How to Build Your Self-Esteem

The Nystrom & Associates provider consulted for this article is Melissa Nikovics, MA, LPCC, Outpatient Therapist.  Whether you’re aware of it or not, your self-esteem heavily impacts your life. It influences your relationships, decision-making, and plays a role in your motivation and overall wellbeing. Having low self-esteem is not a character trait; it can create long-term damaging effects. Here's what self-esteem is and how you can build it.  Related: 3 Ways Meditation Helps Your Mental Health 

What is Self-Esteem?  

Put simply, self-esteem is your subjective view of yourself. It's your evaluation of your own worth and value. Your self-esteem forms at an early age and is shaped by things like your experiences, role/status in society, age, and how others react to you. While your relationships with others play a big role in whether you have healthy self-esteem or not, your own thoughts have the biggest impact. For example, continuously focusing on your flaws and weaknesses will decrease your self-esteem. The good news is that your thought processes can be worked on so you can learn to move toward a balanced view of yourself.   Having low self-esteem does not mean you have depression. Depression is a mental health condition that affects your mind and body, while your self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. Low self-esteem can be a risk factor for depression, but they are not the same thing.  

Signs of Healthy & Unhealthy Self-Esteem 

It can be helpful to recognize where you might fall on the self-esteem spectrum. With healthy self-esteem you: 
  • Maintain realistic and appropriate expectations of yourself and your abilities 
  • Can confidently make decisions  
  • Focus on your strengths and understand your skillsets 
  • Can express your needs and opinions 
  • Are less likely to be critical of yourself and others 
With unhealthy self-esteem, you: 
  • Constantly worry that you aren’t good enough 
  • Don’t respect/value your own ideas and opinions 
  • Focus on your weaknesses without giving yourself credit for your other assets 
  • Might have a hard time accepting positive feedback and/or have a fear of failure
Melissa Nikovics, Outpatient Therapist at Nystrom & Associates, shares how she works with clients to build their self-esteem:
When one is working on building self-esteem, I like to explore their relationship with trust. From my experience in promoting trust, the most effective road traveled, is the road of risk taking. We must take risks in order to rebuild trust! Just be sure to know the difference between healthy and unhealthy risks, and the value of traveling at a safe speed.  
In other words, take healthy risks that allow you to promote trust within. Break old habits and form new behaviors that support the life you want to live.  Related: Ways to Move Forward When You Feel Stuck 

Tips to Build Your Self-Esteem 

Cultivating high self-esteem is no easy feat, but it’s worth taking on the challenge.  Some more tips to build your self-esteem include to: 
  • Let go of comparison: Use your social media apps mindfully. Unfollow people or accounts that make you feel negative. Reducing your exposure will create change. This applies to anything you watch on a screen.  
  • Practice a positive inner voice: Need a corny affirmation to get you started? We’ve got you covered. Repeat phrases like, “I’m doing the best I can,” “I am worthy,” and “I can handle whatever comes my way.” Affirmations are proven to boost self-esteem, as long as what you are repeating is part of your personal core values.  
  • Make a list of your strengths: Jot down a list of things that make you uniquely you. Keep it in a place where you can see it every day, like on your bathroom mirror or desk.
  • Give yourself a break: You are not going to be perfect all the time; no one is. Accept that you will not get it right every time. Cut yourself some slack and practice compassion toward yourself. What would you tell your best friend if they were in the same position? Move toward that mindset.  

A Word From Nystrom & Associates  

It is possible to turn your self-esteem around. Like anything else, it can take time and practice. Collaborating with a therapist is a great way to build your self-esteem and gain insight as to how you can improve. Call 1-844-NYSTROM or click here to make an appointment.   Part of building your self-esteem comes from surrounding yourself with uplifting and informational content. Like our Facebook page for more tips.   For more information on self-esteem, click here. Related: Being Lonely and Being Alone: What’s the Difference? 

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