I have seen many people on here say that they have a low self-esteem or don't know how to raise their self-esteem. I recently answered a question about it so I thought I would write about it here also in the hopes that maybe it would help other people.
I have struggled with a low self-esteem for the majority of my life. I was bullied relentlessly in school which caused me to feel quite low about myself. It wasn't until my senior year of high school that I realized I shouldn't care about what other people say and that I should love myself regardless of what other people think of me. It was at this time that I began taking steps to raise my self-esteem and learn to love myself. After all, you have to love yourself before you can expect anyone else to love you, right? When reading this, keep in mind that everyone is different and as such, what worked for me may not necessarily work for everyone else. Sometimes, you just have to try different things to see what works for you. I am not an expert by any means, I just thought it might help others if I shared my personal experiences.
1) Self-esteem comes from within
Many times I have seen people look for outside reassurance in order to raise their self-esteem. This can often be observed in the many "rate me" questions so often seen on here. In my experience, this rarely ever works and in most cases, it backfires. Sure, hearing compliments from others can make anyone temporarily feel good about themselves, however, it is much easier to lose self-esteem than it is to build it. One negative comment can overshadow hundreds of positive ones. This is why people should never put their self-esteem or self-worth in the hands of other people. Instead, people need to find ways to make themselves happy rather than expecting it to come from other people.
2) Do things that make you happy
In many cases, finding a sense of accomplishment can make people feel better about themselves. For me, it has always been helpful to take time to do the things I love and things that make me feel good such as being active and working out, finding creative outlets for my mind, and just generally doing things that make me happy. In my life, this includes hiking, canoeing, reading, playing volleyball, etc. These are things that I genuinely enjoy and it makes me feel inwardly confident to do things that I know I'm good at.
3) Find the things you like about yourself
It can be helpful to make a list of the things you like about yourself. This could include physical features you like, your positive personality traits, listing the things you're good at, and just various little things that are unique to "you." This might be seen as "cliché" but if it works, then who cares? For many people it can really help to write it out in order to physically see the positive things about themselves. Focusing on the positive is a good way to push out the negative thoughts.
4) Change your thought process
Many people with a low self-esteem tend to have negative thoughts about themselves. It is important to realize that no one is perfect and we need to either accept our flaws or take steps to change them. However, simply dwelling on your negative traits or features can hinder the process of boosting your self-esteem. Also, in many cases, people critique themselves much harsher than others critique them. You are your worst critic. For instance, I have always absolutely hated my nose. It was a constant source of negativity for me becuase I always thought it made me ugly. However, I have managed to change the way I think about myself. Now, I realize that while I don't have a perfectly small and straight nose, that's okay because no one is perfect and everyone has flaws. I used to desperately want surgery to change it but now I have accepted it and it's not something I feel needs to be changed anymore.
5) Get rid of the negative influences in your life
If there are negative people in your life, that can take a toll on you. Surround yourself with positivity and people who you know love you and care about you. As I mentioned in point number 1, self-esteem comes from within, which is very true, but that doesn't mean we have to accept negative people in our lives. The people we surround ourselves with inevitably have a big impact on us, it can sometimes help to distance yourself from people who are only bringing negative energy to your life. For example, if you have a friend who is constantly complaining or making negative comments to you and just overall sparking drama in your life, then this is not someone who is bringing anything positive to your life. I once had a "friend" who would always gossip about other people and when she wasn't gossiping TO me, she was gossiping to other people ABOUT me. When I realized this, I decided that this was not someone I wanted to remain friends with because I did not want that negativity in my life. When I distanced myself from people like that and focused on the positive people in my life, it helped me in the process of feeling better about myself.
Thank you for reading and I hope it was helpful. Of course, as I said before, everyone is different so while the things I listed greatly helped me, it's possible that it may not work for everyone. It's important to try different things to see what works for you :)