1. Practice complimenting others.
Do this especially for small traits, or particular aspects of an area they might not excel in. For example, someone you don’t find attractive may still have a cute nose, or nice hair. Someone you find annoying may have a friendly attitude, or admirable confidence.
When you learn to do it for others, you can’t help but learn how to do it for yourself.
2. In everyday situations, when you normally would start bashing yourself over an insignificant/small thing, try to think about the situation as if it happened to someone else. Would you hate another person, a classmate, a stranger, whatever, for it? If not, why do you hate yourself for it?
Of course, there ARE things about you that are unpleasant, everybody has flaws. But for that very reason it’s okay to have them. And the harder you work on flaws you can fix, the more respect you deserve.
3. Try to catch yourself whenever you think something that is putting yourself down and replace it with something positive.
“I slept too long, and now I’m late to work, apparently I can’t get up in the morning!”
Could be: “I needed sleep, and now I’m revived!”
“I really hate my hair today, it doesn’t ever look nice!”
Could be: “My skin is very soft today!”
If you keep this up you will learn eventually how to see the positives about yourself, instead of the negatives.
4. Dress better. I used to be the ‘black hoodie blue jeans’ type of person but after wearing more colorful and stylish clothes I felt a lot better about myself.
I’m still not a ‘bright colors’ type of person but even wearing white, dark red, grey, dark greens and the like really helps, as well as instead of wearing hoodies wearing a blouse, or even just a sweater.
5. STOP APOLOGIZING. Every time you want to say sorry, say thank you. Thank you for waiting for me. Thank you for understanding. Thank you for talking to me.
6. Buy a journal and write everyday 3 things you like about yourself or something you did that you’re proud of.
7. When you have a negative thought about yourself, take it and ask three questions: is it true? Is it useful? Is it helpful?
If it isn’t at least one of those (especially the first one) then it’s safe to toss. Don’t just go “of course [horrible thing about me] is true because I’m horrible,” either. Actually look at it.
Also, think about how you would feel if someone said that about one of your friends (or your cat, your favorite character, whatever works). If you think it’d be a shit thing to say to someone else, then it’s a shit thing to say to yourself.
8. Avoid social media. This quote really put it into perspective for me: “One reason with struggle with insecurity is we compare our behind the scenes to everyone else’s highlight reel.”
Look at the positives in your life, it doesn’t matter how big or small it is
9. I start out each day by saying what I’m grateful for; little things mean the most, believe me. Somedays it may only be my warm covers and clean undies, but it’s something! And be nice to yourself, don’t say mean things in your head about yourself. Pick out something you like, even if it’s just a mole, or your hair, and think of more things you like about yourself each day. It’s like a mantra; saying nice things, thinking nice things, takes effort. But each day is a new day, with a new start! And smile too.
10. Deny a request. The beginnings of assertiveness goes a long way to becoming self-confident.
11. Pretend that you’re confident, even if it feels fake. Tell yourself that you’re good at whatever you’re engaged in and that you can do anything. If you tell yourself enough you’ll start to believe it, and if you fake confidence, no one else will know that you’re FAKING confidence and will believe you’re confident.
Also if someone is making you feel less confident, or is deliberately trying to keep your self-esteem low, don’t spend time with them.
12. Very often people will respond to you in the way you come at them. When you see someone, smile as though their presence makes you happy (not crazy happy. Regular, low-key happy). This reaction will make them subconsciously feel happy to see you. Ask them how they’re doing. Be aware that small talk is just a way to “check in” and is sort of a way to get talking rolling or a way to keep a brief encounter light. Smile. Smiling will actually make you feel better. If you force yourself to smile, the first second may feel weird but then it will become real. Know that everyone is preoccupied with their own shit so if you just be pleasant and low-key nice, that’s all they’re gonna see, i.e. no social interaction is a huge deal unless you make it a huge deal. Keep in your head “everybody is just trying to live and get by, so when I see people, best thing to do is simply give them some low-key niceness to make their day better”.
You keep doing this, and start to be a nice influence on others, you will probably feel its effects, and may start to also feel better about yourself.
13. Exercise: but take the time to find what you like. I started off going to the gym (hated it), then tried running (I preferred sprints but it was still hard to motivate) and eventually I took a boxing class by chance and fell in love with it. Same with core fitness classes. Having a teacher that I like, being around other people, and doing a class that challenged (but didn’t overwhelm me) has really made a huge difference to how I feel about myself.
14. Honestly, every single time you look at your own reflection try your best to not look for something you don’t like about your appearance. Look for something positive, the one thing about yourself that doesn’t make you upset. Doing this every single day legitimately makes such a big improvement on self image.
15. Depending on how low you feel, simple things as brushing your hair and teeth and putting clean clothes goes a long way. Then eating more fruits and less complex carbs (pasta, burgers, cereal) also helps. Drinks more water and going for a walk. This build up to starting an overall healthier diet and exercising, that helps with the mental state of feeling better about yourself.
Finally: therapy. Admitting you need someone to talk to and help you is a small step that will work wonders.
16. Volunteer. Join something that makes the world a better place in some way. First of all, they tend to be filled with positive people, and secondly, they positive feelings that you get from your contributions will do a lot to contradicts the negative messages that others have given you in the past.
17. Pay attention to what you tell to yourself. You’ll be very surprised and saddened to realize what you tell yourself all day long. Once you’ve observed long enough, start talking back and don’t let yourself get away with bad talk. It’s a habit just like everything else.
18. Try to make a ritual every morning: wake up, change out of your pijamas, wash-up, drink some water and make your bed. Once you finish this up, you will already have achieved something for the day and you should already feel a bit better.
The next step would be working towards something that you desire. If you don’t have such a thing, the best place for me to look for inspiration was younger me.
In my experience, there is always something that one would like to achieve, to become, to do or to get.
Choose one and just start taking small steps towards it. Make sure that at the end of the day you have achieved the smallest step towards it so that you can tell yourself that in that day you achieved something.
19. Stop listening to your lying mind and start listening to the people who tell you that you are beautiful, smart and funny.
20. For me it was wearing makeup less frequently.
Admittedly I was never huge into it but I made the “expected” effort with it 7 out of 10 days. Once I started consciously deciding that I wasn’t going to put any make up on that day, even if I had some sort of event, I became so much more comfortable with the way I looked.
I’m not saying wearing make up is evil and I know for a lot of people it’s an art form but if you’re using it because you feel you need to alter some small facets of your appearance in order to feel like you’re giving the best version of you… you might be amazed at what making peace with the way you look does for your every day confidence.
21. This might sound crazy but I promise it’s not:
Every morning when you do your routine, take an extra 5 seconds and smile at yourself in the mirror, even if you have to force the smile
22. Remind yourself that Nothing is Personal. It really isn’t. Everyone lives in their own head and is just as messed up as you think you are. Get a grip and breathe. Nothing is personal.
23. Remember, merely questioning what you can do to help your situation is more than a lot of people do.
Be true to yourself. Who are you? I think a good first step is figuring out your values. What’s most important to you. Once you know what your values are, setting realistic goals and celebrating each step along the way can be very helpful.
24. Get rid of toxic people. All of them, even if they are the closest to you.
25. Keep your room, apartment, or home clean and tidy.
26. Start making outrageous jokes about how great you are. If you make them outrageous enough, people will know you’re not just boasting, but even false positive reinforcement will start to have positive effects. At the very least avoid negative self talk at all costs.
27. Say one good thing you did today and put it in a jar. Do this everyday for a month and then read them.
28. Get a good haircut. I know it’s difficult to find right style where you actually feel comfy in your own skin instead of having a template haircut, but when you find the right barber it will change everything. Heavy, insecure, out of fashion people are much more approachable when they have excellent haircut than fit, confident and well dressed people with shagged hair.
29. It might sound very cheesy, but what worked best for me was taking care of relatively small things about myself – brushing my hair frequently, taking care to really clean my teeth, washing really thoroughly in the shower. Not only did it help me look better, it was also really helpful to get to know what my body is like and how to help it. Starting small helped me work up to the bigger things like going out more, losing weight, etc.
Knowing yourself and your body is important. If your relationship with it can’t be positive, at least you can make it compassionate.
30. I would recommend putting yourself in non-serious social situations. BS with a person at the park or at a patron at a restaurant you never visit. Perhaps volunteer at a place for a day. Use a fake name with a simple engineered backstory behind it if you feel shy. If the attempt fails, they don’t know your real name. Think of it like a real world sandbox you can play in. Eventually you will gain confidence by being immersed in this environment. Confidence is a large part of how you end up feeling about yourself at the end of the day.
31. Telling yourself it’s okay to make mistakes in social settings. You meant to say “hello” + “how’re you doing?” and it comes out sounding “hell’re you doing?” It’s okay, everyone does it. Just try again and you’ll both laugh about the goof, plus laughing is a good way to start a conversation. You wave at someone and they don’t see it so you’re waving awkwardly at nothing? Just smile, nod at the air like the person acknowledged you, and anyone who happened to notice your moment will think “oh they’re saying hi to someone” even if you actually aren’t. It’ll feel stupid, but it works. I’ve done it many times in a crowded mall.
It’s okay to goof up and make mistakes. Everyone else in the world does it, the only difference is low self-esteem makes it hard for you to notice when other people do it (usually other people do it just as often as you do!).
32. Personal hygiene. Also, wearing a nice perfume.
33. The best course of action is probably to find a therapist to help you work on it. Or at least help you into a better head space to deal with it.
34. Years ago what helped me was meditation.
I would visually “step outside myself” and look at me and my life from the third person perspective.
It’s sounds odd but I began to notice if I got out of my own “head” and looked at myself, I could see me as an awesome person who has been through some difficult stuff.
I slowly began giving myself the same respect and understanding I always give freely to others but couldn’t give myself for some reason.
Immediately after meditating I would go back into myself and see nothing but flaws, but the more I visualized my life from someone else’s eyes the more my self esteem and those negative thought patterns disappeared.
35. Avoid social media. It brings out the worst in people, everyone put highlights of their otherwise miserables lives and spending too much time on them just leads to envy and further self-loathing.
36. Long hair to trendy short hair. Is what i did as a 16yo. Instant 200% confidence boost.
37. Be sure to know that nobody gives a damn about you. Not your co-workers, boss, even friends. They don’t go home thinking about you. They have their own lives. Escape routine, spend time alone, watch people. We’re all delicate and complex. Understand that you’re just one more story to this world. If you untie some thoughts you’ll manage yourself better. Live like no one is watching.
38. My therapist asked me to list the things I liked about myself, and I couldn’t even come up with a single thing. Then she asked me what I thought my friends would say if she asked them what they liked about me, and I didn’t know. So my homework that week was to ask them. It was really anxiety-provoking, so I only asked two of them who I’ve known for years. One gave me kind of a standard answer, like “you’re funny and a good listener,” which was nice. But another friend completely blew me out of the water and had to EMAIL me a list of the positive qualities I had and why she liked having me as a friend. It didn’t cure me, I still hate myself more than anything, but on a really bad self-esteem day I can read her list and realize that: 1. Even though I hate myself, there are other people who don’t, and 2. I do have positive qualities, they are just hard for me to see.
Obviously not everyone has a great support system, so this may be hit-or-miss for some people, but even if you think your friends/family will give you 1-2 things they like about you, you can compile a pretty solid list yourself.
39. This may sound hokey, but it really worked for me and my little brother. Every night, we would text each other the mantra, “I am beautiful, I am strong, I am worth it, I can do this,” then follow it up with the “good night, sleep sweet, I love you bro-der/sissy.”
Every night, we did this and every day when I woke up, I felt a little bit better and eventually I felt amazing and I really believed those words. It helped because we were both going through some really dark times together and decided we weren’t going to be just another statistic.
40. Clean the kitchen sink. It takes a moment, you feel better about yourself and feel inspired to do more.
41. I’m being completely serious and non-ironic, but you have to remember that you’re the sperm that made it. The fact that you are who you are today, biologically and mentally, in a virtually infinite universe, is a God damn miracle.
Remind yourself of that and go face your fears. That’s how I get through my insecurities.
42. I wake up every morning and the first thing I say is: “Today is going to be a magnificent day.” Then I go out to find out why I said it, and if I cant find it, I make it.
43. In my experience I had to make a shift from wondering what people thought about me to not caring what they thought about me. It worked for me. I wear what I want to wear and as long as I’m comfortable I don’t care what they think. Has made a huge difference for me.
44. I used to have super low self esteem. Someone introduced me to a game that they played when they were out called, “I’m glad I’m me.”
Basically any time you see anyone that you’re glad you’re not, you say to yourself, “I’m glad I’m me.”
You’d be surprised how much you say it. It drastically improved my self esteem.
45. Start a hobby. Something you like, and find others who like it too. Doesn’t matter which hobby.
46. I had an affirmation that was taped to the mirror in my bathroom. It helped.
47. Perhaps this isn’t what you’re looking for, but I found starting over with a fresh identity (in an internet community) helped me. “The past is gone, all of my actions from this point forward will be the right ones.”
48. For me digging out of my hole started with:
Getting regular hair cuts.
Washing my face and clearing up my skin.
Washing my hair regularly.
Eating better, not expensive, just better.
I looked so much better and felt better about myself start there once you like yourself then you can work on getting others to like you.
49. Honestly it’s hard, really hard. But you need to put yourself in uncomfortable situations for starters. It’s almost like a shock therapy sort of thing.you need to be able to interact with people with confidence. And confidence is very hard to build, it’s almost like leveling in a video game.
50. In my experience, self confidence is a side effect of having my shit together and accomplishing the things I desire. If I’m satisfied with my body, my career, my social life and so on I don’t have to fake it.
So work on the aspects of yourself that you don’t like and you will be a more happy and confident person. Pursue the things you want even if they’re hard to get. Don’t loose your time expecting things to be easy, everything that is worth is hard to get. In order to become the person you want to be you need to work hard and earn the accomplishments you crave for.
When I had low self-esteem I used to think that I didn’t deserve anything good, but at the same time I didn’t put any effort because everything was so hard. That’s the mentality I had to change. Stop expecting things to get easy and just work.
Read more: thoughtcatalog.com