5 Ways to Boost Your Self Esteem.
What is self esteem?
If you have healthy self esteem, it means you feel good about yourself. You value yourself, recognize your flaws and understand your worth but at the same time not downgrading or looking down on someone else.
If you have an extremely high esteem, it means you feel superior ( like a god like kind of feeling). You want everyone to do your bidding because you feel you’re better than them.
With this, we can conclude that a healthy self esteem is the best. Unfortunately, there are many people who don’t have a healthy self esteem. I used to be one of them.
My childhood wasn’t really fun. I suffered from low self esteem. I cannot remember ever being confident as a child. I was very sensitive, timid and particularly concerned about what everyone else thought of me.
First, my parents were always fighting and quarrelling. Secondly, I was being molested— quite frankly, that’s more than enough reason to suffer from low self esteem. I couldn’t tell my parents since I realized that they both had their struggles neither did I tell anyone because I really had no one to talk to. All I did was shut down and keep to myself — a loner was what I was.
This didn’t mean I wasn’t friendly to those I was used to (family), it just made me pretty secretive and not eager to make new friends. I preferred to be alone. I was 5 at the time and not longer after, my dad abandoned us.
By the time I was in secondary school (boarding school), my low self esteem became worse. I had friends quite alright but I always felt I didn’t belong. It seemed they were all from very well to do families and I wasn’t.
I wanted to belong so bad that I began to lie and steal. When the other kids would talk about their vacations to various countries, I would listen attentively so I could make up mine.
They always had cash to flaunt and I felt so bad and out of place. My mum tried her best. She did all she could but she could not afford to give me any money. Heck! She couldn’t afford the fees, my Uncle (her immediate older brother) took care of that. The school gave us food and snacks (which we paid for)— I was supposed to be contented but I wasn’t. I wanted to be like the cool kids so I delved into stealing.
I normally felt bad when I did but I always justified myself by telling myself that I needed it— that I deserved to have it and that it wouldn’t matter to any of the kids I stole from because their parents would still send to them anyway.
Eventually, I got caught— first for stealing, then for lying. I can’t really remember what it was I stole but I was flogged and punished. It only made my self esteem lower. Suddenly, I was treated like a plague. Whenever something was missing, I could feel eyes starring even when I was innocent. My self esteem only depreciated.
As for lying, I got caught when my baby sister got into the same school. She had no idea I had lied about my vacations and material things I never had. My mates called her aside and began to question her. She told them everything— I was busted! To top it up, they set a trap for me. They asked me what colour my passport was and I replied, “black and white!” There was an uproar, one of laughter and mockery.
Thing is, I had no idea what an international passport was like. I thought it was a passport photograph, so when they asked me, I just assumed it was black and white. At this point, I don’t think I had anymore self esteem. I just wanted to die! I wept uncontrollably. In the midst of it all, there were still some nice people who came to console me.
I was so ashamed of myself but somehow I managed to move on. This happened in the last semester of my fourth year in secondary school. After that semester, my mum changed our school to a cheaper one because of finances. Things weren’t going quite well for my uncle so the budget had to reduce. She had no idea what had happened but boy, was I glad that I was finally leaving that school. It was like God wanted me to make peace with myself and those I had hurt before leaving. It felt great.
However, that experience marked the beginning of something new. I had to come clean with myself. I had to stop living and believing a lie. I wasn’t going to carry that baggage into my new school. I needed to be better. I needed to be confident about myself, I had to figure it out and I did.
What did I do? How did I go about it? Allow me to introduce to you 5 ways to boost your self esteem:
Change your mindset
There are several things that can be responsible for having a low self esteem. Regardless of what these factors may be, you have the sole responsibility to decide how much effect they can have in your life. What this means is that you can decide to let them haunt, taunt and define you or you can silence them.
How do you silence them? By not allowing them rule your life. Agreed, you messed up or people look down on you, or bad things have happened to you — you have the right to prove them wrong. You have the right to be better. You need to have a positive mindset. Decide not to be defined by your pain instead get inspiration from it. Look for the positive in the negative. Strive to be better. Change your mindset to a positive one.
This was the first thing I did. I began to feel good about myself instead of feeling sorry. I stopped letting my past define me. I began to appreciate myself. The more I did, the happier I felt. I felt contented and wanted to make friends. My love for God increased too. I felt empowered. It changed me completely.
Loving yourself is one of the best things you can do for yourself. When you are suffering from low self esteem, one of the things you are likely going to find yourself doing is wallowing in self pity. This often leads to prolonged sorrow and depression. You don’t need to that to yourself. Love yourself. Appreciate who you are. Love your body the way it is if that’s what you’re ashamed of. Many times, the things you don’t like about your body are the things someone out there admires. Do you feel out of place because your family doesn’t have so much? Don’t! Appreciate their effort. Embrace yourself and accept who you truly are.
Take up new challenges from time to time. Attempt to get better in aspects you aren’t so good at. Try getting better at a skill or learn a new skill. Create new ideas. Improve yourself. Challenge yourself to become a better person.
In my own case, I got closer to God. I made more friends. I began to express myself and voice out my opinions. I also began to not worry much about what people thought of me. What mattered to me was being true to who I really was.
Be kind to yourself
In the process of challenging yourself, you might make a few mistakes— that’s totally fine. Don’t hit yourself too hard or tag yourself a failure. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself a pat on the back and say, “Weldone. You’ve tried but you can do better.” Learn to encourage yourself.
Stop comparing yourself to others
In this age of social media and photo shopped pictures, it is tempting to constantly compare yourself to others — don’t! You’re likely going to develop low self esteem if you do. There’s no need for that.
You need to realize that people will always put up their best not their failures. Understand that most pictures are heavily filtered or photoshopped therefore things are not always what they seem. As a matter of fact, most people are trying to make an impression because they are suffering from low self esteem! Remember me? The lies I told for recognition and the things I stole so I could belong? Sadly, that’s the life of many people.
Even if there are people who genuinely have and are flaunting, fine. Let them be them while you be you. Be true to you. You aren’t on the same journey. You don’t have the same timeline. Never think less of yourself. Be contented with what you have and be grateful.
At the end of the day, I’m grateful for where I am today. No one taught me these—I figured it out myself. I was 14 when I decided to change my mindset. If I could do it, what could possibly hinder you from doing so?
Have you suffered from low self esteem before? Are you suffering from it presently? Share your experience. Drop your comments.