Improving self-esteem is a purpose we could all adopt as our own: as we grow, we build our identity and strengthen our self-concept. This process of self-knowledge and personal growth becomes indispensable to interact in a healthier way with the world around us and with ourselves.
Self-esteem is closely associated with self-concept. Self-concept refers to people’s beliefs about themselves. Self-esteem would be the emotional echo of self-concept: how we feel with that image we have of ourselves. Thus, self-concept and self-esteem are related concepts that feed each other.
What happens when self-esteem and self- concept are so low that they impact our lives? Specifically, what could we do to improve self-esteem? Below we briefly explain some ways to enhance it if it is damaged.
Improve self-esteem through self-care
The way you take care of yourself is a consequence and seat, at the same time, of your self-esteem. We are able to apply it with others: taking good care of others can make them feel better. Well, we also follow this maxim, although sometimes we forget.
Therefore, you could begin to improve self-esteem by making more realistic judgments about your achievements or about your real responsibility for certain errors or objectives not achieved. It is also important to keep in mind: what do I want? What do I need? How can I dedicate time to myself?
Identify your strengths
To improve self-esteem you need to rely on your strengths. Remember that we all have in our profile bases or peaks of ability on which we can enhance, and much, our performance.
The achievements can give you clues about these strengths. Ask yourself: what strengths do I have? What are my strengths and successes? What is good for me? Look for honest answers, otherwise, they won’t help you.
Change your internal dialogue
The way you communicate with yourself is a key factor in improving self-esteem. If your internal dialogue is based on constant negative criticism, self-censorship or punishment, self-esteem will be one of the first to pay the consequences.
Let’s think If I dedicate myself to criticize someone with phrases like “you can’t”, “you’re useless”, “you’re not worthy” … how is that person going to feel? The same happens if we say those words to ourselves, thus becoming our worst enemy.
In some ways that internal dialogue is irrational, interpreting any situation in the worst possible way, even when the evidence supporting the conclusion is very weak. Given these negative thoughts it is important:
- Identify them: how is my internal dialogue ?, What emotions provokes me ?, Is what I say to myself really real or irrational?
- Implement strategies that undermine its power.
One way to start introducing changes in internal communication could be through type questions: what would you say to a friend? What words of encouragement would you say to someone you love? Use those answers to enhance a more positive internal language.
Accept yourself and forgive yourself
Sometimes, we all have trouble accepting parts of us, how we feel and how we are. A resistance that can damage self-esteem: by not forgiving and accepting ourselves, we can be sponsoring our own psychological torturer: guilt, which always places us at a lower level.
In study at the University of Texas on self-esteem states that if you are able to treat yourself with more kindness and self-pity you could increase your self-esteem in a healthier way.
Therefore, if you want to improve self-esteem you need to forgive and accept that you are human and make mistakes, and you don’t have to crush yourself for it.
To conclude, an obstacle to improving self-esteem is to set high and hard-to-reach goals; those that only manage to generate frustration, also serving, of course, to maintain a negative self-concept.
For this reason, it is important to combine different goals in our planner: challenges that help us to grow, but also small goals with which we can ensure reinforcement in case a streak comes in which the great objectives resist.