How to Improve Your Self Esteem

Posted by: Dr. Justin D'Arienzo, Psy.D., ABPP

How to Improve Your Self Esteem

photodune-712006-dictionary-series-selfesteem-xsSelf esteem can mean many things to many people, but it’s fundamentally just the ability to appreciate yourself for who you are. Having high self esteem doesn’t mean you are flawless, nor does poor self esteem mean you are damaged. It simply means you haven’t learned enough about yourself to be able to fully understand how to feel good about you, even when things aren’t at their best. Everyone has strength and weaknesses, but people with good self esteem understand this, remain aware of their abilities, and go through life accordingly. As Psych Central notes, you don’t have to be the best or most successful to have high self esteem and by taking some simple steps, you can boost your self esteem and feel better about yourself in the process.


Evaluate Yourself

Start by taking count of your positive and negative characteristics and behaviors, you can get a better picture of yourself and improve esteem. While finding negatives might be easy for people with low self esteem, remember to balance it with the positives. Even things like being a good listener or helping a friend in need should be counted, as they are traits that people appreciate. Part of having strong self esteem means focusing on your accomplishments and positive aspects while setting aside your failures, mistakes and flaws. People with high self esteem view mistakes as learning opportunities and evaluate themselves through the lens of their successes and improvements.


Be Realistic

If your esteem is low because you haven’t won an Olympic gold medal or aren’t a millionaire, then adjusting your expectation can go a long way towards improving esteem. Some things can’t be changed. Your boss will always be critical. Only a few in the world can truly be the best at something. But that doesn’t mean that what you have, what you earned or what you’ve accomplished should be overlooked. By setting a reasonable goals and valid expectations, you can get a clearer picture of your accomplishments and improve how you feel about yourself.


Make Adjustments

Part of having high self esteem means recognizing and understanding your flaws. But that doesn’t mean accepting them without trying to improve upon them. If you are overweight, in debt, shy or have other traits that reduce your esteem, working to fix them will have the added benefit of boosting your esteem. Making a trip to the gym, avoiding unnecessary spending or being more outgoing will help address the underlying issues, while also improving your esteem at the same time. Don’t focus on your flaws, work to fix them. Just making the effort will improve how you feel about yourself and boost your esteem.


Don’t Compare

There is no better way to hurt your esteem than by comparing yourself to others. Often, this is an unfair comparison. The colleague at work may be making more sales, but you may not know that they are unhappy because of relationship problems or have taken on too much debt. People show us a public face that will often try to hide the issues with which they struggle. Instead, focus on your goals and judge yourself by your actions and behavior. Don’t let mistakes overshadow your accomplishments and don’t let your comparisons with others serve to bring down your emotions. By staying focused on yourself and setting realistic expectations, you can enjoy improved self esteem and a happier life.