If you’re struggling with how to like yourself, you’re not alone. It’s estimated that eighty-five percent of people around the world suffer from low self-esteem.
The causes of low self-confidence are varied. Some people’s self-esteem gets damaged by overly critical parents or childhood bullies. Others develop it because of the media and society’s unrealistic beauty standards. No matter the cause, however, the effects are quite similar. Poor self-esteem can create problems in your relationships and hurt your performance at work. It can also cause anxiety and stress and has even been linked with depression and eating disorders.
No one deserves to feel bad about themselves or experience these consequences of low self-esteem. That’s why we’ve put together this guide on how to like yourself. It’s full of tips and exercises to help you boost your self-confidence and recognize your many talents and strengths. If you want to learn to love yourself and make this your best year yet, read on for our top suggestions!
1. Don’t Put Yourself Down
Most people with low self-confidence engage in something called negative self-talk. Self-talk is all the chatter and thoughts you have in your head throughout the day. It’s basically your internal monologue, and it can be positive or negative. The pep talks you give yourself before important job interviews are an example of positive self-talk. This kind of internal monologue can help you achieve your goals by getting you in the right frame of mind to take on challenges.
But when self-talk turns negative, it can actually hinder your performance and hold you back. For example, if your inner voice says you won’t get the job right before your interview, you’ll feel more nervous going into it. This can throw you off your game and cause things to go poorly. Negative self-talk has also been linked to stress, low self-esteem, and depression. So if you can figure out how to silence your inner critic, your mood and self-image will really improve.
One of the ways you can fight damaging self-talk and learn how to like yourself is by speaking to yourself the way you’d speak to a friend. When you have a particularly negative thought, stop to consider if you would say the same thing to your best friend. If not, try to rephrase it in a more gentle, positive way. After doing this for a few weeks, your self-talk will become a lot kinder.
2. Reframe Your Failures
Many people with low self-esteem feel like failures when they don’t succeed. They believe that their poor performance at work or school is a reflection of their character. Instead of viewing a bad grade on a test as a reminder to study harder, a person with low self-confidence may take it as a sign that they aren’t smart.
If you feel this way when you make a mistake, you should try to shift your perspective. Remember that your failures don’t define you or take away from who you are as a person. They simply give you an opportunity to learn, gain new skills, and grow. If you can figure out how to forgive yourself for your mistakes and see them as learning experiences, you’ll be even more successful in the future.
3. Learn to How to Accept Compliments
When you’re grappling with how to like yourself and don’t feel confident, it’s hard to accept compliments. Studies have shown that people with low self-esteem have more trouble taking compliments to heart than people with high self-esteem. This is because they doubt the sincerity of the praise and wonder how someone could have such a high opinion of them.
Even though it’s difficult, learning how to accept compliments is a key part of rebuilding your self-esteem. Receiving compliments can boost your mood, improve your self-image, and strengthen your relationships. It can even enhance your performance at work or school. If you often dismiss or rebuff compliments, you’re missing out on opportunities to feel good about yourself and pushing away the people who want to build you up.
So the next time you receive a compliment, try not to deny or reject it. Instead, take a moment to let it sink in and then thank whoever said it for their kind words. It may feel awkward to acknowledge praise when you’re so used to downplaying it. Over time, however, you’ll become more comfortable accepting compliments and incorporating them into your self-image.
4. Celebrate Your Strengths
Accepting compliments from others can help build up your self-esteem. But you also have to learn how to like yourself regardless of what others think of you. If your self-confidence is tied to external praise, you’ll feel terrible about yourself whenever you receive negative feedback. That’s why it’s important to recognize and celebrate your strengths instead of relying solely on compliments to boost your self-confidence.
A great way to acknowledge your talents is to write down a list of all your skills and strengths on a piece of paper. Hang it up someplace where you’ll see it, like on your refrigerator or your mirror. Whenever you’re feeling down, read that list to remind yourself of everything you have going for you.
5. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Comparing yourself to others, especially online, can make you feel down about yourself. People tend to share their best moments on social media and leave out any mention of their struggles. This can give you the false impression that their lives are perfect and make you unhappy with your own.
Despite what social media suggests, no one’s life is perfect. Everyone has bad days and failures, even if they don’t talk about them. When you’re scrolling through Instagram and Facebook, try to remember that you’re looking at other people’s biggest highlights and shouldn’t compare them to your everyday life.
6. Try Meditating
We know what you’re thinking — what does meditating have to do with learning how to like yourself? Believe it or not, studies have shown that practicing certain types of meditation, such as mindfulness and loving-kindness, can improve your self-esteem.
If you don’t know what mindfulness is, it’s a type of meditation that helps you focus on the present. A popular mindfulness exercise is to direct all of your attention to your breath to help you stay in the moment. Your mind will probably wander, but it’s important not to dwell on any of the thoughts and worries that come up. Just acknowledge your thoughts and feelings without judgment and try to refocus your attention on your breath.
Mindfulness exercises like the one above can increase your self-esteem by helping you manage your thoughts and feelings better. Researchers have found that people who practice mindfulness regularly are less likely to get caught up in the self-critical thought patterns that damage self-esteem. This is because meditation teaches you to acknowledge your negative thoughts without judgment and let them pass. Instead of ruminating on self-critical thoughts and letting them damage your confidence, you’ll be able to calmly observe them and redirect your focus to something else.
Loving-kindness meditation can also improve your self-confidence. This type of meditation involves repeating positive affirmations to yourself over and over again. To boost your self-esteem, you can use phrases like “may I love myself for who I am” or “may I recognize my talents and strengths.” But any positive affirmations that resonate with you will work. This type of meditation has been shown to reduce self-critical thoughts and improve depression. It can also boost your mood and increase your self-compassion.
Once you’ve mastered the basics of loving-kindness meditation, you can expand your practice and start directing positive energy toward your friends, family, and strangers. You can even extend positive thoughts to people who have hurt you to try to learn how to forgive them. This type of meditation is a powerful tool that can improve your self-esteem and increase your compassion for yourself and others, so it’s worth trying.
Learning how to like yourself is a long process that doesn’t happen overnight. You might have developed low self-esteem over a period of years, so it will take some time to rebuild your confidence. But if you follow the tips in this post and try to be a little kinder to yourself, you’ll eventually see yourself as the wonderful person that you are!
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