I think it’s safe to say that everyone gets knocked down in life sometimes.
When things happen, like breakups, firings, and failures, your self-esteem can take a hit – badly!
Sometimes, you don’t even realize how bad your self-esteem has gotten. But once you do, all you want to do is get yourself better – trust me, I know!
The trick is knowing where to start…
If your self-esteem is holding you back, saying goodbye to these 8 behaviors is the first (and best!) place to start.
1) Talking negatively to yourself
Never underestimate the power of positive self-talk! Talking trash to yourself is one of the worst things you can do for your self-esteem.
Many experts have studied the impact of negative self-talk and found that it’s really, really bad for you.
It can lead to anxiety, stress, and depression. It can even lead to relationship problems and reduced success in life!
So if you suffer from low self-esteem, this is the first habit to nip in the bud.
Start by repeating a few positive affirmations about yourself several times a day. Then move on to identifying when you’re talking badly to yourself, and stopping those thoughts in their tracks!
It’ll take some time to eradicate them entirely, and some may still creep in on occasion. But continuing with this each day can certainly make you feel a whole lot better about yourself!
2) Self-deprecating in front of others
You’ve probably met a ton of people who self-deprecate for the sake of a good laugh. And I’ll be the first to admit that it can be pretty funny!
But there’s a fine line between making jokes about yourself and criticizing yourself. Self-deprecating humor sits on that line very uncomfortably.
Which is why if you’re already struggling with your self-esteem, making these kinds of “jokes” in front of other people probably isn’t a good idea.
If they don’t react the way you want them to, it can make you feel even worse about yourself.
Like if they don’t laugh at what you’ve said or defend it. Or worse, if they agree with you or attempt to comfort you (somewhat patronizingly!) about it.
So if you know your self-esteem isn’t operating at 100%, try to hold fire on any self-deprecating comments. Even though it’s supposed to be funny, you might not be the one left laughing…
3) Seeking validation/confirmation all the time
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, everyone needs validation sometimes!
I couldn’t imagine anything worse than being in a relationship with someone who never validated me one single time. Or having friends who just never, ever did it!
That being said, you still need to get some (if not, most) of your validation from within.
No one is going to tell you that everything you’re doing is OK. Or that you look good in every outfit. Or confirm that every decision you make is the right one.
When you have low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into the habit of seeking confirmation on all these things. And feeling like you can’t do it if you don’t get the confirmation you need/want…
If you do this more than you should, start making a conscious effort to notice when you’re doing it – and stop.
You can even stop yourself mid-sentence if it helps. Or tell someone not to answer that question after you’ve already asked it.
Whatever works for you – as long as you cut out this behavior!
4) Asking questions you know the answers to
It’s good to ask questions. Asking questions is one of the best ways to learn, after all!
But there’s a difference between asking questions to improve your knowledge and asking questions to confirm it. Here’s what I mean.
I remember in the past texting my friends after we met up to ask if they had a good time (cringe!). I even used to ask if we were still best friends (even bigger cringe!).
I already knew they did and we were. But for some reason, I felt like I needed to ask and ask and ask…
Seeking answers to questions like this, when you already know the answer, isn’t good for your self-esteem. It makes you look insecure as well as feel it!
What I should’ve done (and what you should do if you do this) is trust that they’re telling the truth (i.e., they had a good time).
I also should’ve done a better job of convincing myself that I was worthy of their friendship. So I didn’t repeatedly ask them if it was still true…
5) Doing nothing all day, every day
We all love a lazy day. And lazy days are actually good for us!
Especially if you’re an introvert like me, you’ll know there’s nothing better than cozying up in your comfies and relaxing at home all day long!
But if the above is something you do every day, every evening, every weekend, and every vacation day, this is when things cross the line.
Experts say that a lack of sunlight, fresh air, and just being outdoors is super bad for your self-esteem. It can also make you feel like you lack purpose in life.
So if you’re in the habit of spending all your time doing (nearly) nothing, cut it out if you want to find more happiness in yourself!
Try a new hobby, make plans with friends, join a gym, or just get outdoors for a quick walk. Stay consistent with it and it can boost your self-esteem in no time!
6) Neglecting your health and fitness
Everyone knows it’s important to live a healthy lifestyle if you want to be in good shape physically. Most people know it’s also good for your mental health, too.
But I know how easy it is to forget those facts when you’re feeling low!
So let’s just quickly recap what the experts say.
Exercising for just 30 minutes every day can reduce stress, improve cognitive function, boost your mood, and make you feel better about the person you are.
If you’re feeling low about yourself, I’m sure you already know that neglecting your health and fitness probably isn’t helping.
But I know how hard it is to motivate yourself to get moving, drinking water, and eating well when you feel flat – even though you know it’s good for you.
What helps me is to think about the last time I exercised or even cooked a healthy meal. And I try (really, really hard!) to remember how good that made me feel.
7) Living in your comfort zone
When was the last time you tried something new? Be honest!
If you can’t remember the last time you even went to a different coffee shop, let alone tried a new hobby, this might not be helping your self-esteem.
Experts say that living in your comfort zone can give you a false sense of security. It can trap you into thinking you aren’t good enough to try new things. It can even make you feel powerless in your own life.
Stepping out of your comfort zone isn’t easy, I know. But giving it a try – one little step at a time – is perfect for building your self-esteem!
So, slowly but surely, try doing something slightly new or different each week. Or just each month, if once a week sounds like too much to handle.
In no time at all, you might find that your whole world has opened up. And that your confidence in yourself has completely transformed!
8) Saying “yes” all the time
Improving my boundaries was one of the best things I ever did for my self-esteem – and my life, generally!
I used to lie awake at night ruminating on what others had asked of me and what I’d hastily said yes to. And I’d regret not speaking up for myself or saying something different from what I actually said…
When I sat down one day and made a list of all the things I didn’t want to do anymore, it gave me so much more clarity on what actually made me feel good in life (and what didn’t!).
It also gave me the confidence to speak up and say no sometimes.
If you can think of more than a few times when you’ve said yes when you want to say no, it might not be helping your self-esteem either.
So try identifying the things that make you feel bad about yourself. Like lending someone money or agreeing to help them with their homework.
Come up with some things you can say to set those boundaries in case someone asks you again. And if at first you don’t succeed, try, try, and try again!
Setting boundaries takes time, but I promise you, it’s so worth it in the end!
Doing things differently can seem scary, especially when you’re already feeling low about yourself.
As someone who had low self-esteem for a long time, I know all too well just how hard it is to make a change. And to feel like you’re actually worthy of that change!
But I think you already know how worth it’ll be when you’re on the other side of it all.
My best advice is to take things one step at a time. Don’t try to do everything at once. Commit to just a few small things each day, week, or month – and grow from there.
In no time at all, you’ll feel completely transformed – and it’ll be the best feeling ever!