More and more, I’m hearing and observing that self-esteem can be a fragile thing. Maybe it’s our celebrity-obsessed culture. Maybe it’s social media where people can sometimes say things they wouldn’t say to someone’s face or put their real name to. Maybe it’s a colleague who thinks they’re Simon Cowell. Or a combination of these. Either way, that’s a crying shame. If your self-esteem has had a tough time lately here are some practical ideas to try:
- Start this one and keep coming back to it: write down all your successes, big and small. A gold star on some schoolwork. Making a great supper for your friends. Passing your driving test. Travelling solo to somewhere new. Stopping smoking. Getting your ‘A’ levels / degree / masters. If you’re feeling pretty down on yourself, you’ll need to come back to this as other successes surface and build up your list.
- Create a montage on your tablet, or collage on paper, full of images of you looking happy and generally enjoying life.
- Write down all your good deeds: showing a colleague how to use an application or program, helping someone with too many bags / children, sponsoring a friend’s charity run, donating CDs to the charity shop, doing voluntary work.
- Gather together all the great things people have said about you. It’s OK to start with a school report. You’ve probably got something positive if you trawl back through your appraisals. I got a text from a friend the other day that’s definitely a keeper.
- Throw out any clothes that make you feel too fat / thin, dated, tatty or not good in any other way. Get them to the charity shop (along with those CDs) where they will be able to do some good. Do some more good and buy yourself something whilst at the shop.
- If you’re running an inner soundtrack of, “I’m so rubbish at presentations /cooking / dancing / grammar”, you first need to stop and notice how often you’re doing that to yourself. Second, question whether or not your inner critic (we’ve all got one) has a point. Third, bring out your inner cheerleader to combat the critic. Finally, ask yourself, “What would a wise friend say?” – and if you’re unsure, ask a wise friend.
- Create a playlist that will lift your mood. For some reason there’s a Pharrell Williams track on mine right now…
You may also find this blog post useful: Stop shoulding on yourself!
Want to do some practical exercises to work on your self-esteem? I recommend Dr Melanie Fennell’s ‘Overcoming Low Self-Esteem’ book.