Improving Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is related to our self-evaluation, thoughts or feelings towards ourselves. It affects our physical and mental health in addition to our behavior and our relationships.

Generally speaking, success, failure and painful events that we experience, reduce our self-esteem. If our low-self esteem negatively affects our outlook, daily activities, work, familial and social relationships for a long time, then we have to do something to enhance our self-esteem and feel better.

An important point is that our own outlook towards ourselves may not be true all the time. When our self-esteem is hampered, we fail to see our own positive sides and qualities. High self-esteem is primarily based on a positive outlook and evidence-based evaluation, which is affected by the difficult experiences in childhood, failures, and family and school environment.

Therefore, to enhance our self-esteem in some instances we need to change our outlook:

  • If low self-esteem started due to negative events or unfavorable situations, note down the date, time, and describe the incidents their circumstances and the thoughts that developed due to these events. Evaluate whether such thoughts are based on evidence or not. If not, then more positive and realistic thoughts could be developed.
    For example, if a student has a thought "I am not good" or “my life is ruined" after a low score in the examination, then he could think “one examination does not evaluate all aspects of my personality” instead. In this way, you can change the way you criticize yourself after certain incidents or circumstances and enhance your self-esteem.
  • Sometimes you lose your self-esteem because of the unjustifiably high expectations from yourself and from others. Remember that you do not need to be successful always or at any cost.
  • Similarly, sometimes it is not justifiable to compare yourself with others as the comparison might be unfair. For example, when a student compares himself with the best student in the class the comparison may not be fair. People have different strengths in different areas.
  • If you fail, you can protect your self-esteem by having a positive thought such as “success and failure are integral parts of life, although I feel very bad right, now I can pull myself together.” Even though you make mistakes, rather than letting the thought “I am incapable” cross our mind, think “making mistakes is inevitable, however, I can also learn from them.”
  • If you experience negative thoughts, but approach them in a non-judgmental way, it may help too. At times, you need to forgive yourself for the mistakes you have made. As we forgive the younger people or other individuals for their mistakes and do not evaluate their personality on the basis of these mistakes, it is appropriate not develop such critical outlooks towards ourselves.
  • If your thoughts are negative without good evidence, then practice mindfulness, positive self-talk and other relaxation exercises to overcome them
  • If these tips do not improve your self-esteem and seriously affect your behavior and relationships, please seek professional help from a psychosocial counselor or a psychologist.

For more information please contact TPO Nepal.