Do you like yourself? Do you feel you’re not good enough or that no-one likes you?
If so, you could be suffering from low self-esteem. Blaming yourself for things that aren’t actually your fault; feeling guilty for spending time or money on yourself; feeling like you don’t deserve to be happy – these are all symptoms of low self-esteem and can hold you back from living the life that you want and deserve. It’s like there’s a voice inside your head, making you doubt everything you do. If this sounds like you, have a look at these helpful hints to improve your self-esteem.
Figure out what is affecting your self-esteem
It can be different for everyone, but you may feel this way because of:
Whatever the cause, try to remember that you – just like everyone else - have the right to feel good about yourself. It can be difficult to break old habits, but there are steps you can take to improve how you feel.
Don't put yourself down
That voice in your head is telling you not to bother, and belittling anything you do. Learn to challenge those thoughts and beliefs. Talk to yourself the way you would to a family member or friend – with positivity and support.
It’s all too easy to compare yourself with others and think you are lacking somehow. But what you see of other people’s lives is often a distorted reflection of the truth. Remember – the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence! This is particularly true of what you see on social media - everything is edited, photo-shopped and altered to create a perfect image, so don't waste any time wondering why you aren't perfect too!
Don’t put pressure on yourself to be perfect – no-one is, no matter how it might look that way from the outside.
Connect with people who care about you
Make a deliberate effort to spend more time with people who love and care about you and treat you well. This can help you to feel good about yourself and quiet that negative voice in your head. Avoid people who make you feel bad about yourself - you don't need that in your life.
Ask people who care about you what they like about you – they probably see things in you that you don’t realise yourself.
Take care of yourself
If you have low self-esteem, you may feel guilty about spending time or money or effort on yourself. But these things are really important to your well-being, physically and mentally. Encourage yourself to take care of yourself. Give yourself little treats and put aside a little time each week just for you – whether that’s going for a run, having a massage or just watching your favourite film.
You ARE worth it, you ARE important, you DO matter.
Look after yourself.
I’ve been there, I know how it feels: your heart races, you feel sick, you find yourself over-checking and overthinking everything, unwilling to try something new in case it might go wrong.
So here are a few pointers on how to deal with those feelings when they strike, and how to manage your anxiety. These tips are gentle actions that you can do yourself, that won’t make you feel like you’re stepping off a cliff into the unknown!
Work out what is making you nervous
When you find yourself awake in the middle of the night in a panic, try to take your time to think about everything that's going on in your life. Often it’s just a few normal things that have built up to the point where they're stressing you out. Just realising what they are can help you acknowledge that they aren’t really worth all that stress at all, or can help you identify a solution.
Write it down
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed if there are lots of things going on and you feel out of control. Just try writing it all down – keeping a notebook by your bed, in case you get that feeling in the middle of the night, can help unload it from your mind and let you get back to sleep, knowing you can tackle it in the morning. Having everything itemised can also help you see what is important and what isn’t and you can probably scrub a few things from the list completely!
One of the things I teach clients in my therapy room is deep breathing techniques to help calm anxiety and clear the mind. Try breathing in for a count of five, then out again for the same count, and do this five times. You will find that this simple exercise calms you down, lowers your heart rate, and helps you focus on something simple, instead of all the busy thoughts in your head.
Although you might feel more like curling up under the duvet, try going outside and taking a walk. You can listen to your favourite music along the way, maybe walk through the park and enjoy the birdsong and the flowers. And the physical exercise will help to calm your mind.
Remember - these feelings will pass
When you are in the midst of these anxious feelings and this panic, it can feel like it will last forever, I know. Just remind yourself that, whenever it has happened before, you have always got through to the other side and felt OK again. And you will be OK again this time, I promise.
Go easy on yourself
If you normally say to yourself “I shouldn’t worry about what others think of me” or “I should be more sociable” you will just increase your anxiety. Talk to yourself as you would to a friend, with empathy. Instead of “should” or “shouldn’t”, try saying for instance “I would like to be more outgoing”, and think about how you might achieve that, instead of putting pressure on yourself.
Change your behaviour and you'll change
My name is Tina Taylor and I run Life Hypnotherapy 1-2-1, a hypnotherapy practice in Hull.