Countless people don’t feel good about themselves. They struggle with low self-esteem and live lives that aren’t anywhere near what they truly want. If this is you, this article will help you develop the courage to live on your own terms.
I’ll share six easy-to-implement ideas for how to like yourself, even if it currently feels like you’re just not good enough.
Practice these strategies every day, and your self-esteem will soon soar. Little by little, you’ll start to feel great about yourself and live the life you truly want.
1. Identify the Things You’re Good At
If you are chronically disappointed in yourself, there’s a high chance something is off with your self-esteem.
Research shows that people with low self-esteem often struggle with anxiety disorder and depression. They may even entertain suicidal thoughts at some point in their lives.
The trick to liking yourself a little more every day is gradually shifting your focus from your mistakes and flaws ― real or perceived.
Indeed, there are many things about yourself you wish were different, but you’re not going to create any significant positive change by focusing on your imperfections.
Remember that people who demonstrate healthy self-esteem still have flaws, but they like themselves regardless.
How do they do that?
They focus on the positives about themselves.
If you forget everything about how to like yourself more, remember this one: write down the positives in your life.
What are you good at? Write them down, no matter how big or small they are.
Every day or as often as possible, spend some time reflecting on those positive qualities. Remind yourself of those positives whenever you feel low.
2. Give Yourself a Break
Self-esteem is not static; it is normal to experience dips in self-esteem occasionally, even for people with generally high self-esteem.
In other words, you don’t have to feel great about yourself all day, every day.
Stop beating up on yourself because you can’t maintain your self-belief 24/7. Remember, being hard on yourself won’t help you feel any better.
Instead of self-blame, try practicing self-praise whenever you succeed in getting through a rough day.
Practice telling yourself something like, “I got through today, regardless of my imperfections. I must be doing something right!”
Make it a point to review your day before retiring and pat yourself on the back. Doing this daily can boost your self-confidence and help you like yourself more.
3. Befriend Your Inner Critic
One of the main reasons people dislike themselves is the constant inner voice in their heads telling them they are not good enough.
That’s not surprising, considering you become what you focus on all the time.
You may not really believe that you are a terrible person, but you will feel like it if you keep talking trash to yourself, putting yourself down, and thinking you are incapable of doing what you truly want.
This overly negative inner voice in your head goes by several names, including The Inner Critic. Like most people struggling with low self esteem, you may have heard the classic advice: silence your inner critic. Eliminate this negative self talk.
Truth is, you cannot always control these out-of-the-blue pessimistic thoughts that make you second-guess yourself, judge yourself harshly, and criticize yourself at almost every turn.
In fact, the harder you try to muzzle your inner critic, the louder it gets, making the situation worse. This will likely leave you feeling hopeless because your fear-based thoughts and negative emotion just won’t go away, no matter how hard you try.
Here’s the thing.
Self-talk is something we all do, whether we like or dislike who we are. The difference is that people with healthy self-esteem have trained themselves to befriend rather than wage war on their inner critic.
Here’s how to like yourself without suppressing your inner critic.
Visualize the negative voice in your head as a scared little child who’s always on the lookout for potential dangers. You can even give it a name if you like.
This scared child typically blows things out of proportion ― that’s its nature. It’s your duty to allay its fears, calm it down, and help it see things rationally.
In other words, recognize that you are in charge, not your inner critic. It is okay if the voice keeps suggesting fearful, negative, and pessimistic thoughts. However, choosing how to respond to it is in your power.
With this simple shift in perspective, it becomes easy to be gentler on yourself when your inner self-talk tends to be negative self talk or a negative thought pattern.
It may take a while, but befriending your inner critic and being gentle with yourself will soon become a habit and turn into healthy self esteem if you commit to responding objectively each time you catch yourself towing the path of negative self talk.
4. Do the Things You Really Enjoy
If you don’t feel good about yourself, you’re most likely spending your life doing what others want you to do but not enough time doing what you enjoy.
Why do we do things we don’t really like?
We are afraid of living truly. And it makes us conflicted, resentful, and dissatisfied because we are stuck doing the things we don’t really want.
Unfortunately, many of us feel guilty when we go after what we truly enjoy because we think doing so is selfish.
But you’re not selfish when you live the life you truly want. Instead, you’re being your authentic self and a positive person, and that’s the only way to give more of yourself to others.
Besides, you will improve your self-esteem when you focus more on what you enjoy instead of what others want.
5. Keep Your Promises to Yourself
Have you ever wondered why many people with low self-esteem are often considered people-pleasers? It is because they tend to be extremely loyal to others but poor at keeping their own promises to themselves.
There is nothing wrong with caring about others and being a dependable ally. After all, it’s an important part of developing healthy self esteem.
However, you’ll have a hard time feeling good about yourself when you consistently sacrifice your happiness on the altar of selflessness.
It will do your self-esteem some serious damage if going back on your promises to yourself becomes a habit.
What to do?
Every day, think of ways to put yourself first. Ask yourself the following questions:
- How much work are you willing to take on today?
- How will you focus on yourself today?
- What steps will you take today to bring you closer to the life you want to live?
While it is okay to do things for others, don’t be afraid to say no and be assertive when necessary. It will help build your self-esteem and is a positive thing to do.
6. Hang Around People Who Genuinely Like You
You probably already know the benefits of surrounding yourself with positive people and the downsides of hanging around pessimistic, unmotivated people.
Although most people often imagine success when they think of spending time with highly motivated individuals, the benefits go beyond increased productivity, achievements, and ambition.
Besides success (or the lack of it), the people you hang around most of the time have a way of affecting your sense of self.
In other words, you’ll have a hard time liking yourself if you spend too much time with people who don’t think much about you.
On the flip side, there’s a higher chance you’ll start to like yourself more if you hang around people who genuinely like you and point out your strengths and uniqueness.
While this concept is not difficult to grasp, implementing it in real-life situations can be trickier than you imagine.
Why is that?
Often, our desires sharply contrast what we know is best for us.
For example, you might want to spend the weekend camping with a jolly good friend you genuinely like. But because you want to advance your social standing, you opt to attend an event with an influential colleague who you don’t really like.
The problem with spending too much time with people you don’t really like or who don’t actually like you is that the motivation is often wrong.
If you are being honest, you simply want to be around them for what you stand to gain or out of fear of losing out. And even when you get these things, you still won’t be truly happy with yourself.
Here’s my recommendation for how to like yourself more in this situation:
Give yourself permission to spend more time with those you really like and spend less time with the people you’d rather not be around.
Mastering the Art of Liking Yourself
Building healthy self-esteem might seem difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You already have what it takes to live the life you truly want.
Shift your focus from trying to please people or doing what people expect of you. Start doing the things you enjoy, spend time with people you like, and focus on the positives in your life.
Prioritize me-time, and by all means, treat yourself as you would a dear friend. That’s the secret to developing a healthy sense of self and liking yourself.