No one feels 100% all the time – and it’s ok. But self-worth is a key component of a healthy, happy life, and it’s essential to take care of it.
You might think self-esteem is just about what you see in the mirror, but it’s so much more. The way we view ourselves and our worth as individuals plays a big role in our mental health and overall wellbeing.
Low self-esteem can lead to feelings of hopelessness and over-worrying, as well as difficulties connecting, setting boundaries, and taking care of oneself. That’s why improving your self-esteem can not only help you go through a bad day, but also feel happier overall.
8 self-esteem tips to feel better about yourself
Improving your self-esteem takes time and effort, but it's worth it. Try these 8 tips to improve your self-esteem:
Our inner critic is often the harshest one. When you’re being hard on yourself, take a step back and imagine what you’d say if you were talking to your best friend. Chances are, you’d be much more understanding and comforting.
Treat yourself with the same kindness, empathy, and understanding you give your loved ones. Practice self-compassion by acknowledging your imperfections and accepting them without judgment. And when you make mistakes, remind yourself that it's okay to fail sometimes and that you're still worthy of love and respect.
Set small, achievable goals
Do you think you’re not “up to the task”? Are you shivering at the very thought of how big and seemingly insurmountable your objective is? Remember Rome wasn’t built in a day, and you can’t expect yourself to do it all at once.
If you think you’re not able to do something or that it’s never good enough, the best way to prove yourself wrong is to put all the odds in your favor with a realistic action plan. Setting achievable goals and working towards them can boost your confidence and self-esteem.
Break down larger goals into smaller, manageable tasks and celebrate your progress along the way. Every little helps!
It might not be the groundbreaking, never-heard-of-before self-esteem tip you were hoping for, but exercise really does help when it comes to self-confidence and mental health in general.
Exercise releases endorphins, which can boost your mood and improve your self-esteem. Find an activity you enjoy and make it a regular part of your weekly routine. You don’t have to become an expert at it – it’s just an excuse to get moving and feel better.
Another one we always love to recommend – and for a good reason! Mindfulness can help you become more aware of your thoughts and feelings without judgment. This can improve your self-awareness and help you develop a more positive self-image.
Take some time to sit down for a few minutes and pay close attention to the feelings and sensations that run through your body and mind. Notice your breath, the way your clothes feel on your body, and the world around you. Use your five senses to take it all in and feel grounded.
Practicing mindfulness every day can help you overcome negative beliefs about yourself and let go of self-criticism more easily.
Surround yourself with positive people
If you’re struggling to believe in yourself, having a positive support system can help prop you up and make you feel better about yourself.
Surrounding yourself with positive and supportive people can have a positive impact on your self-esteem and improve your self-confidence. Seek out friends and family who encourage you and uplift you. There are plenty of those on TalkLife!
Take a moment to step back and think about the people around you who might be bringing you down. They usually don’t do so intentionally – a lack of empathy or their own insecurities can trigger insensitive comments which in turn impact your self-perception.
If you can, try to have an open conversation about how they impact your mental health, and if they keep bringing you down, it’s perfectly acceptable to protect your peace by prioritizing the more positive people in your life.
Challenge negative self-talk
We all have an inner critic that can be harsh and judgmental. Challenge negative self-talk by questioning its validity and replacing it with more positive and supportive thoughts.
For example, instead of saying "I'm not good enough," say "I am capable and I will do my best."
It can be useful to set some time aside every morning to repeat positive affirmations as you start the day. They’ll help you build positive beliefs about yourself and give you the tools you need to challenge negative self-talk.
Take care of yourself
Taking care of your physical and mental health can improve your self-esteem. Practice good hygiene, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep, and consider seeking out professional help if you're struggling with mental health issues.
Taking a shower or sitting down to eat a proper home-cooked lunch might not seem like much, but they’re healthy habits that can help you break out of the vicious cycle of low self-esteem.
Do things that make you feel good
It can be difficult to see your own value if you feel like you’re on auto-pilot, going through life without doing anything that’s meaningful to you. That’s why it’s so important to make time for what you love.
Engage in activities that make you feel good about yourself, whether that's a hobby, volunteering, or spending time with loved ones. Doing things that bring you joy can improve your self-esteem and overall happiness through a sense of purpose and identity.
Quick fix self-esteem tips from the community
Struggling with low self-esteem? You’re not alone. Sometimes, it’s the little things in life that can help you feel better. So we asked the TalkLife community what always gives them a nice little self-esteem boost. Here are some of their answers – and it looks like a nice shower and a cool outfit are a great way to start!
“Usually a shower and skincare, or taking a nice selfie!”
“Sharing positivity and helping people, because it brings me peace and happiness to make a difference in someone’s life – especially when they needed it.”
“Wearing makeup and clothes that I like, and when people notice me and say I look good.”
“Just looking back at the progress I’ve made, I guess?”
“Music, meditation and social contacts.”
“A shower and clothes that accentuate my curves.”
“Doing what would make my life better now instead of waiting. Showing up for my needs.”
Join TalkLife to share your self-esteem journey and meet a community that sees and understands you, just as you are.