Building Self Esteem

Written by Karl Perera, BA, MA, DipLC - Any purchase you make helps support my work on this website

Building self esteem is a first step towards your happiness and a better life. If you have low confidence or low self esteem you will find it impossible to be the person you could be and your happiness will be limited.

I have been on the journey from low self esteem and depression to a healthy level of self esteem and more confidence. I have spent years writing about this topic and working with many life coaching clients. This page is written from experience, and will help you transform your life.

Building self esteem can be achieved by learning how to respect and value yourself, your abilities and your past achievements. It involves changing to a positive mindset, knowing and loving yourself more, stopping self criticism and building self confidence.

Improving your level of self esteem is important because low self esteem causes depression, unhappiness, insecurity and low confidence. So, if you suffer from any of these, or if you need more confidence, you should really benefit from what I’m going to tell you here.

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The Benefits of Positive Self Esteem

Self esteem increases your confidence (, Coudevylle et al 2011).

Furthermore, if you have a healthy level of self esteem you can respect yourself and others, improve your relationships and become happier and more satisfied with your life.

Building self esteem is not a selfish goal because you will contribute more to those around you and to society. This contribution will be a positive one. The world really needs your contribution, your unique views and ideas.

Also, inner criticism, that nagging voice of disapproval inside you, is common when you suffer from low self esteem or lack of confidence (as shown in this study by Noordenbos, Aliakbari and Campbell) . This negative self talk may cause you to stumble at every challenge, or give up quickly convincing you it’s impossible. As your self esteem suffers, other’s desires may take preference over yours.

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  • Enjoy the excitement of an amazing new journey to unstoppable self confidence.
  • Finally understand the steps you can take to build your confidence.
  • Believe in yourself more.
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  • Enjoy a positive sense of hope and optimism in your own future.
  • Enjoy the benefits of visualisation.
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Even worse, as the above study by Noordenbos et al. shows, the effects of low self esteem and inner criticism may help cause eating disorders. There is no doubt that low self esteem and self criticism can therefore be quite dangerous.

Positive self esteem helps to get your priorities and needs in balance. Self care is very important and a lack of self esteem can lead you to neglect your own needs. Again, this can be quite dangerous to physical and mental health.

So, how do you actually improve your self esteem? Let’s now look at real steps you can take to improve it.

12 Tips For Building Self Esteem

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1. Face your fears – challenges seem scary but your fears are usually exaggerated. Therefore, facing your fears increases your confidence and boosts your esteem.

This is easy to say but how do actually go about overcoming your fears and do what scares you?

Well, there is only one answer to this. I have experienced the difficulty of overcoming extreme shyness and I went through such pain. At university I realised I had to face my fears and overcome this problem instead of running away from it. So I planned how to do this. I broke challenges into smaller goals and monitored my success with each small success in a daily journal. As I progressed, I gained in confidence. First I started a conversation with a stranger. Next I talked to someone I had been nervous around before. Then I slowly built up to the big one, giving a presentation in front of a group of people.

You can do the same and overcome your fears. Don’t hide any longer!

2. Learn from your setbacks

Mistakes, failure or setbacks?

There is a huge world of difference between these terms. As a teacher I know all too well the value of mistakes. They help learning because they reveal what you don’t know or need to improve on. Mistakes can guide you in new directions and remind you that your work is not done.

However, mistakes and failure are negative words. It is easy to become afraid of making errors or failing. In fact, fear of failure is one of our strongest reasons not to try new things. This article in the LA Times discusses how strong this fear is, and gives an interesting perspective on overcoming it.

One necessary step, then, is to think of setbacks rather than failure or mistakes. This way you think of these setbacks as just temporary road blocks on your journey to your end goal. If you keep thinking you’ve failed or made a big mistake you’re more likely to think of giving up, whereas a setback can be overcome and is just a minor delay to your success.

3. Ask for what you want

As the saying goes, you don’t get what you don’t ask for. So ask for it! Have courage, you may be surprised by the answer. If you want more confidence in your life, then act confidently. A confident person just asks, they don’t hesitate.

Now, even the most confident of us do not get everything they ask for. But at least they have expressed their wishes and presented the thought to the person(s) who will decide. They get noticed, even admired for having the courage to ask.

Often, low self esteem stops you from asking directly and you may get overlooked because if you don’t act, another person will. To feel confident, act confidently.

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4. Reflect on your success. No-one else will! Isn’t everything easier when you take time to encourage yourself? Make a list of your successes and focus on the positive. This can only help you.

5. Don’t give up easily! Try something else, or are you going to be defeated by one failed attempt? After all, doesn’t everyone fail before they succeed? Maybe all you need is a different approach?

The kind of success and achievement which will boost your confidence often does not come easily. It requires hard work and dedication. If you can keep to the task and stay on track, you can achieve anything! That will bring you true confidence!

Good luck! I wish you happiness and success as you learn how to build your self esteem.

6. Feed your mind with positivity

After I battled with severe depression and low self esteem over many years, I began to feed my mind with positivity and starve it of negativity. I figured that for years my mind had been fed by negativity and that hadn’t worked.

So, I stopped watching the news every day on TV. I started to listen to relaxing and inspiring music, especially New Age Music. I started to read positive quotes each day. I started this website and began to write positive posts myself to help others. I read books that helped me straighten out my thinking. I began meditating. I took a course in Life Coaching and then started teaching in England in Summer.

Funny, as soon as I focused on positive things and left behind the negativity I found myself again and my confidence began to return as I started working, teaching and coaching.

Ditch the negative things on TV and online and embrace the positive. You’ll soon be happy you did!

7. Make a list of your strengths and positive qualities

This action step will improve your self awareness. You are unique and you do have many strengths, even if you feel you don’t. Spend some time to think about what those strengths are. Also consider your weakness. How can you improve these?

This exercise should help you move forward in the right direction. How? Well, your strengths are things you need to use more in your work and personal life. How can you change things so you can use more of your strengths more often?

Your weaknesses do not have to hold you back. What can you do to improve those areas of weakness? Study, practice or just learn to accept the things you cannot change about yourself? Your decisions here can move you forward confidently.

8. Question your self talk

Next time you hear that negative voice within you, don’t accept every criticism it makes. Question it! Ask yourself if the criticism is justified and is it fair? Most of the things you tell yourself are not based on facts, just opinion and they can be wrong! Question your negative self talk.

9. Be grateful

There is always something to be grateful for, no matter how bad things seem. Remind yourself what these are by writing them down or repeating them twice a day. Your family, friends, pets, your home, where you live….anything that you are thankful for, your abilities or hobbies you enjoy. Go ahead and make a list of five things now.

10. Spend more time with positive people

Life is too short and your self esteem is too precious to have it messed with by negative and toxic people. Spend your time with those you love and get on well with, those who support you and encourage rather than those who criticize you.

11. Focus on helping others

Often when we have problems such as low self esteem or lack of confidence, or depression, we focus too much on ourselves and our own problems. Focusing on helping others can really improve your mood and your thinking because you turn your attention outwards. By helping others you feel better inside about how you are contributing to society and the value you have.

Try doing something to help someone else today and I guarantee you’ll feel better. It’s karma at work!

12. Accept yourself

Simply accept the things about yourself you cannot change. Be happy with who you really are. Accepting yourself is about being honest and aware of what and who you are.

So there you are! 12 ways to build your self esteem. Steps you can begin taking right now. Good luck!

If you really want to take advantage of the biggest help I can offer, then go get a copy of my audio A More Confident You with many more easy to apply strategies for building your self esteem so you become unstoppable. A More Confident You CD Audio- get it today!


  • Coudevylle, Gernigon and Ginis. 2011. “Self-esteem, self-confidence, anxiety and claimed self-handicapping: A mediational analysis” Psychology of Sport and Exercise, Volume 12, Issue 6, Pages 670-675
  • Greta Noordenbos, Navid Aliakbari Rachel Campbell (2014) The Relationship Among Critical Inner Voices, Low Self-Esteem, and Self-Criticism in Eating Disorders, Eating Disorders, 22:4, 337-351, DOI: 10.1080/10640266.2014.898983
  • Mayo Clinic “Self-esteem: Take Steps to Feel Better about Yourself” Available at
  • Peg Moline. We’re Far More Afraid of Failure than Ghosts: Here’s How to Stare it Down. Los Angeles Times. Oct. 31, 2015.

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Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLCKarl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.