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How to Deal With Low Self Esteem

Written by Karl Perera BA, MA, DipLC
Updated: October 26th, 2020

confidence

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Self-esteem is something that runs deeper than how you feel about the way that you look. It’s having the confidence to get up every day and achieve what you set out to do in life. It makes us more resilient in our careers, less vulnerable in our personal relationships, and more at ease in moments of adversity.  In my experience coaching those with low self esteem, there are certain strategies which really work, I’m going to share these with you here.

Dealing with low self esteem requires a more positive mindset and a proactive approach to self improvement. To overcome low self esteem you need to start accepting compliments, stop negative self talk and begin supporting yourself in setting and achieving goals.

Improving your self esteem isn’t always a simple process (PsychologyToday). There may be demons from your past that are holding back your self-development. However, with enough guidance and willingness to put in the work, you can increase your self-esteem over time. If you’re ready to start feeling more sure about yourself, then keep reading, I’ve got some fantastic tips for you coming right up!

Poor self esteem can be unlearned so take heart there is help!

OK, so let’s get started with steps you can take right now to deal with your low self esteem.

1. Get Proactive and Face Your Challenges

There is indeed no gain without pain and this is true for dealing with low self esteem. To overcome it, you’re going to have to go beyond your comfort zone and face the challenges that maybe you’d rather just avoid.

If you often hear a voice inside of your head criticizing a certain aspect of your life, maybe it’s there for a reason. Maybe it’s trying to tell you something. So, rather than ignoring it, do something about it! Time to get proactive! Try to identify what it is that is stopping you from liking yourself, what is making you think negatively about who you are, and then take action where you can.

Examples of what you can do to deal with low self esteem

If you don’t like the way that your body looks when you look in the mirror, then start exercising regularly. Eat better and lead a more active lifestyle. Not only will you look better, you’ll feel better too! 

If you feel insecure about your career or qualifications, then get certified or learn a new skill. Rather than allowing the critical voice to convince you that you’re not good enough, silence it!


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If you fear a social situation, say giving presentations, then focus on steps you can take to overcome this fear and master the skills you will need to give a confident presentation. Each small step you take towards conquering a fear like this will boost your self confidence. This is the best way to deal with low self esteem, face it head on!

2. Start Accepting Compliments

Now please don’t tell me you never get compliments. You will be surprised to know that often you get them, but simply brush them away and do not acknowledge them.

Don’t be one of those people who receive compliments only to brush them off with self-deprecating jokes or comments. Even though it might seem harmless and humble, it’s actually damaging your self-worth. Discover more about accepting compliments and learn how to overcome low self esteem and improve self confidence today.

When you reject a compliment, you’re subconsciously telling yourself that you’re not good enough. Next time that someone says something complimentary to you, learn to smile and say, “Thank you!” If you start to believe you’re worthy, it won’t be long until you feel worthy! 

3. Stop Your Negative Self-Talk and Start Encouraging Yourself

Do you sometimes tell yourself things which stop you from acting positively? Do you hear a voice in your head which discourages you? This inner critical talk stops you achieving what you most want in life and causes you to think negatively. 

You wouldn’t tell your best friend or family member that they’re a worthless idiot when they make a mistake, so why would you do it to yourself? Why is it that we can be so cruel to the one person we need to help, ourselves?

Begin to question this negative self talk. It holds you back if you cannot see that most of what you tell yourself is untrue. Questioning your self talk will lead you to more self confidence. So, next time you here that negative inner voice, challenge it to justify the negative comments it creates in your mind.

If you notice that your self-esteem is low, then don’t kick yourself when you’re down. When you start to hear yourself repeating negative thoughts and opinions about who you are, don’t just silence that voice, say something positive and encouraging instead.

Low self esteem feeds on negative thoughts so Don’t indulge in self criticism. Why are you waging war against yourself? There are many people who can bring you down if you listen to them. Why add to the negativity? Silence your inner judge.

4. Use Positive Affirmations to Change Your Mindset

When you wake up each day, repeat a couple of positive and motivational affirmations that you can start to believe. Many people believe that you are a product of what you repeatedly tell yourself. Make sure you choose something not too out there, keep it believable and real yet inspiring. 

One important trick to using affirmations effectively is to use verbs that are in present tense. Tell yourself everything that you’d like to be as if it already is. Try saying, “I am successful!” “I am beautiful!” Or “I love myself!” more often. Using the present tense makes it more real.

5. Prioritize Your Needs and Be Happy

It is good to care about other’s feelings but aren’t your needs just as important? Don’t neglect yourself!

Self care is so important. It is not just your physical health you need to take care of, your mental health is just as important. You need to look after yourself so that you will be at your best for others in your life. This will give enable you to help others and contribute to the world around you. It will also allow you to feel so much better about yourself too.

It is not selfish to devote time to your own self care. Give yourself the time you need. Help others but do not become a slave to them.

Self worth, confidence and assuredness increase when you Focus on your needs and desires. You deserve to live life as you want, as long as this doesn’t hurt others or prevent them from living life on their terms. Remember that if you are happy, you can be a better friend to others. When you are frustrated, anger and resentment can build up quickly inside you. If you are, at least, creating goals to take you forward, then you’ll feel much more positive.

Positive thinking Tick for low self esteem

Comment from a reader:

“I’m trying to break free from the miseries of low self esteem, and this web site is a huge confidence, and will serve as an aid in my quest to claim back what’s rightfully mine: my life.”– Amber

6. Don’t try to be like someone else. You are unique.

Pretending to be someone you are not is tiring and can lead to a lack of self worth and confidence. You are unique and you cannot be someone else. Learn to be proud of who you are!

Strive to improve but don’t criticise yourself for not being as successful, beautiful, slim or popular as others. It’s not easy to live if you constantly compare yourself to others. Rather, start respecting yourself for being different. Pretending is cheating yourself and the feelings that will result will be very negative.

7. Take life and yourself less seriously.

Failure just means you are not successful YET. In fact, don’t think in terms of failure, they are just temporary setbacks on your road to success. Everybody fails before succeeding, don’t look on it as failure but as a means to learning. Perhaps you just need a change of direction.

Problems in life make you stronger when you overcome them. If you can laugh at your situation when you don’t quite get it right and realise that you just need to make some adjustments and try again then you will be so much less stressed and negative in life. Success requires trial and error and hard work to make something truly worthwhile become reality. This attitude will take the pressure off you if instant success eludes you.

Get my weekly roundup of tips that will boost your self esteem and get the first chapter of my book free.  “Just finished the free chapter, feeling motivated! Like the questions asked, short and simple, yet they really make you think!”Karen Lewis

8. Stay Focused on your successes.

Lack of confidence feeds on your feelings of failure and inadequacy. Remember the truly successful things you have done in your life. Reward yourself when you do succeed. 

More Tips for Building Self Esteem

9. Focus on your strengths.

Understand what your strengths are and then use them. No one can stop you if you use your talents and abilities positively, but if you do not know what your strengths are, how can you improve your life?

Being aware of your strengths can fill you with much needed confidence.

10. Focus on Your Goals

Work at achieving your goals. If you do this your confidence will increase and you will feel positive. The old saying, one step at a time is very important. Steady steps are possible if you make your goals reachable and break up your bigger goals into smaller steps. Reward yourself for each smaller victory and be certain that many small steps add up to an amazing journey.

11. Do your best in everything you attempt to do

Your self criticism will fade away if you know that you have done your best. On the other hand, giving less than your best will hurt your self esteem and damage your self confidence. Look for a way to motivate yourself to do the very best you can. Look for the positive, and focus on that. Why choose to focus on the negative and make yourself miserable ?

12. Feed Your Brain with Positive Thoughts

Here’s how to do this:

  • Stop watching the news on TV or online. It’s always presenting the most negative events of each day.
  • Start listening to inspiring music and sounds from nature than relax and invigorate you.
  • Meditation enables you to relax and rid yourself of toxic thinking and stress.
  • Read positive inspirational quotes.
  • Read or listen to books and audiobooks that inspire you. Self help books are most helpful. I recommend you to start reading and build up a library of these books to help you in every area of your life. Check out my Top Recommended Books for Building Self esteem.

Remember, While Dealing with Low Self Esteem…

The suggestions I outline here for you are steps to help you deal with low self esteem, build your confidence and become successful in your daily life. Remember that success is defined by you and no-one else. If you start on this road you need to keep at it. Others will sometimes knock you down so you need to be strong and listen to your heart.

Let’s continue with a few more tips.

You are worth it

Reviewed by Dr. Ingrid Schweiger, PhD Psychotherapist and Author of Self esteem for a Lifetime

13. Boost Your Self Confidence

Having low self esteem means that you will not value yourself highly. Your self respect is likely to be poor. This mindset is likely to allow negativity to take hold of you. Your self confidence may be low and so you will may doubt your ability to be successful. You may start to believe other people’s negative comments rather than trust your own opinions. 

Low self esteem stops all your efforts to be confident because you cannot value yourself or who you are. If you feel you are worthless then you cannot respect yourself. With low self esteem your confidence is damaged because you look at yourself negatively and this creates self doubts which prevent you from realising your potential. One of the first and most important factors in building your confidence is to improve and work on your self esteem. Increasing your self esteem can help you overcome shyness, which is a common related problem.

Some people appear naturally confident but guess what? They’ve learnt how to be that way and so can you! Just because someone seems confident on the outside, does not mean they feel that way inside. Some people have learnt how to look confident and that will certainly help you to feel better and encourage you as others respond to you in a more positive way. The secret to taking on challenges you fear is to learn how to feel more confident and then you will look more relaxed, however, this is not the end of the story. You may still be scared inside, we’ll talk more about this in a moment.

Build your Self Confidence with the CD Trainer – Hypnosis downloads – quick, easy and guaranteed to help you build your confidence (prepared by experienced psychologists and gets my full recommendation) The CD Trainer is something you should have, so consider getting it – its worth every penny!

14. Be honest with Yourself About Your Limits

When a person has true self esteem he/ she is less anxious and able to accept valid criticism.

Self esteem promotes confidence which will be so helpful in challenging situations. Asking others for help becomes easier. Self awareness, of your own limits grows. There is no need to be in control of everything and everyone.

Click here to learn how to build your self esteem by simplifying your life.

Self Hypnosis for Self Esteem

I have tried self hypnosis and I also advise you to. It will help you with any problem you have including how to improve self esteem. Click to find out how self hypnosis can help you build your self esteem now!

15. Always Speak Positively

When you are feeling down it can be very difficult to talk positively to yourself or to others. However, when you speak negatively, you are only making it harder for yourself. Negative thoughts become negative words, which can lead to depression. Speaking positively can change everything. It can improve your relationships, boost your morale and energy levels.

16. Challenge Yourself

One of the best ways to build self esteem is by challenging yourself to do things that you never thought you could do. Trying and failing is better than not trying at all. If you try but fail, you lose nothing but time. But if you do not try at all, you’ll never discover just what is possible for you, nor what hidden talents you might have. No one has ever succeeded with being scared of that first step.  Motivate yourself by doing and you will feel a confidence like never before, even if you fail.

Make a real effort to find the real you. If you are not living true to who you are, then one result is low self esteem. The real you is natural and confident and totally unique.

You should spend time finding out exactly who you really are. This adventure leads to happiness because when you live according to your values and strengths, your life is fulfilling and meaningful.

17. Try Meditation

Many doctors have encouraged their patients to meditate. This relieves stress and has the possibility to impact your life in a positive way throughout your entire day. Download various apps and find what works best for you. Be patient and allow time for yourself to adjust to meditating. Meditation is not just a spiritual concept. It is beneficial for all people of all religions. There are many resources that have nothing to do with religion and all of them can help you. I especially recommend this mindfulness meditation training.

Self Development vs Self Improvement

Why is this important for you? Well, if you focus on improvement you may think there are things wrong with you that need fixing and this is quite a negative way of thinking.

If you think in terms of self development you can appreciate that life is all about learning and developing by moving forward, it is not about constantly fixing things. When you are building your self esteem you need positive changes not corrections or fixes.

According to the Mayo Clinic, to improve your self esteem and confidence you need to change. The biggest change is in your way of thinking. Perhaps you also need to make changes in your life too that match this new way of thinking.

Self-esteem is important for your health and well-being especially when looking at the psycho-social aspect. This is paramount to being confident, a quality that can help you out in various situations presented to you.

18. Have Friends By Your Side

Friends are important when it comes to improving your self esteem and confidence. You need friends who support you and make you feel appreciated. Even if you feel down, you need someone by your side who is willing to encourage you and show you that you are the best in whatever you do. They may also offer advice and a shoulder to lean on in case things do not work out as you anticipate.

19. Offer Help Or Become A Mentor

Another way in which you can gain some positive energy is by offering help where needed. In this case, you redeem yourself from feeling lowly of yourself and being productive in a select field. You can also become a mentor and guide others through the path of uncertainty.

Helping others is a great way to build your self esteem, because helping others makes you feel you have value. If you help another, then that person needs you and benefits from your presence in the world. This can be a source of great joy and give you a purpose in life beyond yourself. Doing something positive like this can only change your attitude in a huge way.

Being this significant in someone else’s life can do justice in improving your dignity and self-assurance.

Feel Good About Yourself

“My life, and my confidence, is incredibly improved now and depression is a thing of the past for me.”

Take action and stop those negative thoughts! Download one of these recommended self hypnosis programs now and feel good about yourself again!

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How to improve your self esteem. Everything you've ever wanted is on the other side of fear!

20. Try Self-Hypnosis – it Works!

One of the best things you can do to improve your self esteem is to try out self-hypnosis. This is not like what you see in the movies or on stage – no one is going to trick you into a sleeping state or have you at their mercy. You remain fully aware and conscious. In fact, in a way you become more aware than ever, and are presented with the opportunity to re-evaluate certain patterns of behaviour and thinking. 

Listening to empowering suggestions crafted by skilled and experienced psychologists, you naturally become more flexible and creative. And so you naturally feel better about yourself and more ready to take on the many challenges of life.

Uncommon Knowledge offers a lot of excellent self-hypnosis courses. I highly recommend Build your Self Confidence to start with – it is quick and easy to get acquainted with, and I guarantee it will help build your confidence. Remember, these courses are crafted by experienced psychologists using data from a vast selection of studies to help provide the best results.

I have tried these courses myself and give them my highest recommendation. Self-confidence is key – if you feel more confident you will naturally feel better about yourself and your life in general, and will see a wonderful jump in your self esteem level. Check out these recommended self hypnosis downloads

“I have been visiting this site a while and it’s fantastic. Whenever I’m feeling bad about myself it gives me a real lift. The advice on here is second to none and has made me feel like a better person. Thanks for your words of inspiration.”   Ruth
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Website Author and Editor Bio

Photo of Karl Perera, MA, DipLC Karl 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 More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.