Veronica has a Master's Degree in Literature. She also has a love for helping others since she began following Jesus in 2016.
Raising your self-esteem doesn't happen overnight, but with daily practice, time, patience and love, you can raise your self-esteem to a healthy level and gain the benefits of a confident, positive view of yourself and others.
As someone who has personally battled with low self-esteem, depression, and anxiety, these are a few methods that have worked for me and for others.
What Exactly is "Low Self-Esteem?"
According to “11 Facts About Teens and Self Esteem," low self-esteem is:
a thinking disorder in which an individual views him/herself as inadequate, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view permeates every thought, producing faulty assumption and ongoing self-defeating behavior.(DoSomething.Org)
This is not only a problem for teens – adults of all ages suffer from low self-esteem, which if left unchecked may lead to depression over time.
In the 2014 article “Is Low Self Esteem Making You Vulnerable to Depression,” Elizabeth Venzin confirms the link between low self-esteem and depression based on a study conducted by the University of Basel: “Low self-esteem is an important indicator used by clinicians as one possible symptom when they diagnose a depressive disorder. ” Though there is some debate whether low self-esteem causes depression, or that it's depression that causes low self-esteem, it is decided across the board that improving one's self-esteem to a healthy level is greatly beneficial. According to the Mayo Clinic, self-esteem:
affects virtually every facet of your life. Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn't about blowing your own horn. It's about learning to like and respect yourself – faults and all. (Mayo Clinic Staff)
Raising your self-esteem is an important practice in improving your quality of life.
Maintaining a healthy, realistic view of yourself isn't about blowing your own horn. It's about learning to like and respect yourself – faults and all.
— Mayo Clinic Staff
8 Simple Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem
Here are some simple ways to improve your self-esteem, starting right now. The following are developed from my own personal experience with low self-esteem, and though I am not an expert, nor am I doctor, I have tested each personally.
- Take a social media break – Or consider getting rid of your social media accounts altogether. Not only will it prevent you from daily comparing yourself to other people, but you'll be amazed by how much time you've gained in your day from simply cutting out social media. And how much more you crave real time with friends and family.
- Practice good hygiene – Take care of yourself, particularly your body. Simple everyday tasks that you perform regularly can improve your self image and how you perceive yourself. Brush your teeth at least twice a day, bathe daily, wash your face, get regular haircuts, shave, wear clean clothes, change your underwear daily, moisturize, go to bed early – these are easy activities we sometimes forget or neglect, but doing these tasks daily will improve your overall appearance and help you feel better about yourself. Looking clean and put-together will have a positive effect on your own sense of worth.
- Adopt a healthy habit – Exercising, eating healthy foods, and going for walks are all good habits that will teach you to take care of yourself and respect your body. And performing these habits actually make you feel good in ways that bad habits such as smoking, drinking, and surfing the internet just won't.
- Go outside/Be in nature – There are few things that fresh air won't fix. Find a quiet spot outdoors and do something simple, like examine a flower, or an ant, or a piece of grass. Put your hand on a tree and meditate on how amazing it is. Look at the moon, the stars, the clouds. Focusing on the beauty of nature will pull you out of your own head and connect you back to reality. It will make any social, work, or family problems you have feel small.
- Limit TV, movies, and magazines – Now that you're taking a social media break, take a break from other forms of media as well. Constantly staring at beautiful actors, actresses, and models can make us dissatisfied with our own average-ness. It can also distort our sense of what beauty truly is. It is part of a celebrity's job to spend ridiculous amounts of time and money to look as attractive and cool as possible. Give yourself a break from unrealistic body images.
- Be kind – Say and do nice things for the people around you. Be polite, encouraging, and help other people out. It's hard for anyone not to like someone who is kindhearted. And after being kind to someone, you may even find that you like yourself more.
- Listen to uplifting music – There is so much music out there about partying, sex, drinking, drugs, money, anger, violence and an overall obsession with selfishness. Go through your music and make a playlist of every song that does NOT fall into those categories. Also, find new music that doesn't focus on these topics. If you need a place to start, try looking at songs from past decades. The 1950's is a good decade to start with, but the 60's, 70's, and 80's all made great music that don't glorify degrading ourselves or others. Christian music is also very uplifting, and comes in every style of music. Listen to this playlist for awhile. You might be surprised on how music affects your overall mood and sense of self.
- Know you are loved – This may seem cheesy to some, but this is by far the most important way to improve anyone's self-esteem: know that there is a God who knows you and loves you. Some people are lucky enough to have family and friends that shower them with love, but sometimes even that isn't enough. Only God knows your thoughts, your emotions, your biggest secrets, and your crazy past. He knows what you were like even when you were being formed in your mom's womb. He loves you and believes you have worth. If the God that created the universe, the human brain, and everything else amazing in this life believes that you have worth, then you should believe it, too. If you don't know God, then talk to Him and He'll show you who He is. Until you do that, you'll never know the person you can truly be.
BONUS: A Few Not-So-Simple Ways to Raise Your Self-Esteem
Things worth doing aren't always easy. Here are a couple extra ways to help raise your self-esteem.
- Purge your life of ugliness – We talked about filtering music earlier, and if that works well for you, try a real overhaul: Get rid of movies, books, TV channels, websites, and anything else that fills your mind with negative images/ideas (like graphic violence, sex, and even swearing). It sounds extreme, but you will actually feel your mind drifting to a more peaceful, innocent place. You'll find you like yourself and other people more, as these things have a tendency to paint our reality.
- Break off toxic relationships – This may be a difficult topic for some, and deserves much more consideration than I'm giving here. First let me clarify that my personal definition of a toxic relationship is a relationship where the other person clearly does not care about your well-being, or a relationship where the other person actively pushes you to do things that are bad for your body, mind, and/or soul. A friend or family member that tells you when you are doing something wrong, or has opinions about your decisions, is NOT necessarily a toxic relationship. A friend or family member who tells you or treats you like you are not worth anything, or encourages you to do something wrong, IS a toxic relationship. Respect yourself. Know that you are worthy to be loved and helped, and simply break off communication with those who think otherwise.
Respect yourself. Know that you are worthy to be loved and helped, and simply break off communication with those who think otherwise.
— Veronica McDonald
If you take away only one thing from this article, remember: take control of what influences your mind and body because it will affect every aspect of your life, including your perception of yourself and others. Know you are loved and that you have worth as a human being.
© 2018 Veronica McDonald