I don’t believe in myself, but I have no idea how to go about building my self-esteem.
Does this sound like something you have said to yourself at some point during your life?
If you have, then you, like many of us, don’t always believe in yourself.
Self-esteem is simply the opinion you have of yourself. It is a combination of all the thoughts and beliefs you have about yourself and your abilities which means it’s inextricably linked to thinking.
There is a misconception that you can have high or low self-esteem, but this is not really the case. Rather, self-esteem is more about whether you believe or don’t believe in your ability to do something.
Even though self-esteem is an internalized concept, several factors (including external ones) affect your opinion of yourself. Knowing about them can help you avoid falling into a self-esteem trap and lays the foundation for improving your sense of self.
Many times, people make decisions and take actions based on emotions. This prevents you from thinking clearly and making rational decisions which could break down your self-esteem if the behavior ends up being questionable.
When you use emotion to drive behavior, you are stopping yourself from using personal values and standards as guidelines in your life. You need these principles to ensure you stick to your morals.
Your childhood could be partly to blame for poor self-esteem. If you had a problematic upbringing or limited role models to direct your thinking and behavior, then you might never have built confidence in yourself.
Both ends of the spectrum could be a problem in this case. Parents that are too strict or tough make it challenging for children to develop their own sense of self. On the other hand, parents who are missing from a child’s life or who left them to their own devices could also make it difficult for kids to create their own morals and standards.
The friends, family members, and colleagues you surround yourself with can impact your self-esteem.
They might not have the best values and standards themselves which decreases their expectations of your behavior. This makes it much easier for you to believe that you aren’t good enough or cannot do something which dampens your self-esteem.
Thoughts are powerful. They shape the stories you create in your mind about who you are supposed to be and who you want to become. These ideas can motivate you to be better, or they can limit your growth.
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There’s never been a better time to work on your self-esteem than right now. Let’s consider some ways to improve your belief in yourself.
Spend some time thinking about the things that are most important in your life and what you want to be known for someday. This will form the basis of your values and standards.
Grab a pen and piece of paper so that you can write down your thoughts. Consider this question: What do I want other people to say about me when I die?
Of course, you want them to say good things like integrity, honesty, and perseverance. Your answer to the previous question will be the foundation from which you can build your values. Use them to create standards that you will live by.
Limiting beliefs are things you believe about yourself that restrict personal growth. The origins of limiting beliefs stem from childhood, culture, and your environment, so they could be statements that don’t hold any real truth.
There are three categories of limiting beliefs. They are either about yourself, the world, or life.
You need to overcome limiting beliefs to build your self-esteem. Whenever you have a negative thought, regardless of what it is about, ask yourself if you could be wrong, and the opposite could be true.
Consider how this belief affects your life then construct alternative beliefs. Test whether your new beliefs could be true and impact your life in a positive way.
Show some self-love by identifying your positive traits.
Take several deep breaths and close your eyes. Let go of any negative thoughts or emotions you might be holding on to.
Think back to an event or experience where you felt good about yourself and your achievements. Visualize the event in your mind’s eye and recall how you felt at that moment.
Open your eyes and write down your thoughts and feelings about the memory. Take note of all the good things and think about how you managed to be successful in your positive memory.
Now, think of an upcoming event that you want to go well. Close your eyes again and visualize yourself succeeding.
Focus on these positive feelings so that you can believe in yourself in the future.
Since other people have their own expectations of you (and themselves), you want to surround yourself with morally strong individuals. It is best to choose your acquaintances carefully because they will impact how you see yourself and whether you hold firm to your values.
Although it is extremely difficult, you have to think about the people in your life, especially those you spend time with frequently. Make a list of these individuals and consider whether they add value to your life or detract from it.
If someone doesn’t have a good influence on you, then it might be time to limit your interactions with them. This may mean that you have to find new friends that have similar beliefs to yours.
There is no better way to give yourself a boost of self-esteem than by challenging yourself.
Think about something you have been meaning to do for a long time but haven’t gotten to because you believe you are unable to do it. It should be doable but still challenge your abilities.
Write down what you want to do then create a workable plan. Put it into action and work toward your goal.
Use the visualization strategy mentioned previously whenever doubt or disbelief sets in. This helps to strengthen your bond with your goal and motivates you to work harder and build your self-esteem.
You want to build your self-belief on sound principles. The best way to do this is to hack your brain to think differently.
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Everyone experiences occasional bad days when their self-esteem is put to the test. On these days, your self-belief might be lacking and that’s okay. It’s normal, so give yourself a break and practice self-love on these days.
On bad days, you want to focus on what is happening in your mind. Become aware of your thoughts—you could even write them down—and consider how they relate to your values.
Think about how negative or self-doubting emotions affect your self-image and how it prevents you from getting closer to your goals. Being aware of how you are feeling is good because it gives you a foundation from which you can make a plan to get back on track.
Sometimes, you don’t want to think about your situation at all when you are having a bad day. It’s okay if you feel this way temporarily, but you still want to do something to boost your self-esteem.
It is good to have a list of your favorite activities that make you happy so that you can turn to them when feeling down. Choose one of your favorite activities and set sufficient time aside to get the maximum mental benefit from it.
Building your self-esteem requires that you look after yourself properly. You have to practice self-care so that you have a healthy mind and body.
Improving your physical health can affect your mental health positively. Eating healthy foods allows your body to absorb the required nutrients including those needed for proper brain functioning.
Exercise releases feel-good hormones and brain chemicals that improve your mental health. It leaves you feeling happy and satisfied with the progress in your life.
Affirmations, or mantras, are statements you make about yourself. They help you to rewire your brain in a positive manner.
Consider the following examples:
Come up with your own affirmation regarding self-esteem, write it down, and place it somewhere visible. Say it out loud to yourself daily.
Affirmations are a good start, but you have to take action and create a plan to make your dreams a reality. This requires that you form healthy habits that become ingrained in your brain.
Brainstorm a couple of habits that you would like to break and replace them with a more positive, productive habit. A few things you could focus on are going to the gym, reading daily, or volunteering weekly.
To be the best possible version of yourself, you need strong self-esteem and believe that you can do whatever you set your mind to. Learn how to take control of your life by attending our Brain-A-Thon presented by top life coaches and neuroscientists.
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