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Positive Things to Do to Raise Self-Esteem

Updated on February 1, 2018

Three Ideas to Lift One's Spirits

I think there are so many times in our lives when things just aren't going right in our lives. Maybe those dreams and goals we had set for ourselves when we were younger aren't materializing the way we thought they would. Negative events may be occurring one after another, after another, like a snowball effect. We might be experiencing financial, relationship and health problems seemingly all at once. We might be experiencing one setback after another, and it feels as though our life is in some kind of detour mode and on hold from those original goals. Then those nagging questions start coming into our minds, and we may begin to question our worth in life, and in the overall scheme of things. Worse yet, our self-esteem becomes low and we may even begin to feel depressed and disgusted with life; we feel lost, and we begin to doubt if we can ever feel good about ourselves again. When we're feeling this way, this is the precisely right and perfect time to do something that will raise our self-esteem, and there are several ways to do this. Now granted, at first, the mere idea of doing anything to help ourselves feel more positive and better about our lives may seem completely foreign to us, but I can't emphasize enough just what powerful tools these are to get that self-esteem up and to feel good once more.

When I myself found myself at my lowest ebb and my self-esteem was sagging, I came across several self-help books that made a profound difference and turned by attitudes about myself around into a more positive outlook. To my mind one of the most influential authors around is Julia Cameron, author of dozens of books, but is better known for her book The Artist's Way and The Sound of Paper. Ms. Cameron is by no means the only author to suggest what is in her books, and that is to make a list of accomplishments one has already done in one's life, from the simplest to the grandiose. I have come to call such a list, "The Pat Yourself On The Back List".

The idea and concept behind this list, is to look back on one's life, reflect upon it, and start making a list of anything and everything one can think about that one has accomplished in life or aspects of your personality that makes you uniquely "you" and that you're proud of. In the beginning, you may only come up with ten things, and there's nothing wrong with that, however, the idea is to keep expanding it, and as time goes by you just may be surprised and come up with a hundred things to be proud of. To start, get one of those spiral notebooks and think of this book as the one you will write in all the positives you can think of that have occurred in your life. As an example, I have listed here a few of mine:

1}. I was an honors student throughout all my years in school.

2}. I won numerous science awards in elementary school.

3}. I was the only member of my family to go to college.

4}. I graduated Magma Cum Laude with a BA from college.

5}. I'm proud of my creativity--it's my bliss

6}. I'm proud that I have a diverse taste in music~~~~from Vivaldi to Coldplay

7}. I'm proud I taught myself computers a few years ago---it opened up a whole new world for me

8}. I love that I have an insatiable thirst for learning

9}. I love that I can take pleasure in simple things: a beautiful sunset; a new day to begin

again; that I can see, hear and speak; a flower, a tree............

10}. I'm proud of myself in that I have a creative imagination to inspire me to write stories.

11}. I'm proud of that my many of my short stories have been published.

12}. I love that I'm an accomplished cook--especially French cuisine

13}. I'm proud that I'm getting more sociable

14}. I'm proud that I can still maintain a child-like sense of awe about the world around me

15}. I'm proud of myself that I have had my photos published.

16}. One of my photos, appeared on the cover of a magazine and was later cited as best magazine cover of the


You see, it's really not that hard to do, as I've already said, you might only be able to list only a few things at first, but you just might be amazed, that if you keep adding to the list all the things you're proud of with yourself and the things you have accomplished in the past.

Now another great thing to do, to raise your self esteem is to list the things you are grateful for, and while this isn't exactly a new concept either, it was one of the highlights brought forth in both the book and the DVD of The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. In that same spiral notebook, start listing all the things you are grateful for, again from the seemingly simplistic to the more profound for as Joe Vitale suggests, that what you're grateful for at the present time, will not only raise your level of self-esteem and conscious awareness of what you already have, but will pave the way for more good in your life. As Mr. Vitale says in The Secret:

..."As soon as you start to feel different about what you already have, you will start to attract more of the good things. More of the good things you can be grateful for. You could look around and say, "Well, I don't have the car I want. I don't have the house I want. I don't have the spouse I want. I don't have the health I want." Whoah! Back up, back up! Those are all the things you don't want. Focus on what you already have that you're grateful for. And it might be that you have the eyes to read this." {page 77}

So again, every day, make it a point to list the things you are grateful for, here is an example of mine:

1}. I'm grateful for having a home to live in.

2}. I'm grateful that I can see, that I can read books, watch TV, see a beautiful sunset, see the trees and flowers

3}. I'm grateful for my hearing; that I can hear the birds, a child's laughter, a friend's voice.

4}. I'm grateful for the clothes I have.

5}. I'm grateful for finally having my own computer.

6}. I'm grateful that I have food to eat.

7}. I'm grateful for my health.

8}. I'm grateful that I can walk.

9}. I'm grateful that I can talk.

10}. Most of all, I'm grateful for each day of new life.

See? It's really not so hard to do, and the list can be endless as far as I'm concerned. Along with making a list of things to be grateful for, I now started carrying around with me, what I call a "Gratitude Rock" an idea also expressed in The Secret by Lee Brower. The idea is to find a rock, any kind that has some meaning for you, maybe due to it's coloration, and it should be small enough that you can carry with you at all times. Before you go out on your daily errands or to work, place that rock in one of your pockets, and then, throughout the day, every time you touch that rock, mentally say something you are grateful for, as a little reminder that there is something good and positive in your life. It might even be the fact, that you are touching this Gratitude Rock while at work, and maybe it's not exactly the kind of work you want to do or are exactly happy with, but at least you can be grateful, for at the time being you do have a job for the time being while so many are out of work.

The third thing to raise one's self-esteem, is the concept of nurturing oneself and this too was a concept initiated in Julia Cameron's book, The Artist's Way. Now of course, she is presenting this concept mainly toward artists, yet one doesn't have to be an artist to appreciate this self-love gesture to oneself.

..."The essential element in nurturing our creativity lies in nurturing ourselves.." (Julia Cameron, page 43-The Artist's way)

The idea behind this is to give oneself permission to nurture ourselves. So many times we're so busy nurturing others that we forget to do so ourselves, to be kind to ourselves. The idea of nurturing oneself may actually be foreign to many, for we are so busy trying to do for others and rarely do we do anything nice for ourselves--we usually wind up taking a back seat to our own needs---By nurturing I mean that at least once a week, one should become a little selfish. For instance, go out and buy some little "do-dah" that makes you feel good and lifts your spirits, and it doesn't have to be extravagant or expensive. It could be as something as simple as getting a packet of that favorite incense you love, buying that little teddy bear figurine you saw in the dollar store or treating yourself to a children's Happy Meal and get that cute promotional toy for the latest children's movie that is out--hey, I do that all the time! You don't even have to buy anything could be a well deserved time out by spending the day doing something you love doing---this could be anything from putting those headphones on and listening to music and doing nothing else, to snuggling up in your favorite chair and reading that book you've always wanted to read.

By doing even just one of these self-esteem boosters, one can rise up from the "woe-is-me" type attitude and realize, hey, life isn't so bad, is it? Also, by continuing to do any of one of these three ideas, but better yet, all of them at the same time and on a regular basis, one's life will make a turn around, and pave the way not only a better sense of self esteem and value in one's life, but will also pave the way for more good to enter in it, since your mind frame is on a more positive level.

A small listing of books that have the "Pat Yourself on the Back" and gratitude concepts:

1}. The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron

2}. The Sound Of Paper by Julia Cameron

3}. The Success Principles by Jack Caufield

4}. Wishcraft: How to Get What You Really Want by Barbara Sher

5}. The Secret by Rhonda Byrne

Positive Visualization Tool~The Secret


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    • oneinajillian profile image

      oneinajillian 7 years ago from So.Cali

      thank you for sharing this! i know that i often forget to remember the positive things and instead focus on the negative. nurturing oneself (not spoiling) is a great idea.

    • profile image

      Pam S 7 years ago

      Everyone could use this. I needed this. Thank you

    • profile image

      Amy W. 8 years ago

      Thank you so much for "The Secret" Video.It meant a lot to me and I will send it to my family in our time of need!You are very much appreciated!!

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 10 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      A Pat in the Back....I like that! We all need a pat in the back every so often. :-)