How to Build Self-Esteem

Over the past few months of social isolation I’ve taken on the task of trying some self-improvement since I have so much time to self-reflect. During this endeavour I have come across some tips for you here.

You need to name your values

We all know we have values and we can probably list off one or two that come quickly to mind, but have you ever sat down and wrote out a list of your most closely held values? It cam be surprisingly hard for some people to jot down a list of ten of values. It took me quite a few minutes to compile my list but once I was done I could say “yes, these are all important to me”.

Why it’s important to acknowledge you values is because sometimes our behaviours do not match up with our values. This doesn’t mean we’re bad people or hypocrites, just that the life we are currently living does not match up with what is important to us. If you’re working a 9-5 but you value independence and creativity, you might feel out of alignment. Living in accordance to your values is an integral part of creating and maintaining self-esteem, which can be done at any point in your life.

Why is this important? it’s because when you don’t live up to your values its like breaking a promise you’ve made to yourself. You wouldn’t feel very good about a friend if they always told you they were going to do something, but always did the opposite. It’s the same with yourself. If you value being truthful but find yourself constantly telling white lies, you’re not valuing yourself the way you deserve to. If you wouldn’t do that to a friend, so why would you do it to yourself? I never thought of myself as two different entities, but after reading several articles such as those from Mel Robbins and David Goggins to name a few, It does make sense and it is a helpful way to look at how you think of yourself and how you treat yourself.

We tend to be much harsher on ourselves and more negative with our thoughts than we’d ever be with our friends and colleagues. Why is that? It’s just as important to be kind to yourself as anyone else, yet it can be difficult to show yourself compassion. People always talk about self care but rarely talk about what true self care involves. I love a face mask as much as anyone but internal self care requires doing things that may be hard or unpleasant at first- but will benefit you in the long term. Sometimes that means addressing a health issue we’re putting off because “it’s not that important right now” or starting a healthier lifestyle to ensure we keep a high quality of life long after our 20’s. For myself, as silly as it sounds, a big self care move was finally ordering myself contacts. I have put off buying them because I told myself “it not that bad, I can get by without them”. This wasn’t something I couldn’t financially afford, I just couldn’t be bothered. If I had a friend who was going through their daily life unable to see I would not allow them to neglect something like their sight. I would be giving them the riot act about how they need to take care of themselves. So…why wasn’t I doing the same for myself?

What’s important to remember is you are not your thoughts. When you notice you are being unkind to yourself you should shut that narrative down. Just because you think something about yourself doesn’t make it true, and if it does happen to be true you are allowed to make mistakes and try to be better next time. It was a relief when I heard that many people tend to think negative thoughts about themselves, because that meant that I was normal and that clearly my thoughts weren’t always true. If the people I look up to as amazing individuals sometimes think negatively about themselves then these thoughts are definitely untrue most of the time. You need to be your own best friend and treat yourself the way you would treat a good friend.

It feels incredibly unnatural at first to be thinking about yourself as your own best friend, but it really does make a difference in how you begin to feel about yourself. If you’re interested in starting your own self-esteem journey I’ve linked some resources I have found to be very helpful.

How has your journey been? Tell me in the comments!


*this is by no means a comprehensive list, I plan on adding to the topic as I go*

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