9 Powerful Strategies To Boost Your Self-Esteem Right Now!

high self-esteem means easy smiles

Have you ever been really, really low in your life?

Last Monday in the UK was considered by some media “experts” to be the unhappiest day of the year for many people.

With Christmas festivities a fading memory, credit card bills piling up and dark, cold evenings, these so called experts told their readers and listeners how to survive the ordeal of the day.

I guess some people do get down due to the weather and the dark evenings, but I wonder how many really hit rock bottom as a result.

I remember a few years ago when I hit rock bottom in my life. I had lost my job, my wife and I had just split up and the property I was renting only had a month to go before the rental agreement ran out.

That period was up till then the most painful point in my life.

The time when my father suddenly passed away was even more painful, but that’s a story for another day.

Now as most of my friends would agree, I am a very upbeat and confident guy. I have a can do attitude and I can move mountains when I put my mind to it. But at that time, I was shattered.

My self- esteem was in tatters and I just wanted the pain to go away and that period of my life to end.

I got through my pain by counting the days and months and before I knew it, six months had gone by and then another six months.

Within a short time, I had got my life back on an even keel and years later I look back at that period as the formative time that made me who I am today. I discovered life coaching, published four books and realised that actually I am a pretty good writer.

So what changed? And what got me through that painful period?

It all came down to my self-esteem. I continued to believe in myself and knew that I was much more than those circumstances.

Do you suffer from low self esteem? Or are you someone who really believes in themselves?

Having positive self esteem makes you capable of meeting life’s challenges and allows you to consider yourself worthy of happiness.

When you have positive self-esteem, you feel great about yourselves and you go through life feeling that you can conquer anything that comes your way.

However, most of us suffer from simply feeling not good enough or lovable enough.

Most people dwell on their inadequacies and then wonder why their life isn’t working out. But focusing on your positive traits will immediately improve your chances of creating the life you desire and deserve.

So here’s the thing to understand, learn and accept – you can stop putting yourself down from this very moment!

You can’t develop high self-esteem if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.

Looking back at that bleak time in my life, apart from taking focussed action and doing what I knew I just had to do, I also applied some simple principles which I know really shifted me from that dark place.

Today, I am glad and I guess I am also a little proud to share my key lessons to build up your own self esteem.

So as 2011 unfolds, bear in mind my 9 powerful ways to boost your self- esteem:-

1. Look at your Past Successes and Achievements.

Make a list of 25 things you have done. Then list another 25. These don’t have to be major achievements for you to acknowledge yourself and can include things like learning to ride a bike, passing your driving test, getting promoted and so on.

When feeling low, remember the times when you were proud of what you did, and the times you were praised. Close your eyes and recreate the feeling of satisfaction and joy you experienced when you first attained each success.

2. Think of at least 10 Positive Qualities of which you are Proud.

For instance – are you reliable? Honest? Helpful? Imaginative?

Write these on some brightly coloured paper and stick up where you will see it regularly such as on your mirror, office wall or the fridge door.

Read it at least once every day.

3. Get Feedback from other People.

Do you know what people close to you really think of you?

Ask 5 people who know you well to write down your top 5 perceived strengths. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised!

4. Stop Comparing yourself with other People.

There will always be some people who have more than you and some who have less.

Instead, observe positive confident people around you and copy their traits and instil into your life. For example, for every negative thought about yourself, think of a positive one.

5. Review your Negative Beliefs.

Are your beliefs about you really true?

Once you believe something, you tend to filter out any evidence that would disprove this belief, so they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Actively look for evidence to disprove your negative beliefs.

Ask yourself – is this belief helpful to you? Where did this limiting belief come from? What would you rather believe instead?

Create a new empowering belief. What would be the benefits of the positive belief?

6. Begin to Accept Yourself as you are.

Look in the mirror every morning and say “I love and approve of myself”.

This may seem awkward but keep going until you can look yourself in the eye and you mean what you say.

Use such affirmations to boost yourself in other ways. On the back of a business card or small index card, write out a statement such as “I like and accept myself just the way I am” or “I approve of myself”.

Carry this card with you and repeat the statement several times during the day, especially at night before going to bed and after getting up in the morning.

Whenever you say the affirmation, allow yourself to experience positive feelings about your statement.

7. Immerse Yourself in Positivity

Listen to motivational tapes and read positive, self development books.

Whatever thoughts you allow to dominate your mind will eventually take root and affect your behaviour.

Set aside time every day for personal development.

8. Help someone in Need

Do something good for somebody else, even if it is simply helping an elderly person cross the road.

Doing things for others will make you feel better about yourself, put matters into perspective and automatically create self esteem.

9. Mix with Positive, Upbeat People

Associate with people who energise you and appreciate your positive points.

When you are surrounded by negative people who constantly put you down, your self-esteem is lowered.

Conversely, when you are accepted and encouraged, you feel better about yourself.

The Way Forward

No matter where you are now in your life, know that things will get better and a more positive outlook will make a huge difference.

Then one day you too can look back, wonder what all the fuss was and appreciate all the key lessons you learnt.

If I can do it, so can you.

Apply these tips, and one day soon, before you know it, you will be brimming with positive self esteem and confidence.

And of course, remember to smile:-)

images courtesy of BozDoz and Jamiesrabbits

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  1. Not comparing yourself to other people is key to feeling better about yourself… for me, that’s what led me to be depressed for a long time. I would look at other ppl’s successes – their high paying job, their long lasting relationships, their busy social life… and I’d compare them to my achievements, and just felt bad. Now, I know the only person I should compare myself to… is myself. All that matters is meeting my own expectations.

    • Henway, spot on! The only person you can only compare yourself with is you and how great you can be.

      There will always be someone doing “better” than you, so let go of all comparisons – and become present to your own greatness.

  2. Alex Blackwell says

    To your point Arvind, this can be a difficult time of the year. Your post has shed some much-needed light on my day – thank you my friend.


  3. I actually felt alright on that day! Shows how much they know 😉

    Great read Arvind, you’re a true inspiration and shining light for others 🙂

  4. Holly at Whollyholly says

    Nice post Arvind. It his all the key points of dealing with a negative self-esteem, and gives simple ways to alter them.

  5. Holly at Whollyholly says

    Hey, how do I install a pic in the thumbnail?

  6. I totally agree with #5 reviewing negative beliefs. One of the most powerful things I’ve ever done for myself is to take up meditation. It forced me to look at how I feel and why I feel that way. I had feelings and some totally out of wack beliefs that I had no idea even existed.

    It’s hard, darned hard to confront those feelings and put in some good stuff in place of them. It’s something that I struggle with every day, but had I not taken that honest look at how I thought first I think I’d still had all of that junk dragging behind me and making me miserable.

    That’s how #7 came in for me, immersing myself in positivity. Junk in, good stuff out. It’s made my life a lot better to chose to study positive things and confront the bad things.

    • Laura, welcome to my blog!

      Thanks for sharing about your personal journey – I too took up meditation during the time above when everything seemed to be falling apart.

      Becoming self-aware of why you do the things you do and why you feel the way you do is a key step towards becoming inwardly happier. And then feeling more positive generally is a natural progression.

      Wishing you all the best on your journey of self-awareness of positivity in 2011:-)

  7. Great, it works:-)

  8. Hi Arvind,

    It’s interesting… I think sometimes I have high self esteem in some areas and low in others. How does that make sense?

    Maybe because it ends up being related to how I think other people see me, which might be different in one context than another.

    I do find that when I can touch back in with myself (or my self), esteem is not an issue. (I think this matches most with your #6.) But I just realized that this makes great sense because by definition, self-esteem is how we are held in esteem by ourselves, right?

    Thanks, Arvind!

    • Hi Patti,

      Good to see you here again – thanks for submitting your blog for analysis by Leo on Friday:-)

      Interesting point you raise about having high self esteem in some ares and low in others. Maybe we feel that we are just “better” in some areas and not so good in others. Ot as you say it could be how we perceive other people see us in certain areas.

      Ultimately it comes back to us approving and accepting ourselves fully, “warts” and all.

      Wishing you all the best for 2011.

      PS At what point do we stop wishing people all the best for the New Year?!

  9. Fascinating post, Arvind. I’m with you on all these points,
    It’s hard to ‘not compare’ ourselves with others, I find. As a blogger who wants to be taken seriously I have to force myself to stop comparing – it achieves nothing positive. So instead, I try to learn from the more experienced bloggers and to believe that every day, I’ll get better and better…
    It helps having a blogging mentor… emmm, thanks Arvind!

    • Linda, you are most welcome:-)

      Leo Babuata and I started the blogging at the same time – Jan 2007. So just as well I am not comparing myself with his success!

  10. It also helps to stop “chasing” happiness and just BE. Give yourself choices in life so you never feel trapped or stuck.

    • Marnie, welcome to my blog.

      You are so right – in 2011, we can all learn to stop chasing happiness and just be.

      But easier said than done. Not everyone is free or able to make choices without feeling trapped or stuck.

      It comes back to developing high self-esteem, which is not based on external things.

  11. Holly at Whollyholly says

    It works! Thanks Arvind!

  12. I love the idea of a card with affirmations on it. I have an old habit of filling my wallet with small cards containing inspirational quotes, and abridged sutras or prayers that I’ve trained myself to pull out whenever I get a few moments.

    Building the habit when I feel good is great training for when I’m not feeling so great about myself. Because the habit kicks in when I’m feeling overwhelmed, a time when, left to my own devices I wouldn’t think about reading the cards.

    • Dave, great idea to read affirmation cards when you are upbeat and thereby creating a habit for when you are not so upbeat.

      I too carry affirmation cards in my wallet. And also have many in my head that I recall as necessary.

      Wishing you all the best for 2011:-)

  13. Just re-found you. So refreshing!
    My blog also seeks to uplift people, wherever they’re at in their lives. I’ve recently found out about Action For Happiness (https://www.actionforhappiness.org/) and will be spending the launch week (from 11th April) posting uplifting stories (true and fictional). If any of you out there have some happy-making words to add, do please send them to lunarsolargaia@gmail.com and I’ll send them out to the world :o).

    • Lunar, great to reconnect with you!

      Thanks for sharing that link for Action For Happiness. No doubt quite a few of my blogger friends will be actively involved:-)

      Wishing you all the best for 2011.

  14. Hi Arvind,
    Thank you for the tips..Another I would add to your list is to physically move your body. If one believes in the mind/body connection..when you are internally “stuck” a few external steps may release that feeling..and if those steps are in a new and different way (such as trying yoga instead of walking around the block) you may begin to think in a new and different way. And moving with someone who exudes positivity while you read your affirmation statements and smile..shoot..just imagine 🙂

    • Thanks Joy – physcial movement such as walking, running and dancing are great for boosting your self-esteem and seeing things in a new way.

      I went for a 2 hour walk in Regents Park in central London earlier on today – and felt rejuvenated, despite the cold. Being among nature brings us closer to our true self.

      Now to find someone busting with positivity for my next walk:-)

  15. Arvind

    Excellent tips. Thank You.

    If I may, would like to add 1 more to the 9 – “be ever so thankful for all you have, immerse yourself in humility – humility brings fulfilment – fulfilment leads to balanced self-esteem”

    • Thanks Vassan – and welcome back to my blog.

      I really like your 10th tip – it’s so important to be humble.

      And thanks too for those couplets – I just checked them out and they are full of ancient and eternal wisdom:-)

  16. Timo Kiander says

    Hey Arvind!

    I love this list. Especially points 1,4 and 5 resonate with me.

    You know, as an example of point #1, it is very important that everyone should create a list of their accomplishments.

    I compiled a list of my achievements just recently and all of a sudden I realized, that I have achieved quite a lot. And this for sure gave me a boost to my self-esteem.

    • Timo, thanks for your feedback and welcome to my blog.

      As you say, it’s very important to create a list of your accomplishments and constantly reminding yourself of all your goodness.

      Great that you are walking the talk and fully aware of your achievements and your greatness:-)

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