10 Ways to Raise your Self-Esteem

by Ellwood Miller

In many parts of the world today, self-esteem and self-love are lacking, due to societal conditioning. Self-love is the most important component to cultivate if you want to improve your life. It helps you attract more money by feeling like you deserve it. It leads to healthier relationship dynamics. It makes one naturally inclined to do what's healthy for their body and mind. With that in mind, here are 10 ways to raise your self-esteem so that you can access these life-changing benefits.

10. Focus on things outside of yourself. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or animal shelter, for example. Perform acts of kindness, whether it's complimenting strangers or doing something nice for a loved one to show how much you care about them. DO NOT self-sacrifice. Self-sacrifice does no one any good and will only be detrimental to your self-esteem and relationships.

9. Exercise or learn a physical skill. Yoga, martial arts, rock climbing, wood working, archery, pottery; something that involves using your body and/or hands. This takes your focus off of what you look like and onto what your body can do, so it's a good exercise for those who have low self-esteem relative to their appearance, but it's also a good distraction from other issues. Also, physical activity releases endorphins.

8. Consider the people you surround yourself with. Do they treat you well? Having low self esteem may cause you to allow people to mistreat you. Consider setting boundaries or making new friends. If you're around too many people, get out in nature or spend some time alone in a peaceful place.

7. Ask yourself this question. "What would someone who loves their self do?" Listen to your intuition after you ask. Good times to ask this question include: when making a decision about what to eat, whether to say yes to an invitation or request. Make your wants and needs a priority.

6. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself. This can include little things about the way you look, the way your body functions, skills and things you're good at, and personality traits. You should find something in each of these categories to write down, unless there is one area in particular that is too painful to look at. Making this list should feel good. Even if you don't like the way you look, however, you should be able to find some details that you DO like. Write them down, no matter how small.

5. Examine your beliefs about yourself. You can do this by noticing and examining your thoughts about yourself, or you can talk to a therapist. If you want to do it yourself, you can research the process of shadow work. You'll likely feel worse before you feel better, although uncovering these beliefs can kickstart the process of releasing them, and discovering your beliefs is the first step in the next point of this list.

4. Replace negative self talk with positive self talk. Notice when you're thinking something negative about yourself, and immediately replace it with a positive thought. Don't be hard on yourself if you don't catch all your negative thoughts. This takes practice, and every little bit helps. You can also say positive things about yourself out loud. If you are prone to self-deprecating comments, for example, you could replace "I'm so stupid" with "I'm such a genius." You'll be saying it in a sarcastic way, but the more you say it, the more you'll believe it, eventually turning around the negative thought pattern.

3. Practice meditation that focuses your attention on the sensations in the body. You can find a guided meditation that focuses on grounding or breathing, for example.