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How to Improve Self-esteem and Like Yourself

Updated on October 17, 2011

Improve Your Self Esteem & Like Yourself

Self-esteem is largely a matter of perception or opinion about ones self. And that perception has a cause and effect on our lives. Improving your self esteem not only improves your relations with yourself, but can improve your relationships with others. Those with healthy self-esteem can experience more peace and contentment, and may find the inevitable bumps and dips in life seem more smooth. Self-esteem can affect your ability to get more accomplished, feel happier, enjoy life more.

So you may wonder how to improve self-esteem. Many ways exist to improve self esteem and to like yourself better. If you struggle with self-esteem you may want to try several to find what works best for you. To that end I suggest just a handful of simple ways here to help you begin to like yourself more and build your self esteem. Many of these exercises work best if you write your thoughts down. So get a nice notebook and a pen and open yourself to new possibilities.

Four Ideas Improve Self-esteem and Like Yourself

1. What You Like About You

Everyday (or night) write down at least five things you can like about yourself and why in your notebook. You can also write down things other people like about you and why. I suggest doing this for a least a month. But it's certainly kinder to yourself and your self esteem to do it even longer.

2. Like Even What You Dislike?

Ask yourself what is likable about the things you dislike about yourself. Or in other words, find something positive about what you have seen as a negative. This can seem rather odd at first and may take some effort, but it will get easier as you do it. If you need help try asking others. Again, write it down...Writing things down helps things to "stick" with us better.

For example, if someone dislikes themselves for sometimes doing embarrassing things (as if they were the only who has ever done so). They may discover that sometimes moments of embarrassment keeps them humble and down to earth...and turn it into a good opportunity to laugh at themselves (which also relieves stress). Or if you dislike your fine, straight hair you would write down things you can come up with about what is good about having fine, straight hair. Ask friends and others what they like about your hair (some of them probably wish they had your hair).

3. Others Can Be Our Mirror

Look at those with characteristics you admire in others...and then look within yourself for those same traits. Don't immediately dismiss that you don't have them. You may have to dig deep to find it, to think of an example. Or you may find only a seed, a possibility, at this point...but that if you nurtured it then it could grow. For example, if you admire someone's confidence, even if you aren't confident right now, could you see how it's possible that you could be in the future? The esteem we have for others often reflects the esteem we want to recognize in ourselves.

4. Thank You

Say thank you. Graciously accept compliments. Most of us are familiar the example of someone receiving a compliment and the reply, "This old thing?" or other ways of downplaying compliments paid to us. We may think doing so is polite and humble, but end up being dismissive and leaving the one who complimented us with unpleasant feelings. The truly polite and humble thing to do is replying with a simple, "Thank you." After doing this enough times you'll start to feel better more comfortable accepting compliments. And you'll make the person who complimented you feel good too.

Some Final Thoughts

If you feel you have low self esteem, explore many ways to improve it. Don't let things like a difficult childhood, for example, hold you back. Despite the past, despite obstacles, you can feel great about yourself. As Wayne Dyer says in his book You'll See It When You Believe It, "You need not remain governed by the belief that past decisions cause you to be whatever you are today...You can be anything you choose, regardless of what anyone says or does, and regardless of anything you have done or not done before."

Also, don't mistake arrogance or narcissism for self esteem. One study I heard of suggested that those with "high self esteem" were more likely to be intolerant of others different than them...not recognizing that to be so insecure or threatened by others different from themselves signals another sign of low self esteem.


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    • Verna MacKay profile image

      Verna E MacKay 5 years ago from Delray Beach, Florida

      Hi DreamsInBloom: You are correct in your article. Having low self esteem can be very unhealthy and in the long run causes you a lot of grief and pain. Knowing who you are and that you are worth something despite what others may say about you is important to your mental, physical and emotional well being. Being positive about who you are and not paying attention to negative thoughts because our minds often lie to us is important. Have a blessed day,

    • Winsome profile image

      Winsome 6 years ago from Southern California by way of Texas

      Hi DIB, these are very solid suggestions. I like finding something to like even in the lesser traits and seeing your own attributes in others. When I was in high school there was a very popular guy everyone admired. I had a dream once where he was being very clever and funny in front of our class and I was wishing I could be like that. When I woke up, I thought about it and realized that I was writing his material in the dream--the guy I admired was me! How funny we are sometimes. =:)