keep their emotions in check by making themselves accountable to someone bigger and more important than they are. You've been a victim.

It’s time to break your victim mentality and accept that you cannot maintain this kind of victim lifestyle forever. Okay, so you hate your current job. It sucks, it’s boring, and you can’t stand being in the same room with other people, so nobody’s sympathy is going to save you.

Tips on How to Build Your Self-Esteem

Self-confidence can be a difficult thing to develop, especially for people who struggle with low confidence levels. However, there are some tricks you can use to boost your self-esteem, and even give yourself a quick confidence boost.

Practice Makes Perfect

Some people may say that the only way to get better at something is to practice doing that thing over and over again. Practice your confidence building techniques to improve yourself. Once you do this enough times you should be able to gain the confidence you need.

Be Social with Friends

When you are trying to build your self-esteem, it is incredibly helpful if you can make social connections with people who already have high self-confidence. People who have low confidence in themselves tend to be lonely and isolated.

However, if you make friends who are confident, it may be helpful to surround yourself with peers who encourage you and truly believe in your potential.

Challenge Your Thought Patterns

Having damaging beliefs about yourself or your abilities can lead to low self-esteem. This is why it is so important to challenge negative thought patterns, and replace them with more positive ones. Try to think about things that will make you feel better.

#1 Take care of yourself

Some people have a low opinion of themselves, and at a glance it can be hard to see why. But if you take time to really analyze it, it can be a result of years of neglect.

People who are not taken care of suffer mentally and physically. It can become a vicious cycle for some people.

I took care of a great deal of my peers when I worked in retail. The general rule was that if the customer walked away unhappy, I was to think I had done my job. So, if I noticed a smile that looked forced or even a little angry, I would try to correct the situation. I found that because I approached each interaction wearing a smile, most people were more friendly to me. If you know that you have it in you to give 100% to get 100% back, then you will always have someone who is willing to support you and help you succeed.

#2 Believe that you're enough

A positive attitude goes a long way in helping you succeed in life. If you aren’t satisfied with yourself already, use these suggestions to start building your self-esteem.

Believe in yourself. With the right attitude, you can accomplish anything that you want. Take pride in your abilities by using positive affirmations.

Write down your ideal self-image and use it as a benchmark. If you feel insecure, this can be a guide for what to change.

Do things that make you feel in control. Get credit or recognition if you’ve worked hard on a project.

If you’re ever feeling discouraged, talk to someone you trust and seek their advice.

Practice saying what you think in an assertive, yet sensitive, way.

Ensure your self-image is correct. You can become more positive about yourself the more you find out about your strengths.

Note: If you have a weak self-image, being around people who constantly put you down is a sure way to build it up.

#3 Stop comparing

To build your self-esteem you need to stop comparing yourself to others. One of the first things you can do to improve your self-esteem is to stop judging others.

Discriminating about what other people are doing, thinking or saying severely diminishes your own sense of self. It makes you feel less desirable, less attractive and less confident of being loved by others. You build your self-esteem by valuing yourself, making you feel deeper within your own ability that others.

When you begin to watch other people’ behaviour with wondering eyes, you no longer see them for what they are. You can recognise outer qualities, but you see them as surface qualities and forget that each person you encounter is unique and is valuable in their own right. There is great wisdom in finding your own individual truth and following it. There is great wisdom in your unique qualities and how they make you feel, because that is what you value.

When you value your own unique qualities, you value yourself.

When you stop comparing yourself to others, you can start to genuinely recognise your own value and the value of others.

#4 See yourself as an individual

Books are wonderful aids to help you take your life to a higher level. But the best way to improve yourself is to see yourself as an individual.

Most of us spend all of our time comparing ourselves to others. But comparing yourself to others puts you in a bad position. This includes seeing others with more possessions, more success, more beauty, and more power than you.

When you focus on comparing yourself to others, you won’t be able to see all that you have accomplished and are accomplishing. You become consumed by the belief that there is always something missing from you. You can never be satisfied.

But when you see yourself as an individual, a part of you comes into its own.

You are unique and there is something special about you. You have some special quality that is unlike anyone else. Depend on that quality to help you make a difference in the world.

#5 Accept Compliments

#6 Change your mindset

You can’t expect to succeed while remaining a victim. Let go of hurtful stories about yourself. Nurture your sense of self-esteem and belief in yourself by taking every action in your power to conquer your negative thoughts.

#7 Focus on what you have achieved

One of the most effective and easy ways to build self-esteem is to focus on what you have achieved recently.

You can do this by tackling challenges on the front burner of your life. If you are also a value investor, there is no better way to boost your self-esteem than to learn about and seek value.

However, if you are starting from a low self-esteem, you may have trouble overcoming the inertia that often accompanies starting any new endeavor.

Suppose, for example, you want to take a class in algebra or finance. You may immediately be afraid that you won’t be able to grasp the subject, and may resist even beginning the process of preparation.

By instead focusing on what you have achieved recently, you can make your learning more fun and engaging. You can make progress on that class as well as be reminded of all the positive things you can do.

For example, return to the idea of taking a class in algebra. What do you know already about the subject? Or ask yourself, –At what points, in the last year, have I accomplished something significant?”

You can continue the process with virtually any endeavor.

Bonus Tips

L don’t like calling this a bonus material, but there really is no better time to start building self-esteem than right now.

Problem with the phrase “self-esteem” is that people often treat it as defacto a set of unrealistic expectations.

In all actuality, self-esteem is about supporting yourself and enjoying what you do.

Striving to meet your goals is a great thing!

But the rush for being perfect, being great, being awesome, and being loved can undo all the work you’ve done exercising, eating well, and having positive self-talk.

No one really likes to talk about negative emotions like grief, doubt, depression, anxiety, or even anger.

But you need to take the time to do so.

Facing them and dealing with them is the turning point to making positive steps. For example, if you are having a hard time doing something, you should take some time to work through it.

If you keep trying the same thing, you will only keep getting the same result. Find your first beginning point, start working through it, and then find the next step.

You need to put yourself out there and begin to face your fears!

This extends into social situations and meeting people.

Smile More

I’ve heard people say that if you smile more, you’ll feel better. That’s generally true, but it’s not always necessary. Even if you feel like you’re smiling too much, a smile can also make you feel better!

A smile is more than just brightening your face. Smiling plays a huge part in your body’s perception of happiness.

In a study in 2012, researchers showed participants images of faces with different emotions. They then scanned the participants brains and measured their responses. Participants who were exposed to the happy faces were less stressed than those who saw angry faces. The bodies of the subjects all showed reduced stress responses after seeing smiling faces.

Have a good posture

A good posture is an indication of a good confidence and self-esteem. It is an unconscious body language that sends a very important message to other people : I am someone important, I am in a position of leadership.

So it is very important to find the right posture that will convey your confidence. It’s very easy to do, if you practice it and keep it in mind.

Sit on your front with your knees and feet flexed. Gently pull your shoulders back so that your back is straight and your chest is expanded. Bring your shoulders down and up to feel your chest expanding and contracting.

Doing so, you will cultivate an awareness of how your body should be in order to have a good posture and what it should feel like to achieve it.

The trick here is to be aware of your body and to use every muscle to make sure that you have the right posture.

You can always change it up as you get used to it: straighten your back a little more or lower your hips a bit more and notice how it changes the amount of space you take up.

Eventually, you will adjust your posture automatically, without even noticing.

Stand tall. Don’t worry so much about your posture. Just stand tall. Become aware of how you carry yourself in your daily life. Stand in a way that makes you look like the person who you are.

Watch your hygiene

And habits Do you ever feel weird when you look at yourself, like something is not quite right or it doesn’t look quite the way you visualized it when you were dreaming about your driving license photo?

When you first start driving, you know how to get somewhere, but it’s not the blind precision you had in mind when you were dreaming about it. You might be tense, your hands might shake and you feel your heart beating faster than before. This is still not bad; it just means your instincts are taking control again. This is only normal, with time you’ll become more and more used to it.

So get started, find a parking space, press the brake pedal, hit the clutch and turn the ignition key. But when you first start driving you know that this all feels weird to you. Your instincts aren’t used to letting go and your brain isn’t used to following the instructions.

The same holds for the way you eat and exercise. Your brain isn’t used to your body doing these things, so it gets all confused and your muscles start screaming for you to stop.

You can change this. You can take charge of your body and treat it like it is yours.

The Difference Between a Confident Person and a Person with Low Self-Esteem

A person with low self-esteem has a fragile foundation. A person with a low self-image fails to live up to an internal standard of ambition and accomplishment.

If your self-esteem is low, you think that you are not smart enough to be successful. You may fear that others will see you in a bad light. You may feel like you can’t cope with stress or that there is no point in trying. You may constantly compare yourself to others.

These things can lead to low self-esteem, which, in turn, can affect how you relate to others, how you act, how you feel, and how you behave. [Tweet It!]

Low self-esteem creates a problem with your self-image and self-esteem. The term for this problem is anosognosia. [Tweet It!]

Anosognosia is a neurological condition that creates the illusion of deafness in your brain. This is the ability to believe that you do not hear anything when in reality, you can hear everything. It is a form of denial.

If there is no other reason to think that low self-esteem can be an issue, why do so many people find it so hard to believe that they can significantly improve their self-image and their confidence in themselves?

Conclusion

Some Thoughts About Self-Esteem

We know from our previous reading that self-esteem does not come from things external to us – like our external appearance, or our supposed level of intelligence.

But it does depend greatly on how much we believe in ourselves, and whether we want to continue to try to achieve our goals. An important thought – if you don't believe you can achieve a goal, there's probably no point even trying.