How can I improve my self-esteem?


“Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself as a person. Those with high self-esteem believe that they are adequate, strong and worthy of a good life, while those with low self-esteem feel inadequate and worthless. Low self-esteem can develop in childhood and continue throughout adulthood, causing great emotional pain. Therefore, it’s important to develop a healthy, positive sense of self.

Many people base their self-esteem on external factors, such as how much money they earn, how much they weigh and whether people like and appreciate them. If one of these external variables change, self-esteem can be broadly affected. For example, if your self-esteem is based on the fact that someone else loves you, then you risk feeling extremely vulnerable and worthless if that person’s love ends. By the same token, building self-esteem is not an easy task if you have been abused or have suffered years of personal or professional failure.


Building your self-esteem and creating a positive self-awareness comes from taking an inventory of your own strengths and abilities as a human being. Being at peace with who you are and what you have to offer the world is a major part of having high self-esteem. This “inner peace” does not mean that you are unaware of your weaknesses; it merely means that you accept who you are and genuinely like the person you have become.


You should think about yourself as deserving of attention, admiration and proper maintenance. Avoid the pitfall of paying too much attention to the happiness and well-being of others and too little to your own.


If you struggle with low self-esteem, it is often helpful to connect with others with the same problem.


Beginning the inner dialogue about who you are and what you have to offer the world is an important process in building self-esteem.

Positive self talkFrom

Talking to friends, family and colleagues can also be useful in further defining who you are and what you have to offer.

But remember that the most important conversation you have about self-esteem is with yourself. Become your own personal cheerleader. Don’t be afraid to celebrate even your smallest successes. Ask yourself what you fear, and search within yourself for ways you can cope with these worries and fears.

Talk to yourself like you would go someone you love.


Learning to know and trust yourself is a long but worthwhile process. Throughout life you may need to search within yourself again and again to find your own empowerment and strength.”

From Building Self-Esteem




12 simple suggestions for building confidence and self-esteem:

1. Make three lists: one of your strengths, one of your achievements, and one of the things that you admire about yourself. Try to get a friend or relative to help you with these lists. Keep the lists in a safe place and read through them regularly.

2. Think positively about yourself. Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. Identify and challenge any negative thoughts that you may have about yourself, such as ‘I am a loser’, ‘I never do anything right’, or ‘No one really likes me’.

3. Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.

4. Eat good food as part of a healthy, balanced diet.

5. Exercise regularly.

6. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep.

7. Manage your stress levels.

8. Make your living space comfortable, and attractive. Display items that remind you of your achievements or of the special times and people in your life.

9. Do more of the things that you enjoy doing. Do at least one thing that you enjoy every day, and remind yourself that you deserve it.

10. Do something nice for others. For example, strike up a conversation with the person at the till, visit a friend who is sick, or get involved with a local charity.

11. Try to spend more time with those you hold near and dear.

12. Avoid people, places, and institutions that treat you badly or that make you feel bad about yourself. This could mean being more assertive.

(By Neel Burton)




“Do you respect yourself?!” exclaimed Victoria while pulling me away from the living room where we were celebrating my 17th birthday.

It was a very quiet party. Only my 3 closest University friends have been invited and Anton. I did not want him to be there, but I had no choice. I did not want to have him in my life at all. I could not even comprehend how he actually got in there.

I knew Anton for only a few weeks, but in those few weeks all my life went upside down.

He seemed to be always around, monitoring every step I made or every breath I took. If he was not physically around, then there were phone calls. Hundreds and hundreds of phone calls each day. I was scared to answer the phone and even more scared not to answer it, as then he would come to my place full of rage: “Why did not you answer the phone? Where have you been?”


I could not comprehend how that happened, but Anton somehow got into a belief that he was my boyfriend. He even started talking about marrying me in  a year. That was when he was talking about me being the love of his life of course. However before even finishing talking about his love, he often was falling into a rage. Then my things went flying around the place and his fist was punching the wall a millimeter away from my face.

“Do you respect yourself?” Victoria kept exclaiming, while pulling me into a distant corner. I could not understand what she was talking about.

Victoria never met Anton before. I never even told her about him. So far he was behaving his best at my party. He treated me OK in public, except an occasional hiss, a pinch or a quiet jab that no one else would notice.

“He is not a proper human being. He is a psychopath! Classic textbook case. I’ve got only Cs in psychology, but I could see that straight away. You’ve got top marks. Why can’t you see that? Why do you allow him to be near you? How can you allow yourself to be treated like that? Do you have any respect for yourself?”


I’ve never seen Victoria to be so agitated.

“You should stop that straight away. You should not allow him to get anywhere near you. Don’t answer the phone. Don’t talk to him. Get him out of your life. Do you hear me? Completely out!”

Next day at the University she pulled me into the library and got for me a pile of books on psychopaths  as well as books on building confidence and self-esteem.  I spent the rest of the day at the library, and then another day, and another… It was quiet a peaceful there: no phone calls, no Anton. In a few months he vanished from my life…


A decade later Victoria gave me a ring:

“What are you up to?” she asked.

“Painting the house,” I felt totally exhausted after spending a few months preparing the walls and putting 4 coats of paint.

“Were all your efforts appreciated?”

“Hm, I guess so. I was asked a few days ago whether I could paint the roof as well, once I finish with all the walls. So I must be doing a good job…”

“And what is your prince doing?”

“Daydreaming, reading and enjoying a cup of tea.”

“Do you respect yourself for goodness sake!” exclaimed Victoria. “Every relationship requires equal efforts by both parties. Chuck out all the paintbrushes and do some daydreaming too. Or reading, sailing, dancing… Do something YOU are ENJOYING!”

And I did…