Tips for Raising Self-Esteem
With love heavy in the air, negative thoughts and emotions often seem more significant than usual. Whether you’re in a happy relationship, just had one end, or have been single for a while, you may still struggle with low self-esteem or intrusive thoughts. Your relationship status doesn’t define your self-esteem, but Valentine’s day can irritate existing loneliness or depression.
So, what do you do if you’re finding self-care difficult?
First, let’s take a look at what low self-esteem looks like.
It can come in many different forms, but here are some common symptoms:
This is generally described as intense feelings of loathing, anger, frustration, and dislike for who you are. In addition, there is often an inability to forgive yourself, no matter how small the mistake.
🛑 Overly-Deprecating Internal Critic
Often linked with number one, this can also be characterized as perfectionism. Overly self-deprecating people may constantly feel like a failure or not good enough. This inner voice can also lead to self-destructive and harmful behavior.
🛑Body Dysmorphia & Negative Body Image
Body Dysmorphia is described as an obsession with a perceived flaw in one’s appearance. People with this disorder may frequently examine their appearance in a mirror, live in a state of constant comparison, and avoid social situations or photos.
A negative body image can be caused by or can cause feelings of unworthiness or comparing your size, shape, or appearance to others and often unrealistic ideals.
Celebrating non-scale victories can help you overcome these negative feelings by focusing on wins!
🛑 Poor Health Choices
Similar to the above, low self-esteem can be caused by and can drive poor choices for your health. These include addictions, overeating, undereating, lazy behavior, and not sleeping.
All of the previously mentioned can mess up the body’s natural endorphin level and cause depressive episodes, fueling poor health choices once again. And an unhealthy lifestyle leads to more perceived flaws in your appearance (such as weight gain or acne), which can lower your self-esteem and give your internal voice more to criticize.
Do you see the painful cycle here?
🛑 Constant, Negative Emotions
Some of the more painful aspects of low self-esteem are overwhelming moods, such as anxiety, irritability, oversensitivity, apathy, and depression. Each of these can affect or cause the first four points and negatively impact other parts of life, such as work, relationships, and hobbies.
As I said earlier, there are many other ways low self-worth can be present in your life and body, but those symptoms are a great place to start. If you relate to any of them, remember that you are NOT alone or hopeless!
Let’s address those previously mentioned symptoms and look at some practical ways to practice self-love.
❤️ Identify Your Inner Critic and Challenge It
Your inner critic causes the first two symptoms, and the best way to treat them is by identifying those negative thoughts and challenging them.
So, try to hear your inner critic. What is it saying? What are those feelings and struggles that you’re dealing with every day? Are they triggered by anything specific?
After identifying, you can take responsibility for these feelings and take steps to fix them. Try lowering your defenses and directly approaching wounds to understand and heal. Understand that you are in charge of your own emotions. You control them; they don’t control you.
Once you’ve become familiar with your inner voice, you can stop negative thoughts in their tracks, look for the roots, and replace them with thoughts of self-love. This may be easier by journaling or meditating.
This brings us to…
❤️ Practice Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a broad topic, and you may find many different opinions on what it is or how to practice it.
Simply put, mindfulness is using a technique (there are hundreds) to purposefully (and without judgment) direct your attention to your present moment, thoughts, body, and surroundings. The aim is to keep you grounded in the present and not lost in your thoughts about the past or anxieties about the future.
In a journal, you can write out what you’re feeling and what your inner critic is saying and then follow it with challenges, positive thoughts, and self-encouragement. You can also write the same thing every day, like five things you’re thankful for every morning or five things you did well every evening.
Yoga is a calming way to move your body, get some exercise, and meditate. Be sure you’re controlling your breathing, focusing on how your body feels, and keeping your thoughts firmly planted in the here now.
❤️ Cultivate and Keep Healthy Relationships
Talk to your friends and family or those you love and trust. Tell them what’s going on, and ask them to support and encourage you! Creating a community to hold you up can be an essential part of learning to love yourself.
You can also seek professional help, such as a support group or a therapist. A counselor is trained to be a safe place for you to work through the roots of low self-worth and treat the symptoms.
Once you’ve found and cultivated these relationships, be sure they’re healthy! Create and set boundaries in all relationships. These are essential for having healthy relationships and protecting your mind, heart, and soul. A boundary is a basic guideline for how you are to be treated in a relationship and what is acceptable or not.
Also, take a look at how you can do better to keep a relationship healthy. Are you projecting anything onto your loved ones, being overly sensitive, or people-pleasing? If so, recognize that, take responsibility, and work to do better next time.
There are so many incredible ways to practice self-care and what works for you may be completely different from what works for your best friend or me. Here are some practical ways to start:
- Try sleeping more or getting better sleep, which is a great way to practice self-care and can help with many other aspects, such as fat loss and mental health.
- Do some physical activities like Yoga, walking, or an at-home workout.
- Get outside and enjoy nature.
- Spend time with friends! Whether through a phone call or in-person, talking to friends is an excellent form of self-care.
- Have a spa day or do something relaxing such as taking a bath, doing a face mask, getting your nails done, or getting a massage or facial.
- Do something that engages your mind, like a puzzle or reading a book.
❤️ Clean Eating and Exercise
Eating well, moving your body, and drinking plenty of water are essential to your mental health, overall well-being, and self-esteem. They not only keep your body healthy and strong, but they also release endorphins, give you energy, help with confidence, and are crucial for clearer skin, better sleep, and weight loss.
By taking care of yourself, you send the message that you are worth the time and energy to be the best version of you possible.
Treating your body right through getting essential nutrients, enough exercise, quality sleep, and practicing good hygiene tells your brain that you deserve health and happiness.
Keep in mind that strict diets often have the opposite desired effect and can increase body dissatisfaction and lower body image. But living a healthy, sustainable lifestyle through clean eating raises confidence, boosts mood, and reduces anxiety.
I hope these small steps are practical ways you can start this journey of self-love! You deserve to make time for yourself and to work on your own mental and physical health.
Unfortunately, no one feels 100% perfect with 100% confidence all the time.
However, you can be happier and feel better, and you can learn to love yourself a little more! Through self-care rather than self-destruction, you can work on raising your self-esteem and value yourself, recognizing your worth.
So, get yourself some beautiful flowers and delicious fruit and treat yourself this Valentine’s season! And maybe share with a loved one because positivity is contagious, and learning to love yourself better is a great way to love others better too.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Crushers! I’m proud of every single one of you!