As we wander through life, we encounter many relationships — familial, social, romantic, professional — with people who impact our lives and our sense of self (often times, they affect us more than we expect).
Some relationships and situations make us feel strong, happy and supported, while others can make us feel insecure, weak, inadequate. Whether we like it or not, the way we process other people's behavior and react to us can make or break our sense of self-esteem at any given moment.
Have you ever had someone put you down and make you feel stripped of self-worth? Of course, levels of criticism vary, as do their effects on you (especially depending on who the critic is — a romantic partner, friend, parent, co-worker, boss).
Regardless of particular situation or person, it's good to be reminded first and foremost that people who have a low opinion of themselves will often be hardest on others. Putting others down typically makes insecure people feel more powerful. But this "power" is not, itself, powerful. It is flimsy, and serves to keep the cycle of negative self-worth alive.
So the second important reminder to keep in mind is that we can't control people's behavior. But what we can control is how we respond to others. Realizing that our thoughts and actions can determine how we feel is the best and most foolproof way to maintain a sense of personal power. This power isn't dependent on anyone else but ourselves. Now that is powerful.
Rather than seeking out the approval from other people, consider this radical question: what if we sought out our own self-approval first?
To help you answer this question, here is a list of twenty self-esteem boosting tips. If you can implement around three to five of these daily, you will begin to feel a shift in your mood and build your confidence and over time. Sure, people will start to treat you differently — but most importantly, you will treat yourself differently. You will treat yourself with honor, love, respect. The list can, and will, go on and on.
1. Accept that literally everything is a learning experience.
2. See your strengths from another point of view.
Give yourself a compliment, as if you were a friend.
3. Celebrate what you do well.
Think about your experiences, and bask in what you've achieved, or even just the feelings you've felt.
4. Trust your decisions.
You're gut is powerful, so avoid relying on the opinions of other people.
5. Give compliments.
They'll make you feel happy and grounded, while improving the mood of someone else, too!
6. Say nice things to yourself in your mind or in the mirror.
You can change your habits, and learn to let go of negative self-talk.
7. Surround yourself with positive people.
Let go of those who no longer influence you in a positive way.
8. Be authentic.
Avoid the need to constantly please other people.
9. Share your opinions.
Speak up and people will notice and respect you.
10. Push yourself gently out of your comfort zone.
Do this daily, weekly or monthly.
11. Or do the things that feel really uncomfortable.
Be a little brave.
12. Smile at other people.
Others will appreciate being noticed and made to feel special, and smiling just feels great.
13. Respect your body.
What could you do less of or more of to respect yourself more?
14. Pay attention to how you feel.
Tune into your feelings even if they feel subconscious (those can be the strongest messages).
15. Focus more on yourself instead of others.
What one thing could you do for yourself daily or weekly?
16. Be open to self-love.
No loved one can fulfill you in the same way that you can, your own self-love and self-acceptance.
17. Get thoughts off your chest.
Speak out about how you feel.
18. Repeat daily affirmations.
There are many mantras, but try "I'm worthy," "I'm doing my best" and "I accept myself for who I am."
19. Stand up for yourself.
Stay true to your values, especially if you feel they are under threat.
20. Believe yourself to be equal to everyone else.