How valuable do you believe you are? When you think about what you bring to the proverbial table, in your family life and in your other relationships, can you see how you are a positive impact on others lives? No matter the answer you have in your mind when faced with these questions, it is that belief that indicates your level of self-esteem. And, unfortunately, many people have a very negative opinion of themselves. Many believe they’re just not that valuable and that what they have to offer won’t be appreciated by others.


Now there are many different theories as to why people feel this way. Some believe it has to do with upbringing and external influences, while others believe it’s linked to neurological issues. And then there’s the idea that millennials are suffering the most, but because they have too much self-esteem. This means that if you were born in the 80s or any later you might have had way too much praise, affirmation, and validation. The result is that this generation is considered sensitive, self-centered, lazy, and spoilt. So, too much of a good thing will do you a damage. But what’s more important to talk about right now is low self-esteem.


When your self-esteem is up you actually make your life easier. This is because you like and sometimes even love yourself. You also fully accept yourself, warts and all, and understand that you’re human. You will make mistakes, you will disappoint people (even those you love the most) and you won’t beat yourself up. Ever find yourself apologising when you really don’t need to? Well, that right there is a glowing example of low self-esteem. You’re also likely to feel a bit more stable within yourself, have less anxiety, and require less attention. And all the self-sabotaging behaviour you suffer will begin to dissipate as you realise it’s a complete waste of energy.


So here are four things you should do to up your self-esteem and keep it in check


You should minimise your inner critical voice

It’s destructive and probably telling you daily how bad you are at everything you do. This voice pitches up when you’re struggling with something. This could be struggling to speak to the person you’re romantically interested in or struggling to finish your task at work. When you start thinking negative thoughts about yourself combat them by forcing a positive thought. Create one that works for you on all levels. Let this be your daily affirmation and squash that nasty little voice in the back of your mind.


Incorporate a daily self-appreciation break

This is a fun way to handle your self-esteem issues. Every single day make sure you go for a quick walk or spend two minutes away from your daily grind and just breathe deeply and appreciate yourself. You can start with a tiny list of three things you know for certain that you’re good at. Then you can change it to listing three ways you assisted someone today whether you made them laugh or helped them get through a challenge. Then outline what those characteristics are that you possess that make this possible.


Make an effort to be a good person somehow all the time

Really make a concerted effort to stand up for someone (even yourself), help someone (even yourself) and be kind (yes, even to yourself). Now, this doesn’t have to be a grand gesture. But assisting an old person across the street, letting the shop assistant know when they’ve given you too much change, or calling a helpful organisation when you see someone or an animal in need, are all good things. They will make you feel good about yourself and even if it’s only for a moment you will feel like you positively impacted the world in a small way. This is kindness and it’s invaluable. And being kind to yourself is an excellent quality to have because you have to look after yourself first before you can successfully care for others.


Make a kind commitment

South Africa has been through the ringer this year. So many atrocities and disasters seem to have struck us as a nation. And we tend to rise up as a community and help out where we can. But it’s the constant assistance that actually makes a bigger impact. Supporting charities and non-profit organisations are one way of knowing you’re helping out. Consider major organisations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) where you can literally keep up-to-date with their activities. In this way, you’ll be able to see exactly how your donation is being used and pat yourself on the back. And sometimes all you need is a pat on the back to feel good.


Essentially, building up your self-esteem is entirely your responsibility and so you need to tackle it. In fact, low self-esteem can make you a really irritating personality to be around and people are quick to judge those who are “Negative Nellies”. Unless of course, you’re a millennial who’s got so much self-esteem they can’t handle any criticism. But that’s a topic for another article (read:thesis).

About The Author

I was born in the Eastern Cape, close to the waves. After getting my degree in Media, Communication and Culture, I knew it was time to make my way to a big city. Not wanting to leave the ocean, Cape Town was the natural choice for me. At first I thought the fast paced world of marketing. But I never forgot that what I'd always wanted to do was write. Now I'm a freelance writer, where my office is my bedroom and my platform is the World Wide Web. I live with my partner and our two beloved Great Danes. When not reading or writing you can probably find me on the beach or exploring nature trails.

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