5 Ways To Develop Confidence And Self-Esteem
Even though we all know by now how important it is to have high self-esteem and confidence in oneself, that doesn’t mean we all have it. Unfortunately, it can greatly lower the quality of your life if you don’t have it and it can be quite difficult to develop.
Are you one of the many who suffer from feelings of low self-worth and zero confidence? You know it’s important to be confident and believe in yourself no matter what but you still can’t seem to improve yours. Having high self-esteem not only makes you feel good about yourself, it also makes you physiologically stronger.
Brain scan studies have demonstrated that people who have higher self-esteem are more likely to bounce back quicker from emotional pain, such as failure and rejection, and just aren’t as hurt by these events as those with lower self-esteem.
Higher self-esteem is also linked to experiencing less anxiety in day-to-day life. High levels of stress and anxiety lead to an elevated release of the hormone cortisol. Cortisol causes an increase in your heart rate and blood pressure, weight gain, fatigue, irritability, low libido, intestinal problems and so much more.
If you’ve done any sort of web search in the past for articles and blogs designed to help you raise your confidence and self-worth, you know there is no shortage of them!
There are so many articles, books, and videos that claim to help with this issue. Unfortunately, most of them don’t work and some can even make you feel worse.
Improving the way you feel about yourself is not as easy as it sounds.
Part of the reason for this is the fact that your self-esteem is pretty unstable to begin with and varies from day to day.
To make matters more complicated, your self-esteem consists of both your specific life roles (lawyer, student, parent, teacher, etc.) as well as your global/general feelings about yourself.
They go hand-in-hand, so if you feel like you’re a great parent then you’re more than likely going to feel good about yourself in general.
However, if your child yells at you or tells you that they hate you, this is going to hurt your self-esteem in all aspects of your life- not just as a parent.
Even if you were previously feeling pretty good about yourself for getting a promotion at work, feeling like a bad parent is going to override the pride that you had for your work-self.
It’s also important to note that while having high self-esteem and being confident is necessary, it’s also possible to have TOO MUCH of it! You would think that having sky high self-esteem is a good thing but this can actually be more damaging and can make a narcissist out of you.
People don’t usually like narcissists because they tend to think they’re better than everyone else, they don’t care to help or listen to anyone else’s problems but their own, they’re bad sports when something doesn’t go their way, they always have to be in control of things, and so much more.
Having self-esteem that’s through the roof might make you feel good about yourself for certain periods of time, but all hell breaks loose if you receive constructive criticism or negative feedback!
You are more vulnerable to spiraling out of control if you hear something you don’t like and you are more likely to respond in ways that hurt your self-growth.
There really is a sweet spot for how confident and how much self-esteem you need. If you’re wanting to raise and develop yours, know that it is possible to do- even if it seems like a lot of work. It is absolutely worth it and one of the best things you could ever do for yourself.
According to psychologist Guy Winch, here are five ways to raise your self-esteem:
Even though popular positive affirmations usually sound something like “I’m going to succeed no matter what!”, these aren’t the best ones if you’re feeling low. Affirmations like this are known for making people whose self-esteem is already low feel worse about themselves than if they didn’t even say them at all.
The reason for this is because these sayings contain too much contradiction to how the person actually feels. While it may be ironic, these overly positive affirmations do work really well on people whose self-esteem is already high.
In order to make affirmations work for you when you’re trying to raise your self-esteem, you have to use them the right way. Modify these common affirmation to make them more believable and more realistic to you.
Instead of saying “I’m going to succeed no matter what!” say “I am determined and will persevere until I succeed!” This makes it more relatable and closer to home for you; something within reach that you can accomplish instead of just a fantasy wish where everything magically comes true.
True and lasting self-esteem and confidence are created by attempting and succeeding in areas of your life that matter the most to you. Having the knowledge and ability to accomplish tasks and achieving things you set your mind to will do incredible things to your psyche and how you view yourself.
If you feel like you’re really good at running, sign up and train for races and marathons. If you know you’re a good cook, organize and host more dinner parties.
Figure out what you’re really good at and find ways to showcase your talent. This can be applied to your career as well. If you know you’re really good at doing hair and makeup, sign up for cosmetology school.
If you have low self-esteem then you probably already know how hard it can be to take a compliment from someone. Feeling bad about yourself makes you more reluctant to receive praise. The sad part about this is that it’s during these low times that you really need compliments and praise the most.
Set yourself the goal of being able to accept compliments, even if you feel awkward or uncomfortable. It’s going to feel strange at first and might go against your nature but a good tactic for fighting the natural urge to dismiss them is to practice!
Have a few simple responses handy and “train” yourself to automatically reply with them when someone says something nice to you. You can say things like, “that’s very nice of you to say that,” or “that means a lot to me,” and even just a short and sweet “thank you!”
With time and practice, this will become more natural and your tendency to reject compliments will go away. When this starts happening on its own without you thinking about is a good sign that your confidence and self-esteem are rising.
It’s a sad fact that when your self-esteem is low, you’re likely to damage it even more by constantly criticizing yourself. Considering that your goal is to raise your confidence and self-worth, you need to swap out that negative self-talk with positive and compassionate inner dialogue.
Even if you have a strong urge to talk down to yourself, know that it never accomplishes anything and it only causes you more damage.
A good little exercise to follow when you start talking to yourself negatively is to stop and think about what you would say to a close friend if they were in your situation. We’re always more understanding and compassionate to other people more than we are to ourselves.
Really stop and think about exactly what you would tell them and how you would talk to them, then direct those comments towards yourself. Treat yourself as you would treat a loved one. You need to see things from a different perspective and be more sympathetic to yourself instead of beating yourself up.
This last exercise has been proven to raise your self-esteem when you feel low. It requires a bit more work and introspection but it is so worth it.
When your self-esteem takes a blow, grab a notebook and make a list of all the qualities you possess that have to do with the situation that made you feel worthless.
For example, if you were passed over for a job promotion or higher position, write down all the qualities that make you a valuable employee. This can include things like always showing up on time, being a fast learner, focusing on your work, etc.
If you’re self-esteem took a nosedive after a breakup, write down the things that make you a good partner. This could be things such as the fact that you’re always honest, you’re very understanding, you don’t have jealousy issues, etc.
Once you’ve written all the qualities down, pick one of them and write a short little one or two paragraph essay about how that quality is valuable and why others in the future will appreciate it. Do this as often as possible until you begin seeing your self-worth and loving yourself just the way you are.
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As you can see, building your self-esteem and confidence level requires work and dedication. It relies on you to develop and maintain healthier and more positive emotional habits.
By doing this, you are going to receive a lot more psychological and emotional benefits in return for your time and commitment. These benefits will stay with you for a lifetime once you develop them.