How to boost self-esteem


If you struggle with low self-esteem and feelings of inadequacy, these are some suggestions to gain self confidence and increased self-esteem.

Remember the good, forget the bad

If we are honest with ourselves we will notice that all humans are a mixture of bad qualities and good qualities. However, perhaps out of a sense of false modesty, we are more prone to remember our mistakes and weaknesses. It is this that makes us feel guilty and worthless. But, in this situation, we are doing ourself a disservice; true we have made some mistakes, but, we have also done many good things. We should make a conscious effort to remember our good qualities and selfless actions to others. If we have made mistakes, learn from them, but, don’t allow them to drag you down with feelings of guilt. – Let go and move on.

Detach from criticism

You can’t avoid getting criticised, but, it is up to you whether you let it disturb your peace of mind. It is no one other than yourself who can rob you of inner peace. If you receive criticism, don’t let it disturb your peace of mind. Feel it is criticising only an aspect of your character – an aspect you can easily improve. If the criticism is unjust, pay no attention to it. Just leave it with the other person.

Stop procrastinating

Often feelings of inadequacy occur during periods of great procrastination. Rather than doing anything positive, we just think of all the things we haven’t done. Here it is easy to get into a negative frame of mind, thinking of all the things we should be doing, but haven’t. The cure for this is quite simple. – Stop procrastinating and start to achieve certain targets. As soon as we are actively working towards something we will have much greater self confidence.

Set achievable goals

When we can have a feeling of achievement it is a great boost for our self esteem. What we need to do is set small goals that enable us to have a feeling of self improvement. Don’t set unrealistic goals we will feel regret when we miss them. Our goals don’t necessarily need to be material achievements. We can set inner targets of breaking bad habits or starting good habits.

Listen to the mind less and the heart more

The mind is full of judgemental thoughts about ourself and other people. When we live in the mind we have constant feelings of insecurity, doubt and pride. If we can bring to the fore the qualities of our heart we will unmistakeably feel improved self esteem. This is because in the heart we can feel more easily our true sense of self.

Keep fit

The physical state of our body plays a crucial role in influencing our state of mind. If we are unfit, overweight it is like carrying a heavy weight around. Even if we try hard to ignore the body, it inevitably affects our state of mind and feelings of self esteem. If you look after the body by keeping fit, it is like looking after yourself. You will feel better for exercising and trying to lose weight. Even if you are not particularly successful in losing weight, it is not so bad as long as you are making sincere attempts to improve your fitness. When we do nothing, either consciously or unconsciously we harbour feelings of inadequacy and guilt.

Don’t look for constant re-inforcement

A modern phenomena of social media places us in a virtual world, where we can very easily get sucked into a constant need for virtual ‘likes’. Many studies suggest this constant feeling of seeking validation, approval can severely affect personal esteem. It is ironic that a platform where we can receive many ‘votes of approval’ can affect our self-esteem. It is a false indicator of real self-esteem. There is an addictive quality, where we seek constant online approval. This is the kind of thing that can sneak up on us without us being aware of how it plays out in our lives.

Don’t criticise others

“You cannot acquire self-esteem
By fault-finding.
You can acquire self-esteem
By becoming an aspiration-heart
And a dedication-life.”

Sri Chinmoy,

The human mind can be tricky at times. Quite often the mind tries to boost our self esteem by criticising and denigrating others. The mind feels that if we point out the weaknesses of others we can feel somehow ‘superior’ to others. This however, is a false way to boost self esteem. When we criticise other people, we are in a negative frame of mind and we are more likely to doubt ourselves. The thing to do is look for the best in others. If you try and boost other people’s self esteem it will be much easier to increase your own self esteem.

Avoid feelings of guilt

Guilt does not help anyone. By cherishing feelings of guilt you cannot rescind your past actions. Make a resolution to avoid repeating the mistake, but, then let go of your guilty feelings. Live in the present moment, not the past.

Don’t be a slave to habits

When we feel a slave to our own bad habits, we feel powerless to overcome them. This creates a strong feeling of regret and guilt. However, there is no rule that we have to be a victim of our own bad habits. Definitely, we can overcome our bad habits – just try concentrating on the right thing. This will enable us to break our bad habits.

Photo by Prabhakar, Sri Chinmoy Centre Galleries

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