Daily things you can do to work on your self-esteem

10 November 2020

Self-esteem is how you perceive or view yourself, and understand your abilities and your own worth. It is also the level of confidence and trust in yourself. Your environment, family, and the people around you can all play a role in your level of self-esteem.

Low self-esteem can bring about emotions such as guilt, shame, frustration, anger, hurt, depression, and anxiety.

How can you work on your self-esteem and improve it?

You can start working on your self-esteem by trying these daily things:

  • Celebrate all your victories – big or small (for example: a good hair day, completing a project at work, making a new dinner recipe, completing all your chores for the day)
  • Look at yourself in the mirror each day and tell yourself you are special, you are worthy, you are capable, etc.
  • Leave positive sticky notes for yourself where you can find them throughout your day
  • Stop following social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself – remember that social media is usually a highlight reel and not the whole story
  • Listen to music/songs that make you feel good
  • Take care of yourself – good hygiene, sleep, exercise, and nutrition can all impact your self-esteem as well
  • Learn how to accept compliments
  • Spend time with people who make you feel good
  • Identify things you are good at and remind yourself of those thing when you face challenges
  • Unconditionally accept yourself
  • Be kind and caring to yourself
  • Stop comparing yourself to other people
  • Focus on the things you have control over and can change

The way that you speak to yourself matters.

If you say enough negative things to yourself, it will start to impact your actions, and your thoughts, and eventually you will believe them as truth. Try replacing some of your negative self-thoughts with ones that focus on your worth:

I’m so stupid à I struggled with this, but I know that if I put my mind to it I can achieve what I need to

I’m worthless à I am special and important. I have value that cannot be shown through one single moment.

This is all my fault à I may have made a mistake but this is how I can make things right.

I’m not good enough à I may not be perfect, but I am me. I am unique, and good at… (Here you can list things you are good at for example: singing, cooking, your job, being a friend).

Self-care and nurturing yourself can also play a role in your self-esteem. By showing yourself love and compassion, and treating yourself the way you treat people you love, you will feel special and worthy of your time.

Something as simple as washing your hands and using a home-made scrub can be an effective act of self-care. Some self-care tips you could use can be found here: https://www.copetherapy.co.za/selfcare-tips

If you are struggling with your self-esteem and/or negative thoughts about yourself, seeing a therapist can help you to ‘re-programme’ those negative beliefs into positive statements that will help you see the shining star that you are.

Written by:

Dimakatso Motiang, Clinical Psychologist, Akeso Arcadia

Megan Hosking, Psychiatric Intake Clinician, Akeso Clinics