How Can You Develop High Self-Esteem? (Part 1)

Last week we looked at the symptoms of low self-esteem. Whether or not you identified with one or more of them, there is always something we can do to maintain a healthy relationship with ourselves. There are six main areas to consider when doing this, and this week we’ll look at the first three:

1) Connection

Do you have support? Are your friendships healthy and helping you become the best person you can be? 

Feeling like you have no support can often lead to more serious issues such as loneliness, stress, depression, and/or making rash or self-defeating decisions because ‘no one cares anyway’.

Sometimes there’s more support available then we realise, and we can forget this especially when we’re overwhelmed by other emotions. A good exercise is to write down five people you could call in an emergency. They may be family members, friends or another adult who you can trust (e.g. a teacher, police officer, youth worker etc).

Make sure you keep connected to others who are supportive and encouraging, even when things are going okay, and you’re well on the way to increasing your self-esteem.

2) Purpose

Do you have a reason for getting out of bed in the morning? What do you want to achieve right now more than anything?

People who feel confident about their day-to-day purpose, as well as their long-term purpose, are more likely to have high self-esteem then someone who doesn’t. If you don’t feel you have much direction in life, think about the things you’re good at, the things you enjoy, and seek support to help you find ways to develop them.

Everyone faces obstacles on the way to fulfilling their dreams, but the hardest part is often getting started. Start with little goals – things you can achieve within a day, for example – and reward yourself when you reach them. Also, try to think outside limitation: what would you do if money and other people’s opinions were no object? Sometimes even the impossible can be within our reach.

3) Coping

How much stress are you under? How are you coping with life’s pressures?

If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed with the things you have to do, it’s possible you may also feel inadequate and frustrated, which in turn affects your self-esteem. A good exercise to try is to write down everything you’re worrying about at the moment, and to mark the ones you can’t actually control. You may find that more than half are actually out of your hands, and as such stressing about them isn’t going to make a difference.

Break down what you can control and need to do into small steps, and make sure you factor in time for fun, friends and relaxation. By making time for you a priority, it’s likely you’ll find you have more energy to keep on top of things without the added drain of stress. Then, if you’re able to better manage that, your self-esteem levels will also be healthier.

Next Week

Next week we’ll look at self-worth, happiness and attitudes, and how they relate to increasing your self-esteem. In the meantime, take some time to think about the above and see how you can apply them to your life in a way that will not only help you increase your self-confidence, but feel happier with who you are in general.