Struggling With A Lack Of Self Confidence? Read This To Build Healthy Self Esteem

Updated August 27, 2020

Medically Reviewed By: Kimberly L Brownridge , LPC, NCC, BCPC Counsel The Mind, LLC

Do you ever have days when you struggle with self-confidence? It’s hard for you to think that you’re able to achieve the things that you want to accomplish. You struggle to feel like you’re capable. The bad news is, if you feel like this, you may be struggling with low self-esteem. However, the good news is that there are many things you can do to build healthy self-esteem and confidence.

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What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the way that you feel about yourself. It’s your thoughts and opinions of yourself when you aren’t considering what other people say and think about you.

Some people have healthy self-esteem and feel good about themselves and their abilities regardless of what others think. And, some people struggle to feel good about themselves and suffer from low self-esteem.

Many things could contribute to your self-esteem. This can include how healthy your personal relationships are, past trauma that you’ve experienced, successes and failures that you’ve had, your role in society, and your general health. You may have struggled with low self-esteem for as long as you can remember, or there may be a traumatic experience that you lived through that cause you to start to struggle.

Either way, struggling with a lack of self-confidence can impact you in many areas of your life.

The importance of healthy self-esteem

Your self-esteem is important because it can influence how you think and the decisions you make in your life. People with healthy self-esteem can see and acknowledge their worth and value as a person. They’re able to recognize the contributions that they’re able to make and put their skills to work.

But people with low self-esteem can struggle to see what they’re capabilities. They may struggle to know their value outside of what they think other people think of them. This can set up a dangerous cycle of people-pleasing.

People pleasers tend to do anything they can to please others around them to try to boost their self-esteem. This can be dangerous because it can cause you to make decisions that you would not otherwise make to try to make someone else happy.

Someone with healthy self-esteem and confidence is more likely to go after the goals and dreams that they have for their life, where those with low self-esteem may constantly doubt themselves and struggle to live the life that they want.

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Signs that you need to improve your self-esteem:

  • Second-guessing yourself
  • Afraid to take on new challenges
  • Extremely critical of yourself
  • Anxiety
  • Being a workaholic
  • Perfectionism

If you struggle with low self-esteem, you may notice that you rely on others to make decisions. You may also notice that you don’t feel good about yourself unless you receive praise from others. This can be a sign that you struggle to feel good about yourself on your own.

Tips to help you overcome low self-esteem

There are many different strategies that you can use to work on building your self-esteem and confidence. The tips below are some that can help you gain progress in this area. However, low self-esteem can be connected with other areas of your life, such as past traumatic experiences.

Talking with a therapist can be an important step in addressing your confidence and self-esteem. While these tips below can be helpful, you may find it beneficial to talk to a licensed therapist like those at BetterHelp, to get to the root cause of your struggle with your self-esteem. Your therapist will also be able to provide additional activities and strategies that you can use to continue to boost your confidence.

Change your self-talk

If you struggle with low self-esteem, you may also find that you struggle with negative self-talk. This is what you think and say about yourself. You may find that you are constantly criticizing yourself and believing that you are incapable of accomplishing the things that you want to do.

Your thoughts are important. If you constantly think that you’re a failure, it’s going to be hard for you to prove that you’re not. This is why it can be so important to gain control of your thoughts when you’re working on rebuilding your self-esteem.

One way that you can do this is to make a list of all of your strengths. If you struggle with low self-esteem, it may be hard for you to come up with things to put on your list at first. Ensure that you come up with at least five things that you are good at or things that are good about you. Then, stand in the mirror with your list and read the list out loud while looking at yourself in the mirror. This can be uncomfortable to do at first, but it becomes easier the more you do it.

Continue to do this exercise daily, even multiple times a day, and eventually, you may notice that you’re starting to believe the things that you’re saying.

Another thing that you can do to address negative self-talk is to make a list of all of the negative things that you continuously think about yourself. Then, write out new thoughts that you’re going to choose to think of when the negative ones come into your mind.

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Learn to recognize your success

If you struggle with low self-esteem, you may struggle to acknowledge the achievements you have in life. When people compliment you or something that you’ve done, you may find that you excuse it away instead of taking credit for it.

Learning how to recognize your success, even the small ones, can go a long way in building your confidence. At the end of every day, write down three things you succeeded at during the day. Continue to build up your list day after day. Eventually, you have a long list of successes that you can look at whenever you start to doubt yourself. It’s okay to start with small things that you succeeded at each day.

Change how you view failure

If you view failure as a bad thing, it can be harder to build your self-esteem. Anytime you struggle to succeed at something, then you may end up feeling like you failed.

A simple change in how you view failure can help address this. Everyone fails at different things throughout their life. Successful people learn how to see their failures as stepping stones to success. They don’t allow the things that they failed to stop them from moving forward. So, don’t let your past failures get in the way of your future success.

Stop trying to please others

If you want to build your self-esteem, it can be beneficial to stop trying to please and impress others. Spend time thinking about the things that you want to accomplish and the goals that you have. Then, work towards meeting those goals and being the person that you need to be to live the life that you want.

If you are always focusing on trying to do what other people want you to do, it can get in the way of accomplishing what you want in life. And, it can keep you trying to always jump through hoops to make other people happy. It’s impossible to help others if you are not taking care of yourself and your needs first. You’re human and need to take time for yourself as well.

Spend time with positive people

When working on building confidence and self-esteem, it can be helpful to spend time with other people with healthy self-esteem. It can also help to be around people who are positive and build others up instead of constantly judging them. This behavior can rub off on you.

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Take care of yourself

Taking care of yourself physically and mentally is another way that you can help build your self-esteem. Do things that make you feel good about yourself. This could be doing something like going back to college to get an education or getting your haircut in a way that makes you happy.

If you’ve been trying to please other people, this can be a difficult thing to do. But do your best to try to find the things that make you happy instead of asking everyone else for their opinion first. You may have to try a few different things to figure out what this is if you’ve been in the habit of pleasing others for a long time.

Remember, building healthy self-esteem is a process. It most likely isn’t going to happen overnight, and sometimes it can feel like work. But it’s well worth the time that you invest in transforming your self-esteem. If you feel comfortable and safe discussing your journey of building self-esteem with your friends and family, it may make you feel like you’re less alone and even closer to them.  If you’re struggling in this area and need help, don’t hesitate to reach out to a therapist for support.


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