5 ways to improve self-esteem

Sometimes, life feels pretty rotten. It might seem like you’re constantly juggling everything and trying to stay afloat. But did you know that everything is easier when you improve your self-esteem? When life gets tough, it’s easy to blame yourself for everything. That’s low self-esteem for you! If you want to climb out of this mire and start feeling positive again, here are five ways to improve your self-esteem.


How to improve your self-esteem

1. Celebrate yourself

To improve self-esteem, celebrate yourself. What do I mean by this? Well, guess what? You’ve survived so far. Here you are! You beautiful human being. How did you get to where you are now? I’m willing to bet you learned a load of stuff, worked hard and here you are. What have you learned? Do you have any certificates or awards? Even if it’s second place in the egg and spoon race when you were six, go ahead and count it. Make a list. Every little accomplishment. Write it down. 

Even if it’s that you made someone smile! Especially if you made someone smile! Do you know the value of that smile? They move like ripples in the water, spreading from one person to the next. It really is magical.

Oops, off on a tangent! Yes, make a list. Add to it. Keep it somewhere you can see it often. Read through it every day. Feel proud of what you’ve achieved. Self-esteem isn’t about what other people think. It’s about you celebrating you, you wonderful thing.

2. Stop comparing yourself to others

Another way to improve self-esteem is to stop comparing yourself to others. I know it’s hard. Growing up, learning at school to always compare how you’re doing with everyone else in your class. It’s not healthy - it never was. Life is not a competition. But purely by reading this, you’re winning you know?!

Every person has their own bucket full of experiences that form how they live their lives. No bucket has the same combination of experiences - that’s impossible. Even twins have different experiences - all it takes is for one to look the other way, and at that moment in time, each is experiencing something different. So while one might be looking at a bird in a tree and feeling in awe of its beauty, the other might be watching something horrible on the TV that makes them feel afraid. At that moment, they each put their experiences into their buckets, and voila! Different buckets!

Why am I talking about buckets? Well, comparison is pointless when you can’t view the world from everyone else’s perspective. So you see them over there with their fancy car and you imagine how you would feel, based on your bucket of experiences - extravagant maybe? But that person with the fancy car has lived a different life. And in fact, the car is really part of the job that they hate, so they’re not that bothered about the car at all. But there’s you, thinking they’re extravagant.

Instead of comparing yourself to others, stay in your own magical lane. Decorate it however you want and carry on living your life, your way!

3. Bite your tongue 

A way to improve self-esteem is to bite your tongue. Not in the literal sense of course! By this, I mean, stop yourself from saying those hurtful words about yourself in front of others. All those times you call yourself stupid, clumsy, ugly, fat. Listen to what you say about yourself. Then stop. Make sure the words you speak about yourself are only compassionate, kind words. I know it’s hard if you’re used to thinking of yourself in this way. It’s not your fault, sugarplum! 

Unfortunately, our brains remember the bad stuff more than the good stuff. So any comments you received as a child from parents, teachers, ‘friends’, will stick to you like glue. But if you move away from those hurtful words by choosing not to think of yourself in that way, eventually the glue will dry up and peel away. Just like it used to, on the palm of your hand at school!

Bite your tongue if you feel like criticizing yourself. But try really hard to think in a different way. How can you turn this around and say something good about yourself? Instead of ‘I’m just too clumsy’, how about, ‘Wow, I’m so powerful my super magic powers blasted that glass off the table!’ Or something like that.

4. Accept compliments gracefully

This one is surprising in a way. Improve self-esteem by accepting compliments gracefully. What?! Well, believe it or not, if you struggle to accept compliments, it’s likely that you don’t believe you deserve them. 

So when someone says ‘Wow, you did really well then.’ I bet you’re more likely to say ‘No, it’s nothing - anyone can do that.’ 

Or something like that. Because accepting the compliment means you believe you’re good enough to receive it. It may also draw attention to you, making you feel like a fraud. This one is common in imposter syndrome. But it comes from low self-esteem. 

It takes practice, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had to learn it myself! Accepting a compliment gracefully means simply saying ‘Thank you!’ and smiling. It might feel uncomfortable at first if you’re not used to it. But it does get easier over time. Then eventually, you actually start to believe that you are worth it after all!

You are doing such a fantastic job of reading this blog! Congratulations, we’re nearly at the end! (Now say ‘Thank you,’ and smile).

5. Set boundaries

To improve self-esteem, set boundaries. No, I don’t mean put a fence up in your garden. Boundaries are something that we are not taught, but we all should be!

There are boundaries for different scenarios, so here are a few from @selfworkco on Instagram:

Time: Making sure others know your limits when it comes to time in your schedule. ‘I’m not sure I can commit right now, can I check my diary and get back to you?’

Emotional: Expressing how you feel about certain types of behaviour . ‘I love you, but I will not tolerate this type of behaviour from you.’

Intellectual: Discussing your thoughts and opinions but not feeling like you have to agree with everything someone says ‘I can respect that we have different opinions on this - let’s agree to disagree.’

Setting boundaries means saying no more often. Or saying yes, on my terms. Other people do it, so why shouldn’t you? You have every right to set boundaries like anyone else - we’re all human after all.

So now you know how to improve self-esteem. There are some amazing organizations doing work in schools across the UK to help young people learn about self-esteem and how to boost theirs. Check out The Self-esteem Team on Facebook for more information.

For the rest of us, all we can do is work on our own self-esteem. Little by little. If you want to learn more about how and when self-esteem develops, come along to my online group hypnosis session. There I explain all about it and you get to take away a hypnosis session that you can listen to again and again! Or maybe you’d like to work on your self-esteem privately as a one-to-one client?

The views expressed in this article are those of the author. All articles published on Hypnotherapy Directory are reviewed by our editorial team.

Share this article with a friend
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5
Written by Sarah Fish, MSc Dip.HSH GQHP CNHC (Stress, Anxiety, Cravings, ASD, ADHD)
Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire, ST5

Sarah Fish is passionate about helping her clients overcome whatever is holding them back, so they have the freedom to live joyfully! Her sessions take place online or in person in Newcastle-under-Lyme, Staffordshire. She specialises in anxiety, phobias and habits, but she's trained in so much more! Visit linktr.ee/sarahm_fish for more information.

Show comments

Find a hypnotherapist dealing with Low self-esteem

All therapists are verified professionals

All therapists are verified professionals