Steps to improve self-esteem

Feeling down about yourself is one of the many characteristics of low self-esteem. Learning about its causes, and taking practical steps to build your self-esteem, can help to overcome your negative thoughts. But if you feel like nothing's working, there is also professional support available.

This might help if:

  • You have low self-esteem
  • You’d like to learn how to build self-esteem
  • You’d like to know the causes of low self-esteem

Signs of low self-esteem

It’s totally normal for people to feel down about themselves from time to time, but when these feelings start to hang around all the time it’s usually an indication of low self-esteem. If you have low self-esteem it means that you have negative ideas about your worth and value as a person. There are various signs of low self-esteem, including:
  • Being really critical of yourself
  • Focusing on the negatives and ignoring your accomplishments
  • Comparing yourself to others
  • Not accepting any compliments that you receive
  • Negative self-talk

Causes of low self-esteem

The first step to building up self-esteem is figuring out why it’s low in the first place. There are lots of different things that could be the cause of low self-esteem, including:

  • Loneliness
  • Poor academic performance
  • Bullying
  • Neglect
  • Abuse
  • Feeling like you’re the odd one out
  • Being unemployed
  • Something going on at a deeper level

Sometimes it can be hard to identify what the cause of your low self-esteem is. It might be something that you’ve never really thought about, or maybe it’s too difficult to determine when it first started. Whether or not you know exactly what the cause is, there are steps that you can take to build your confidence and bring your self-esteem up to where it belongs. 

Steps to improve low self-esteem

1. Positive self-talk

The way that you think about yourself has a huge influence on your self-esteem. If you keep telling yourself that you’re no good, you might just start to believe it even though it’s not true. If you notice that you practice negative self-talk often, check out some ways that you can challenge your negative thinking and build your confidence levels.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others

It can be really tempting to measure our own worth against other people. So what if your friend is awesome at table tennis and gets great marks? You just need to figure out what your niche is. Everyone is great at something - what are your strengths?

3. Exercise

Exercise helps to improve your mood. End of story. 

4. Don’t strive for perfection

It’s really great if you want to do things well, but keep in mind that perfection isn’t possible. Check out one person’s story of coming to terms with their sweet imperfection.

5. Don’t beat yourself up when you make a mistake

Everyone on the planet makes mistakes – it’s in our basic human nature. Why should you be any different? When you stuff up, don’t stress, just learn from it and move on. 

6. Focus on the things you can change

There’s no point wasting all your energy thinking about things that you can’t change. Why don’t you have a think about some of the things that are in your power to control and see what you can do about those?

7. Do things that you enjoy

If you’re doing things that you enjoy you’re more likely to be thinking positively. Schedule time for fun and relaxation into every day.

8. Celebrate the small stuff

Start small and work your way up – you can’t expect any huge progress to be made overnight. 

9. Be helpful and considerate

Not only is helping people a great way to boost the moods of others, but you might find that you feel better about yourself after doing something particularly excellent.

10. Surround yourself with supportive people

Don’t hang around people who bring you down. Find a group of people who make you feel good about yourself and avoid those who tend to trigger your negative thinking. 

Not helping?

If you’ve tried putting these tips into action for a while and you haven’t noticed any differences in the way you feel about yourself, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust about it, like a friend or family member. You might also want to make an appointment with a counsellor who can work with you to figure out exactly what’s at the root of your low self-esteem, and how to fix it. Dealing with self-esteem isn’t easy but these people are there to help you if you want it. 


What can I do now?


Last reviewed: 05 April, 2016
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2 Comments

  • Sophie-RO    (485 days ago)

    Thanks Ashic88 - that's great feedback! Glad we could help- that's what we are here for! :)

  • Ashic88    (485 days ago)

    Loved this articel it was great, very helpfull and defiantly tought me alot of new thungs that i didnt know about about "'low self esteem" it has 120% made me see and start to really understand all the important details and most of all now i can actually start to be mored understanding towards my step daughter and little sister!! Again great article very helpful to read. Thanks