8 Ways To Lift Yourself Up When Struggling With Low Self-Esteem

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8 Ways To Lift Yourself Up When Struggling With Low Self-Esteem

Do you suffer from low self-esteem, or truly wonder how you can improve the way you think about and talk to yourself?

Learning how to love yourself is no easy task. Some may not even realize they're struggling with low self-esteem, or that it interferes with their happiness and self-care.

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Dr. Glenn R. Schiraldi, the author of 10 Simple Solutions for Building Self-Esteem, describes this balance well:

“Wholesome self-esteem is the conviction that one is as worthwhile as anyone else, but not more so. On one hand, we feel a quiet gladness to be who we are and a sense of dignity that comes from realizing that we share what all humans possess — intrinsic worth. On the other hand, those with self-esteem remain humble, realizing that everyone has much to learn and that we are all really in the same boat."

Low self-esteem is clearly a pervasive problem. According to researcher Dr. Joe Rubino, 85 percent of Americans suffer from low self-esteem. This number is astonishing, and it shows you are not alone.

If you are one of the 85 percent, you may be wondering, “Now what?”

Recognizing your own low self-esteem is good awareness. However, the question remains: What shoud you do about it, once and for all?

You may have struggled your whole life and are finally tired of feeling this way. You are ready to do something about it.

Here are some obvious signs of low self-esteem:

  • You avoid conflict.
  • You struggle to make decisions.
  • You always apologize, even when there is nothing to apologize for.
  • You engage in toxic relationships.
  • You have a negative self-image.

Here are the not-so-obvious signs:

  • You don’t like compliments.
  • You struggle with boundaries in most if not all of your relationships.
  • You think you’re being nice and helpful for people (also known as people-pleasing), but end up feeling resentful.
  • You believe you’re not good enough.
  • You compare yourself with others and feel a lot of shame.

Morris Rosenberg, an innovator in the field of self-esteem who in 1965 developed the self-esteem scale says, “Nothing is more stressful than lacking the secure anchor of self-esteem."

If you recognize any of these signs within yourself, then you may be struggling a lot more than you were aware of with low self-esteem. If so, the ultimate goal is to find a balance in having a positive self-concept without being too high or too low on yourself.

Here are 8 ways to lift yourself up and shift your low self-esteem to one of self-love and self-acceptance.

1. Professional help.

It never hurts to dig in and look deeper within yourself to learn where your negative self-esteem comes from.

Knowledge is power. Once you connect these dots, you can actively choose to not let the past hinder your present.

2. Self-care is imperative.

You’ve heard the description of getting ready to travel on a plane, and the flight attendant gives the following instructions: In case of loss of cabin pressure, put your oxygen mask on first. Well, that is an amazing metaphor for life.

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“Put your mask on first,” and notice how much more energy, love, and time you actually have for other people. When your mask goes on first, you are less likely to be taken for granted or feel resentful in relationships.

3. Stop comparing yourself.

Please, stop comparing yourself to anyone else. Social media is a self-destructive pit of despair that only reinforces your low self-esteem.

If you really want to start feeling better about yourself, limit who and what you follow on social media. Be mindful, and make sure you’re only following positive people and messages that are uplifting. Do not follow anyone whose posts cause you to feel bad about yourself.

4. Stand up for yourself.

You have a voice for a reason. Use it. What you think and feel matters just as much as anyone else.

Your preferences, your time, and your energy is extremely valuable. You are allowed to advocate and speak up for yourself. Your needs are no more or less important than anyone else’s.

5. Stop saying "I’m sorry."

Ask yourself, “What is my issue or responsibility in this situation, and what is theirs?" If it’s not yours, there is no need to apologize.

Stop taking ownership of things that don’t belong to you. As you do this, you create healthy boundaries. Everyone is responsible for themselves.

6. Challenge your negative beliefs.

You can do this with positive affirmations and mantras. If you believe you’re not good enough, why not? Who taught you that? What evidence do you have to support that belief? Is it possible to see it from a different angle?

Remember, perfection is not the goal. Therefore, you are good enough!

7. Be compassionate to yourself.

Self-compassion is the antidote to shame and negative self-concept.

What would you tell a best friend who feels the way you do about yourself? Would you say, “Yeah, you’re right. You are worthless and no good.”

Or would you say, “Don’t be so hard on yourself. You’re doing the best you can and it’s good enough!”

8. Try your hardest to stop people-pleasing.

Boundaries and "putting your mask on first" will help with this. Brene Brown has a great technique to battle the need to make everyone happy: Write down a small list of two or three people whose opinion really matters what they think of you.

These are safe people that have your back. If you’re concerned that someone is upset with you, ask yourself if that person is on your list or not. If not, then let it go. If they are, then address it and move on.

Engaging in these steps will create a whole new way to embrace yourself. Low self-esteem does not have to control you anymore.

Be brave and willing to do this work, so you can experience your life and your relationships with confidence and joy.

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Lesley Goth, Psy.D., works with women who struggle with low self-esteem that negatively impacts their relationships, body image and overall mental health. For more information, check out Lesley’s website.