On my last blog post (the first in the series) How To Improve Your Self Esteem, I challenged you to ask your self if you are ready to improve your self-esteem.
I explained how the process requires full commitment to work through the tough emotional side of the journey in order to get to the fulfilling side. The side where you really want to be.
I then explained about the 4 different elements that are required by you to fulfil in order to truly improve your self-esteem with lasting effect.
Becoming Aware being the first and most important element to work through, I gave 4 parts with questions that you could ask yourself in order to see where you are at in your journey and to bring up the pain from the past so that you could work through it and be healed from the hurt.
Now in part 2 of this series, I am going to walk you through the second element of how to improve your self-esteem.
This next part comes with a lot of feel-good moments and opportunities to continue in healing from the hurt of your past.
Taking The Right Steps
Taking the right steps means taking what you have learned about yourself and using it to change the way you perceive yourself in a positive way.
This is where the turning point happens. It’s where you discover who you really are and how to build your self-esteem to where you want it to be.
The beauty of this section is that it is a little more flexible to you. We will dive in deeper to find out what makes you unique and how to truly embrace that part of you.
There are 5 main “steps” that you will need to focus on in order to build up your self-esteem.
1. Knowing Your Worth
To know your worth comes with so much power. If you know your worth then it doesn’t matter what anyone says to you or tries to make you believe because you will know what is false.
You will have the ability to have the negativity and hurtful things bounce off of you because you will stand confidently in who you are.
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Some of my favourite stories to hear that really motivate me are of people who don’t let their upbringing get in the way of their future.
I think of all of the children born in struggling rural areas where they grow up poor and die poor and no one leaves the town for a better life. But then you hear of one person who worked hard to make it out and became incredibly successful. They didn’t allow what they were born into to determine the life that they were going to live.
You have the power to set your eyes on a better life and to work towards that by simply choosing to do so.
The circumstances that you end up in are unfortunate and not easy to go through but they don’t define who you are in your heart.
When I was being bullied in school, one main thing that stuck out to me that I remember was being told that I was dumb. That I wouldn’t be able to do anything because I was too dumb and that everything I tried to do wasn’t good enough because of how dumb I was.
I was fortunate enough to be surrounded by a family who loved me and encouraged me to do things anyway, but still, this idea that I was dumb stayed with me up into my early adulthood.
I would often not do things because I thought I wasn’t smart enough to. I didn’t go to a fancy university, only makeup artistry school that didn’t require “smarts” just more skill which I knew I had when it came to makeup.
But now being in my late 20’s I am so eager to learn, so instead, I have chosen not to listen to those words and to not let them define me anymore. And now I dive into all things that am eager to learn more about.
Your worth is based on what you let yourself stand for. What you limit yourself to or challenge yourself in. You can set the bar for what you are worth and girl, I think you are worth so much more than you know.
I think that you are capable of doing whatever you put your mind to. So what do you feel you are worth?
Learning to forgive will be the greatest lesson that you will learn to benefit your life. There is so much strength and honour in someone who can forgive after being hurt. It is absolutely not easy to forgive someone who hurt you or mistreated you. And no one says that you have to forget how the person treated you but being able to forgive means that you are saying “I will no longer let that circumstance and that person affect my life in a negative way.”
Having the ability to let go in your heart allows you to create room for positive things in your life.
Learning to forgive is a process and one that I find a lot of people have trouble doing. Do you find you are holding a grudge towards someone that hurt you? Sometimes we hold grudges because we are waiting for the person to realize that they have hurt us, but unfortunately, this is not the case. Likely they are dealing with their own hurt in their life and waiting for them to learn that they hurt you could potentially take a lifetime and isn’t going to benefit your life in any way.
I have dealt with a lot of anxiety in my life to the point of having panic attacks. During the process of learning to overcome the anxiety, one key area that I kept coming back to was how I was still being affected by the bullying that happened to over 15 years prior. The truth was that I hadn’t really forgiven those that had hurt me. Every time anything came up in my life that sent the same message that I learned from being bullied I would have an anxiety attack. If I thought about being bullied and the details that happened, it would still sting as though it was fresh and I would feel frustrated at these people that made me hurt like that.
The saddest part is that after so long it was still affecting me but those people who bullied me probably don’t even remember doing it.
I didn’t want to deal with anxiety anymore. It was affecting so many areas of my life on a daily basis, including my relationships, that I wanted it gone. In my process of learning to overcome, the very first thing that I needed to learn was to forgive. Until I let go of my frustration and disappointment that I had towards those people that affected my life, I would not be able to move forward and be anxiety free.
If you are dealing with anxiety like I had, think about what circumstances in your life you might be holding a grudge towards. Is there someone in your life that you need to forgive so that you can move forward?
3. Changing The Narrative
How many times have you put yourself down? How many ways have you called yourself ugly? How often do you listen to negative self-talk?
Now is the time to change this bad habit.
I know that you probably feel uncomfortable when you are given a compliment. As soon as you hear it you probably immediately feel self-conscious and want to cover up yourself or hide under a rock so you don’t draw any more attention to what you were complimented on. I can guarantee that the only reason you do this is that you don’t feel good about yourself.
One area that I have been the most self-conscious of is my teeth. I didn’t have the opportunity to wear braces so my teeth are not perfectly straight. This is something that I chose to judge myself on. I told myself that people would not like me because of my teeth, even though they aren’t bad at all! Whenever I would smile I would feel as though the whole world was looking at my teeth and judging me because they didn’t look how I thought they should look.
Every so often I would receive a compliment on my teeth (which tells you that they really aren’t bad at all) but because I didn’t like them, if I got a compliment about them I would immediately feel like closing my mouth and not letting anyone see them. I would, of course, thank the person as I was brought up to do, but I would feel like moving the conversation away from my teeth as soon as possible. Later on, I learned a valuable lesson from my husband. He taught me that people won’t love me because I appeared perfect, they would love me because I was myself and that I had my own unique features. He told me that he loved my teeth because they are the teeth of the woman that he fell in love with.
How do you start to love your unique features and change the negative self-talk into positive self-talk?
The key to changing this bad habit comes down to reminding yourself of what you know is true about you.
I know that you have heard a lot about understanding and accepting the truth, but it really is the main reason as to why you struggle with low self-esteem.
You have to change the bad habit of saying the negative thoughts to yourself by focusing on turning it into a positive habit. This takes ongoing practice, but over time it will start to become natural that you won’t even realize you are doing it.
If you tell yourself enough that “you are fat” or “you are dumb” then you will start to believe it. Because this is something you have learned by repeating it to yourself, you can unlearn it. When you catch yourself saying those same destructive put-down words then you can stop and say the truth instead. Even if you are having a hard time believing it yet, all you have to do is start telling yourself the positive words.
4. Creating Good Habits
You have probably created so many habits that you aren’t even aware of that are a result of your low self-esteem. This could be how you react to someone that has hurt you. Do you yell and say something hurtful back? Maybe it’s in the way you shop for clothes. Do you avoid the things that you would really like to wear but that someone once made fun of you for?
One of the best ways of improving your self-esteem and creating positive habits is with daily reminders of things to practise so that the more you do them the easier and more natural they become.
I love finding new ways of creating positive daily habits that feed my self-esteem.
The wonderful part about creating good habits is that you can tailor them to you! You can get creative with finding ways to feed your soul that creates daily excitement and makes you look forward to each new day.
Are you a more athletic person? Take the time to go for a run each morning to help wake up your body and start the day feeling good about it. If you have struggled with body negativity then this is a great time to be with your thoughts so that as you run you can tell yourself how you are proud of the strength your body has.
Maybe you are an artist? Put some time aside once a week to create some positive feel good paintings that are themed around what you love about yourself.
You can use your interests in so many creative ways to encourage yourself and make you feel good about your unique qualities.
Here are a couple ideas to get you brainstorming about new creative ways to feed your self-esteem:
- Love to read? Next time you wander through the bookstore, focus on picking up some self-affirming motivational books.
- Struggling with your skin? Create a new skin care routine that gets you excited about new products to try. Need a new routine? See my example routine in my post Why Establishing A Skin Care Routine Is Important In Your Teens
- Love listening to music? Create a feel-good playlist that is full of positive feel-good songs that lift your spirit.
5. Do Things For Yourself
While being a caring and giving person is a good thing, it is important to know when to do things just for you. You need time to yourself to feel special and to dream in order to stay motivated and stress-free. Learning to take this time for yourself if you are not naturally someone who does that might be a challenge, but it is a very important step as it creates time for you to bond with yourself and to learn to love your unique qualities.
If you are someone who finds yourself over-exhausted by constantly doing things for others that you aren’t left with time to yourself, then this message is especially for you.
Not taking time for yourself will not only leave you feeling unfulfilled but it will likely cause a great deal of anxiety in your daily life. Do you find that you have less patience when things go awry? Are you always feeling like you are hanging on by just a thread? Then girl, its time to put some time for you aside in your calendar. Make this time a priority as it will not only help you but those around you.
I know that it can be difficult to even consider taking time for you when you have a list of things to do each day, but you will learn that by doing this practice that it will actually help you get through your tasks. Learning to take time will keep your patience high and your stress level down giving you a clearer head to work through all that you need to do. It will give you energy and motivation to work on each thing.
You deserve to be treated! Yes, I said it. You are a special person and your hard work deserves some attention.
I encourage you to find little ways to spoil yourself. We cant always rely on or expect others to do this for us so we need to do this for ourselves as a little self-pat-on-the-back.
Here are some great little ways that you can treat yourself to help motivate you throughout your week:
- Take a day to binge watch your favourite show
- Treat yourself to your favourite Starbucks drink
- Go out to lunch with a friend
- Buy that shirt that you have had your eye on
- Take a painting class
- Spend a day at the beach
Make a list of what you enjoy to do and put them in your calendar. Keep yourself accountable by planning ahead the times that you are taking for yourself. You will feel a lot more positive and have more energy around your busy lifestyle by choosing the time for you!
Practice Makes Perfect
As you work through each step in building your self-esteem, it is important to understand that it won’t be a quick process. It took you many years to get to the place that you are at with the negative self-talk and body image that it will take time to reverse the damage. However, the more you are dedicated to doing these steps, the easier it will become and the more you will see the benefits in your life.
You are strong enough for this process and you are capable of having a truly fulfilling life.
I hope you found these steps useful in your self-esteem journey and I can’t wait to hear about the positive change that you are noticing!
If you have not had a chance to read part 1 of Improving Your Self Esteem then you can read it through the link HERE: How To Improve Your Self-Esteem | Part 1.