Self-Esteem is the cornerstone of mental health. Low self-esteem underlies most mental health problems, is very common and most of us could do with a boost in this area.
So here are 5 tips to help you to do that:
1. Low Self-Esteem is maintained by a self-critical voice, sometimes known as the internal critic. If you can identify yours and begin to monitor it, over time you will create some distance between yourself and it which will reveal alternative ways of looking at things.
2. There is an opposite train of thought running in your voice, a healthy, nurturing, self- supportive voice, sometimes called your Health Adult Voice. This ‘voice’ may need some strengthening. Start by acknowledging that this ‘voice’ does or could exist. It is kind and accepting instead of toxic and judgemental. Then when you notice your self-critical voice consider what your health adult voice would have to say on the matter.
3. When we are struggling with our self-esteem we often keep a running log of all failures and inadequacies in our heads. So, at the end of every day begin an alternative log, an antidote to counter the toxic one, where you note down all the things that have gone well, that you have managed and survived. With practice this positive log will begin to run in your head alongside the negative one and eventually it will drown it out.
4. When someone mistreats us it feels bad but we are often able to recognise the mistreatment and protect ourselves from it. When we mistreat ourselves it feels worse because it is harder to recognise and protect ourselves from mistreatment that comes from within. By looking after ourselves we can give our self-esteem a real boost. It feels good when someone else is kind to us, when they show us respect and love, but when we do it for ourselves it is even more powerful because the love and respect comes from within us having much longer lasting and pervasive effects.
5. Try to identify the source of your low self-esteem. It usually originates in our early experiences either from someone treating us as if we have no value or treating themselves in that way so that we learn from them this way of interacting with ourselves. Then tether your low self-esteem to the past, this will help you to leave it there and begin to develop alternative views about your value.
Practice these tips consistently and over the next few months you will begin to notice an improvement in your mood, anxiety, self-image and confidence.