What does it mean to have low self-esteem? Is it finding ourselves physically unattractive? Is it believing we are not smart? Is it not knowing our worth? For me, this was always a big question mark. I have met incredible, beautiful, and intelligent women who believe they are less worthy of love, less attractive, and less smart than others. These women are in my life and probably in your life too. We may feel like this ourselves. I, for sure, used to.
But why do we feel this way? And how can we make it better?
Our self-esteem is, in simple words, how much we appreciate and like ourselves. It is our sense of self-worth and personal value. If our self-esteem is low, we may hold back from succeeding at work because we don’t believe we are capable of success. We may not express our needs, focus only on the things we are not good at, have anxiety and believe we are less than others.
The truth is that my self-confidence journey has improved sincerely since a few years ago, and now I look back to understand the milestones that have made me more confident. I have written certain tips that personally helped me, hoping this can help you understand what makes you insecure and what changes you need to make in your life.
Assess our current relationships
Personally, I believe that the relationship you have with yourself will have an effect on the type of people you choose to have in your life. And in turn, the relationships in your life will also shape how you think of yourself.
If you feel bad about a certain part of your body, it may be because someone in your life has made you aware of it. It may also be that if your partner, family members or friends continue to make negative comments about your appearance or personality, then these relationships could be preventing your confidence from increasing.
You need to look closely at every person and every relationship you currently have in your life. If you have toxic and negative people around you, you must set boundaries and have honest conversations about how they affect you. Feel brave enough to walk away from people that are not good for your self-esteem.
Find your community
People in your life will also influence your thoughts. If you surround yourself with people who are constantly uplifting you; believe me, you will start seeing yourself differently. Spend your time with people who celebrate your strengths, this will help you maintain positive thoughts.
Transform your social media platforms
Stop tormenting yourself by following people that are not good for your self-esteem. Sometimes, we think that what we see on social media are the standards we must follow to be happy or to feel beautiful. The truth is that most of the photos we see online are fake, and those beauty standards are almost impossible to achieve. From now on, start following people you admire, accounts that inspire you and make you feel better about yourself.
Learn to say no
Sometimes we feel obligated to say yes to things we don’t want to do. We believe that if we say no, people will not like us. If we say no, we may be boring. If we say no, people will judge us. This is a sign that we don’t believe our feelings matter. Understand that your emotions are valuable, and learn to say no to things that do not make you feel good.
If the people in your life truly respect you, saying no will not have an effect on your relationships.
And lastly, be kind to yourself
Try to identify the negative thoughts you have about yourself and then fight them!
If sometimes you feel you are not smart enough to apply for a job, take a moment to notice the thought, and next start to write accomplishments that will oppose these feelings. This may seem small, but it can help you transform negative beliefs.
Every night, write down small positive things about yourself, such as “I cook very well” or “I am a supportive friend”.
While all these tips may seem simple, they are daily gestures you can do to create a supportive environment for yourself.
Finding confidence and strengthening your self-esteem is a difficult task. It is not easy to constantly fight negative thoughts. But —like everything else in this journey— with a little bit of help and your own will, you can make big changes in your life.
If you feel your own actions are not enough, always consider therapy to build your self-confidence back up! Learn to accept your weaknesses and focus on your strengths! Life is so much better when we appreciate ourselves!