You have most likely been told to “look on the bright side” or “just think positive!” if you have discussed about your self-esteem issues. This list looks at strategies beyond just “thinking positive”. Let’s take a look at these 5 actions you can do:
1. Take (mental or physical) notes of your thoughts
This helps you increase your awareness of how you think to yourself in your day-to-day life. When you have track record your thoughts, you begin to realize you can say pretty nasty things to yourself. Then, ask yourself if you would say these thoughts to your friend and question if these thoughts are even true. If it’s neither true nor a nice thing to say to a friend, then perhaps it’s a toxic thought that treats you poorly.
Click here if you’re interested on how to record your thoughts.
2. View your negative thoughts as “passing by”
If you are aware of your negative thoughts, it’s not a healthy idea to lament on them. Treat your thoughts as a visitor to your “home” (i.e. your mind) and it’s not permanent. These thoughts do not define you and may not be true. Simply acknowledge the thought, mentally nod at it, and let it pass by. You do not always need to act on your thoughts. This is known as practicing mindfulness.
Want to know more on how to be mindful? Click here to read the blog.
3. Check your social circle
Self-esteem is often seen as an individualistic journey to love thyself which leads you neglecting to observe your social environment. You will have a hard time boosting your self-esteem if your friends keep making degrading comments or if your family focuses on the negative. What do your friends say to you? Does your social circle appreciate your positive traits and skills? How do your friends interact with you? Basically, spend time with people who appreciate you and make you happy.
Click here to read this blog if you’re curious to know if you have toxic friends.
4. Do the things you love
“But how come does doing the things I love help with my self-esteem?” You’ll be surprised. Simply engaging in enjoyable activities gives you feelings of accomplishment and fulfillment, leading to higher levels of self-esteem. Also, you’re less likely to be drown in your negative thoughts because you are too busy focusing on doing what you love! Make a list of activities that you love. It could be as simple as walking the dog or as complex as learning an instrument. What matter the most is: do you enjoy the activity?
If you have a hard time developing a list of enjoyable activities, click here for some tips on how to create hobbies and sticking to it.
5. Learn to forgive yourself
Learning to forgive yourself is acknowledging your “mistakes” while not feeling resentment to yourself despite being aware of your “mistakes”. There are 2 components to this: 1) the “mistake” and 2) the resent-me-not statement. For example:
“I know I made her angry... (the mistake),
...but I did what I could to repair our friendship (resent-me-not)”.
Practice this a few times to get a hang of it. Click here for a worksheet that helps improve forgiveness to tyourself.
Do not be mistaken that learning forgiveness is the same as thinking positive. The prior seeks to reduce resentment while the latter seeks to replace negative thoughts.
Make it a Habit
Boosting your self-esteem does not need to be limited to simply “thinking positive”. These 5 simple actions can help you on your journey to love yourself. I would suggest picking 1 or 2 out of the list and committing to it until it becomes a habit.
About The Author
Jasmine Tsang is a Registered Psychotherapist (Qualifying) under the College of Registered Psychotherapist Ontario (CRPO) and the founder of Reflections Therapy. She specializes in providing counselling services for people facing challenges in their adulthood such as relationships, self-esteem issues, school & career stressors, anxiety, and depression. For more information about Jasmine, click here to read her bio.