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How to Slowly Build Your Self Esteem

Updated on January 15, 2011

It seems like you've had enough. You're tired of looking into the mirror and hating what you see. You're tired of people pointing out your flaws, criticizing, mocking, or just not paying you any attention. When it comes to our self-esteem, it can either make us or break us. How we perceive ourselves is how we believe others see us as well. If we think we have a flaw, we assume everyone else can see it too, even if that "flaw" is barely noticeable. It can be hard, and trust me, as a person who suffers from low self-esteem and depression, I would know better than anyone how it feels. But I also have been working on it, building up my confidence and self-image, and with a little bit of effort and knowledge, there's a good chance for you to pull yourself out of the hole you feel like you're on. The bottom line I'm trying to lay down is that you're worth something. No matter what anyone tells you, no matter what you think others think, you are worth something. And you owe it to yourself to feel like you are too.

The Plain Facts

Low self esteem has been scientifically studied, researched, observed, etc. There are misconceptions that people with low self esteem take their frustration out on other people because of what they feel inside. In reality, the opposite is true. People with low self esteem tend to treat themselves badly instead of other people. This means that you yourself will criticize and come down on yourself even when others don't. They feel inferior when talking to other people, will feel as if they don't deserve things, and if they make mistakes, will feel far more horrible than they deserve.

But it doesn't always have to be like this. At whatever age you are now, whether you be a teen or a middle aged adult, the choices you've made have led you up to this point. Regretful decisions may bring you down, but they shouldn't be the basis for your self-perception. Everyone makes mistakes. And so what if you've made more than others? It makes you smarter, more knowledgeable for the future. Self-esteem is built off of the accomplishments we have done, the confidence that grows within ourselves, the image that we see in the mirror. Your self-esteem swells after a great achievement or may shrink after embarrassing moments. At times it may fluctuate, but never should you let yourself sink below sea level. Never should you come down on yourself for mistakes you've made or opportunities missed. If you have low self-esteem, take it from someone who went through (and still goes through at times) what you're going through right now. Just because you don't feel good enough, doesn't mean that you aren't. These next steps are the first steps you should start taking towards slowly building your self-esteem. You owe it to yourself. Now it's time to start taking action.

Building Your Confidence

Like this kitten on the right, you only see in yourself what you feel about yourself. If you think something very strongly about yourself, it's very hard to ignore it. You will be reminded every time you look in a mirror. Those ideas about yourself, whether good or bad, will come to life in your own image. If you lack confidence in yourself, it's very easy to look at your reflection and only see the negatives. Well I say the hell with that. Your self-esteem starts with confidence and clarity in the person you are. And ways to build your confidence are endless. Some ways to achieve higher confidence are:

  • Set small goals for yourself each day and do your very best to achieve them. For example: "Today I'm going to work on my stomach muscles for thirty minutes". Follow through and keep track of all your accomplishments.
  • Drop the bad influences. If you have acquaintances that are constantly criticizing you for things you do, they are the ones you should stay away from. Constructive criticism is one thing. But constant criticism is just plain hurtful.
  • Make a list of the things you wish you could do if you had "high self-esteem". This tricks you into thinking of the possibilities of the unknown. You'd be surprised at what people say they would do with high self-esteem. Then once you have the list, you can begin to work on those goals.
  • Stop criticizing yourself. Not everything that happens bad is your fault. When all hell breaks loose and the world is about to end, all you have is yourself. Don't treat the one person who's been with you from the beginning like crap. You are your own best friend. Love yourself, care about yourself. Stop criticizing your mistakes.
  • Negative, shmegative. Stop looking at the negatives. If all you do is focus on the bad, then all you'll ever expect is the bad. Attempt to look at the positive of every situation, even if it seems stupid. Car break down? Hey, you needed the exercise, now start walking. Food poisoning from Burger King? You just landed yourself a lawsuit. Although those situations may seem dumb to be seen as positive, it all comes down to psychology. If we look for something wrong with a situation, we will find it. Even if there isn't anything wrong with a situation. So don't focus on the bad. Instead, focus on what can benefit you and leave the negative thoughts in the dust.

With Confidence, Comes The Real You

Sticks and Stones

Not everyone's going to like you. And vice versa. You're not going to like every person you bump into or meet in life. If your self-esteem stems from being constantly outcast, teased, or just plain ignored, you can think of this from many standpoints.

  • It doesn't matter what people say about you. Just because someone calls you a loser, says you don't do things right, it doesn't mean you instantly become whatever they say.
  • People ignoring you? Who cares, it's their loss. When you are rejected by someone or even a group, don't take it so personal. Think of it as their loss. Simple as that.
  • Just because you think something's wrong with you, doesn't mean everyone sees it as well. And just because someone else thinks there's something with you, doesn't mean it's true. Love yourself and don't look for the flaws. And if someone else looks for the flaws in you, they're not the type of people you want to surround yourself with in the first place.
  • Being popular is not all it's hyped up to be. Just because you don't have many friends doesn't mean there's anything necessarily bad about your personality or the type of person you are. People don't make who you are. You do. The whole world could be against you today, but it doesn't mean a damn thing. Live for yourself. Not for others.

It's going to be a tough road. Low self-esteem can lead to many other unwanted things like social withdrawal, anxiety, lack of confidence, doubtfulness in your own judgement. Even depression. And depression can lead into major health problems for you in the future. You don't deserve that. No one does. So why do this to yourself? I know a hundred percent, as you sit there reading this that you're worth something. And if anyone tells you differently, then they are not people you need in your life. Your self-esteem and confidence should be built upon the person you are, the things that you do in life. If you are kind, supportive, have all the qualities a good human being has, then you should have no reason to have low self-esteem. If your parents verbally or physically abuse you, if you're teased in school, ridiculed as an adult, taken as a joke at your job..all of these can have a major impact on your perception of yourself. If these problems seem to be spiraling out of control, then I highly suggest that you get a therapist of some sort. But you should still try some of the methods above to help you feel better about yourself and the person you are becoming. Trust me, you deserve it.


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    • Goodpal profile image

      Goodpal 7 years ago

      You have touched upon a topic needed by most but acknowledged by few. Good Tips and good selection of pictures. Thanks.

    • Syrusv37 profile image

      Anthony 7 years ago

      Thank you DNemesis, I appreciate the feedback. I hope you enjoyed the Hub :D

    • DNemesis profile image

      DNemesis 7 years ago

      Nice hub. Keep your chin up, walk with your head straight up---instead of looking like you're hiding from society in crowded places, walk with a sense of pride.