How To Build Self Esteem: Tips And Techniques To Increase Self-Confidence

Updated March 8, 2023by BetterHelp Editorial Team

Self-esteem refers to the way we feel about ourselves. Put another way, self-esteem is essentially your opinion of yourself. If you don't value yourself as an individual, learning how to build self-esteem can change your life for the better. Here, we’ll explore the benefits of building self-esteem and a few tips and techniques for how to increase self-esteem, both on your own and with the help of a therapist. 

Healthy Self-Esteem Can Have Many Benefits

Benefits Of Building Self-Esteem

How exactly might building self-esteem impact your life? Included below are a few examples of some of the possible benefits of higher self-esteem:

  1. Higher Self-Confidence

When you value yourself and feel positively about who you are, you will likely feel more capable of doing the things you need and want to do to have the life that suits you best. You'll likely feel more confident taking on new challenges and find it more comfortable to follow through with your choices. You'll likely feel emboldened to try new things you may have previously avoided out of fear, and you may feel more confident in pursuing the life you desire.

  1. More Success

High self-esteem can be crucial for career success. Because it can improve your self-confidence, healthy self-esteem prepares you to have the confidence you need to accomplish challenging work demands and advocate for yourself in your career. You may also be less likely to feel stuck in a dead-end job when your self-esteem is high, because you feel you're valuable enough to find a job elsewhere if you decide to do so.

  1. Stronger Relationships

It can be hard to have strong and happy relationships when you constantly feel inadequate. You may end up relying too much on someone you feel is more confident than you are. You might find it hard to be real with a loved one if you feel embarrassed for others to know the real you. Yet, those same relationships can flourish when you understand how to build your self-esteem. Once you develop self compassion and obtain a higher opinion of yourself, you can feel more comfortable showing your true, authentic self to others, allowing for deeper, more authentic connections.

  1. Improved Mental Health

Low self-esteem can be a component of other mental health challenges. Some research suggests that levels of self-esteem are strongly associated with the development of depression. Low self-esteem generally involves negative thinking about yourself, so it may contribute to mental health challenges as you try to navigate your world without a healthy respect for who you are. Sometimes low self-esteem can be a result of a mental health condition.

  1. Greater Happiness

When your self-esteem is low, it can be hard to feel happy. Instead, you may feel sad, hopeless, confused, incompetent, unworthy of love and respect, or not deserving to have good things in your life. Once you learn how to raise your self-esteem, you can make the changes you need to make to feel better about yourself. Then, as you become more self-confident, more successful in your career, more assured in your relationships, and mentally healthier, you may find that your happiness will steadily increase as well.

How To Build Self-Esteem 

Right now, you might be wondering how to feel confident if you can't do it through praise and affirmations. Following are several tips and techniques for how to build self-esteem, some of which you can do on your own, and some of which may be most effectively utilized with the help of a therapist. 

  1. Understand That It's Okay To Think Well Of Yourself

Many people have the mistaken notion that liking yourself makes you an arrogant person. They fear that if they value themselves, they will be more likely to hurt someone else or get themselves into trouble. The truth is that you can accomplish more, help others more often, and live a more fulfilling life when you have a healthy level of self-esteem. If you find this hard to accept, talking to a counselor can make it easier for you to face and overcome these fears.

  1. Identify The Sources Of Your Low Self-Esteem

If you have low self-esteem, it could be because something happened in your life that undermined your positive self-image. So, one of the most crucial tasks to raise your self-esteem may be to address the root causes for this low self-esteem. A counselor can help you find those incidents and longer-term situations that may have contributed to your low self-esteem. As you explore your childhood and more recent past, you may find out exactly when your self-esteem plummeted. Or, you may come to understand how many factors added up to cause your feelings. Once you have identified these causes, you can work to address them. 

If you are doing this in therapy, your counselor can then help you learn techniques for changing the way you think about those past events and situations. For example, if someone told you repeatedly that you were dumb, you can learn to restructure your thoughts to see that the person who made those statements wasn't talking from a sense of the truth but instead using an unhealthy form of communication to perhaps vent their anger.

  1. Look At Your Strengths And Weaknesses More Objectively

When you have low self-esteem, you tend to look at the world through a filter of negativity. It may help you get past your negative view of yourself by trying to see your strengths and weakness in a more objective, factual way. If you are doing this on your own, you could try doing this by writing down all of your strengths and weaknesses, backed up by specific facts or examples—rather than feelings. This may allow you to challenge the negative view of yourself and gain a clearer sense of yourself. If you are working on this in therapy, your counselor may guide you through an exercise like this, and then talk through what you find.  

Healthy Self-Esteem Can Have Many Benefits

  1. Use Positive Words To Describe Yourself

Whether you're talking to others or thinking about your thoughts and behaviors within yourself, negative self-talk reinforces the mistaken notion that you're unworthy of love, friendship, and respect. Instead, try to be as objectively accurate when you speak of yourself. You don't have to use words you'll never believe are true, but you can use words that remind you that you are as worthy of receiving the good things in life as other people are.

  1. Do Something Worth Being Proud Of

Think of something you could do that would make you proud to be who you are. It doesn't matter what someone else thinks or wants you to do, try to choose something that has meaning to you. You can start with small tasks that you haven't attempted before, either out of fear you'd make a mistake or because you were afraid others wouldn't “get it.” Then, take that small risk. Try to do the hard thing. And then, enjoy the sense of accomplishment and take time to celebrate yourself. You can also spread your success with loved ones who know you're trying to raise your self-esteem and will be supportive. If none of your friends or family fit that description, get support from a counselor. Finally, after you celebrate each success, you can move on to something a little more challenging.

Get Support For Your Quest To Improve Your Self-Esteem

If you would like to work on building your self-esteem in therapy, you can find a therapist locally to meet with in person, or you can utilize an online platform to connect with a therapist virtually. 

If you are experiencing very low self-esteem and some of the mental health challenges that may accompany that, the thought of commuting to a new office and meeting with a stranger face-to-face may feel tiring and intimidating. With online therapy, you can match with and speak with a therapist from the comfort of your own home, which may feel easier for some people. 

Plus, research has found that online therapy can be effective for a range of concerns, including self-esteem. One such study found that individuals who received an online depression intervention showed immediate improvements in self-esteem and empowerment.  

Whether you choose in-person or online therapy, getting started can help you build your self-esteem more effectively, seeing benefits like a feeling of confidence that translates into a happier, more productive, and more fulfilling life.


Healthy self-esteem can have many benefits, including higher self-confidence, more success, stronger relationships, better mental health, and greater happiness. If you are looking for ways to build your self-esteem, you can try some of the strategies detailed above, such as using positive words to describe yourself, trying to view yourself more objectively, and doing small things you would be proud of. For additional support with building self-esteem, online therapy can help.

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