You’ve probably heard a lot about the need to build self-esteem in children. But self-esteem (the ability to feel or think positively about yourself even if you sometimes make mistakes), is just as important for adults.
No matter how old you are, self-esteem can help you set and achieve goals and take setbacks in stride. Your circumstances can affect your self-esteem. That’s why it’s important not to assume that because certain things happened to you. You will always have ‘high’ or ‘low’ self-esteem.
Even if you’re having trouble feeling good about yourself, there are things you can do to strengthen your self-esteem.
Here are ten general tips to build self-esteem for building your self-esteem as an adult:
1. Get feedback
Many people lack confidence because they don’t know how much others admire them or appreciate their efforts. So you might start by talking to someone you trust and know very well, such as a close friend or a clergy member.
Ask questions like, “What do you see as my strengths?” or, “What are some of the things I could do to build on my strengths?”
2. Do something every day that makes you feel good
Feeling a lot better about yourself overall often begins with feeling a little better every day. Depending on your interests, you might exercise, listen to music, say a prayer or recite an inspiring poem, cook a wonderful meal, read a story to your children, or pursue a rewarding hobby in your less busy moments.
3. Get involved
Contributing to your community can be a very rewarding way to boost your self-esteem. For example, participate in weekend community clean-ups (National sanitation day on my mind… Lol). Joining a keep fit club in your community will create a sense of belonging whiles improving your health. You could also volunteer as a career guide to the adolescents in your community.
4. Take inventory
Identify negative thoughts or feelings that you experience about yourself as well as the situations that cause those feelings. Then determine a more positive way to react to those situations next time they occur.
Remember that self-talk affects the way you feel so be kind to yourself! Eliminate calling yourself names like “stupid,” “idiot,” or “loser.” For example, if you make a mistake at work and your supervisor brings it to your attention, instead of saying, “I’m such an idiot. How could I have been so stupid?”, say, “I made a mistake and I’ll learn from it.”
5. Set realistic goals
Building self-esteem takes time, and you may get discouraged if you don’t set a few goals that you know you can reach. It’s a good idea to have both short- and long-term aims.
Write your goals down or tell someone about them. Having a way to hold yourself accountable will provide an additional source of motivation to achieve your goals.
6. Keep track of your progress
Use a notebook, calendar or set up a system on your laptop or smart phone to record what you’ve accomplished. For instance, if you’d like to get more conscious about your health, write a list of healthy foods you’ll have to eat often, create an exercise schedule as well as list of junk foods to avoid eating. Then check off these things as you do them.
Take a look at your accomplishments periodically and keep adding to the list. Re-evaluate your goals and make changes as necessary to reflect your desired outcome.
7. Don’t look for ‘quick fixes’
Some experts suggest that people with low self-esteem repeat a phrase such as “I am fantastic” frequently. It can help to remind yourself of your strengths. But you know, just repeatedly calling yourself “Mr. fantastic” or “Wonder Woman” may not help if the problem is that you frequently get to work late or lack the skills needed to get raises and promotions at work. In such cases, you’ll also need to take some concrete steps to reach your career goals.
8. Associate with positive people
You will feel better about yourself when you’re surrounded by happy people who have positive energy. Minimize interactions with negative people. For example, try not to get dragged into long discussions with a family relative or co-worker who continually criticizes you and others.
9. Focus on your own unique set of strengths
Don’t compare yourself to others. Make a list of your positive qualities, strengths, and accomplishments. Read over your list and add to it often.
10. Develop a support system
In building or maintaining a support system of family and friends, it is helpful to talk with others who want to increase their self-esteem too. Consider joining a group of people who share some of your specific concerns, such as an organization for people who are separated or divorced. Such groups often have regular lectures or programs with titles like ‘Rebuilding Self-Esteem After Divorce’.
Adults with the five building blocks of self-esteem (a sense of security, a sense of belonging, a sense of identity, a sense of purpose and a sense of competence) accept responsibility for their own actions. They have tolerance and respect for others and are able to forgive themselves and others.
If you make an effort to stay confident, enthusiastic and project these qualities to others, you may begin to feel as good as you sound.