Overcoming Your Former Self: Small Steps Toward Self-Esteem

Contributed by Paisley Hansen

When analyzing the driving factor behind your decisions, there is one common denominator that many people overlook: self-esteem. Self-esteem is a reflection of your perceived value. If you do not have a positive self-image, your motivation to achieve great things diminishes. Because of this, it is important to work on empowering yourself to better actionize your goals.

People suffering from low self-esteem are probably wondering “where do I start?” in regards to feeling worthy. The key to improving self-esteem is to gradually take steps towards repairing a negative self-image. Over time, these seemingly small steps will become a habit and create a greater self-worth.

1. Understand Where You Are
The first step to bettering self-esteem is to understand your current mentality. It takes courage to realize your negative thought patterns and honestly evaluate how you truly feel about yourself. Figure out what triggers your negative self-image so you can begin to change the narrative.

A great way to gauge your self beliefs is through journaling. You can write down your innermost thoughts and your entries will eventually reveal your current thought patterns. Journaling also helps you see the transition from your old mindset to a more positive outlook overtime.

2. Change the Narrative
After you’ve determined what causes your negative thought patterns, the next step is changing the narrative. Because your perception determines your actions, the story you’ve been telling yourself has to change to encourage a more positive thought process. A great way to reprogram your subconscious is through affirmations. Research indicates that repeatedly writing down positive personality traits even helps regulate depression.

If you suffer from lower self-esteem, initially believing affirmations can be challenging. To see realistic changes, begin with affirmations like “I am going to…” and fill in the blank. For instance, instead of saying “I am a millionaire”, saying “I am going to be successful in the near future” better motivates you to follow through with a goal.

3. Stop Comparing Yourself To Others
With millions of people regularly using social media, it can be easy to get caught up in comparison. Social comparison theory involves evaluating self-worth based on how one measures up to another. While this can sometimes be motivation to improve on minor insecurities, many cases have a negative impact. For instance, comparing yourself to a celebrity or someone with a large social media following can make you feel inferior and lead to self-destructive behaviors.

If you decide to use social media, instead of watching other profiles to bring yourself down, use their positive characteristics as motivation to improve yourself. Self-reflecting may also reveal that you’re a starchild, which allows you to embrace your individuality as a positive trait, especially since social media is used to promote perfection, not reality.

4. Learn To Accept Compliments
How receptive are you to positive feedback? Your ability to accept compliments has a direct correlation to your self-esteem. At times, this can stem from how much reassurance you received as a child. To overcome negative self-image, you must make a habit of accepting compliments from people, even if it initially makes you uncomfortable. Eventually, you will repel less compliments and create a cycle of positive thought patterns that inspire better decisions worthy of more compliments.

5. Developing your gifts
One of the greatest ways to improve your self-esteem is working on your talents. Most children have special skills, whether it’s sports, art, singing, or dancing. By working towards achieving your goals, you can focus on your positive aspects and use small triumphs to motivate you to accomplish greater goals, which causes even higher self esteem.

No matter where you are in life, it is important to embrace the positive characteristics you possess. Raising your self-image is a pivotal step in achieving your goals and dreams. Once you begin building up your self-esteem, there will be nothing you cannot accomplish.