How to build up Self-Esteem
This essay is dedicated to all people who struggle with self-esteem like I did years ago.
My struggle was real. I had so much rubbish piled up in my head that made my life miserable, but what is more important is that I was feeding my destructive mindset with my own energy and attention.
Whatever self-improvement activity you engage in your life there are always two components in play: The Mindset and The Actions.
The world is observing closely the genius of Elon Musk. The one thing he frequently talks about is the first principles of thinking.
He uses them for solving physics and engineering problems but they as they are more of a philosophical concept they can be successfully applied towards personal psychology as well.
Here are 3 steps of the first principles reapplied to self-esteem.
Step 1. Identify and define your beliefs.
Check the system of your beliefs.
What are the beliefs that you acquired from personal experience?
Are there any beliefs that you simply picked up somewhere without checking? Maybe books? Maybe some videos? Most likely something from your parents? Or maybe your friends?
You have to investigate deeply which of your beliefs are limiting. Some mindsets simply don’t work and you have to throw them out to the trash bin or substitute them with functional ones.
One of such beliefs regarding self-esteem is: “Nobody likes me. I don’t like myself. I am not worthy of love” or sometimes a more severe version of it “Everyone hates me. The world is cruel and unfair. I hate myself.”
If you recognize yourself in these words you should know that this is simply wrong.
Your perception of the world is conditioned by the things you keep telling yourself is true.
You are shaping your reality by your mind and if it projects a poor vision the reality will reflect it.
You are making the world hateful and unfair by thinking that way.
You think that reality is bad, it becomes bad, it affects you, you become more negative.
It is self-sabotage loop.
From the first day of our life, the self-esteem is conditioned by many things — our parents, culture, language, surroundings. But your second birthday is the day when you realize that you can choose your own beliefs.
Take 100% responsibility for what is going on in your life.
People say the body is the temple. If so then your mind is your garden.
What you plant there will grow.
If you take care of your garden it will bloom with beautiful thoughts, if you abandon it, the hogweed of destructive mindset will enslave you.
Come back to your garden and find the enemy within.
Step 2. Breakdown your beliefs and find the roots.
Ok. You got the first step right. You have admitted that the problem exists and identified it.
Now, make sure you understand the very nature of your problem. Where are the roots of your mindset?
My parents always said: “Son, money doesn’t grow on the trees” or “Do you think we print them in the night?”
I understand that it was their way to cultivate the sense of respect towards money but as a result, I have developed a scarcity mindset which was imprinted in me when I was a kid and is still haunting me up to these days.
It would be much better if they gave me the tools to increase my financial intelligence and taught me how to save and invest. I had to learn everything myself.
I learned that the money is not always the result of hard work. You can earn them by doing what you love and it doesn’t really feel like work.
I learned that saving is as powerful as earning. I read “Rich Dad Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki and Sharon Lechter. I learned how to use spreadsheets and personal finance applications to organize my money.
The bottom line is that you have to be very mindful of the processes that take place in your head.
Oftentimes, we do not react mindfully towards the external events rather we allow a preprogrammed response to pop up.
Don’t let it happen.
Dig deep and find the roots of your inner beliefs. Ask yourself: “Why do I think this way?”
Finding the roots will help you to come up with solutions.
Step 3. Build new beliefs system from scratch.
If you did the first two steps right you know your problems, you know why you have them and what exactly the reasons why these things are not working inside you.
Once you internalize this understanding, once you embrace it, you are ready to make a change and this will bring you to the question:
Ok, so what do I do?
Self-esteem is the deep and profound realization of your self-worth.
The knowledge so deep can be only anchored through constant practice. Here are the exclusively practical things that will help you to build up your self-esteem.
The biggest threat to self-esteem is a negative self-talk. Meditations teach you how to silence your mind. Through meditations, you learn how to stay present and not fall into negative memories of the past or unjustified concerns about future.
Constant practice will lead you to the experience of ego death and awakening.
The self-esteem of awakened person is a whole another level. He knows that he is a child of God and doesn’t need to prove anything to anyone but himself.
Wake up, Neo!
2. Master assertiveness.
In a nutshell, assertiveness is a skill to not give a shit about what other people think about you.
The truth is they don’t most of the time.
People who are really close to you maybe spend 5–20 minutes thinking a day thinking only about you. The rest just don’t care. If they don’t, why should you?
Enroll in clubs and activities where you need to expose yourself to the public. Those can be acting classes, public speaking clubs, meetups, language classes etc.
Constant practice of public presentation will teach you to focus your attention on the content of your message and not the possible thoughts of others.
3. Take a good care of yourself.
If I could only give you one advice that would be exercising.
Beat yourself into the best possible shape, realize your natural potential to the maximum. When you are strong physically you feel strong. When you look good you feel good. It is not a rocket science and it is completely doable.
Nothing will contribute more to your self-esteem that knowing that your body is in a great shape.
Work out mean, eat clean, don’t poison yourself with smoke and alcohol, sleep good hours and spend time on nature.
4. Challenge yourself.
We feel good about ourselves when we accomplish something. Especially when we achieve goals that we thought are impossible.
This is how “love yourself” thing works. You do hard things, you earn your own respect, then you start to like yourself, then you will find love.
Constantly challenge yourself.
I have recently started a series Challenge Me where I write about my daily challenges.
Try one of these challenges!
- Running (morning/evening)
- Fasting (24/48/72h)
- Workout (3 times a week)
- Push-up challenge (500 every day)
- Waking up at 5:30 am
- Cold showers
Living a life of challenges will transform the way you think about yourself. It will give you the confidence you seek.
I challenge you to choose your challenge right now!
You have to read a lot. You have to saturate yourself with the knowledge, tips, and tricks related to the topic of self-esteem and personal growth.
The constant access to knowledge is the fuel for motivation.
But most importantly reading is the simplest, cheapest and the most accessible way to deprive yourself of time when you have an opportunity to feel miserable about yourself.
Depression is developed only in people who have time to feel like shit.
Having this time is a luxury.
6. Find your Mission
In order to have a feeling of self-worth you need to have “your thing”. Your mission, your own dragon to slay in this world, your “why” to get up in the morning from that cozy warm bed and move.
Create value for other people. Help them to solve their problems or solve their problems for them.
The sense of The Mission will greatly contribute to your self-esteem because you will know that there is a reason for your existence.
7. Connect with people you hold dear.
They love you. They see your light. It might be so that they know you better than you know yourself. Spend time with them and listen.
Learn how to accept compliments and be ok with it. Say thank you and smile. Be humble and grateful.
Ask for their honest feedback and learn how to separate sweet talk from positive feedback. This will teach you your strengths.
Learn your weaknesses too and tackle them one by one.
8. Be grateful and focus on positive.
Create your own prayer/mantra that no one will know and repeat it 3 times a day before the meal.
You don’t need a religion in order to practice a prayer. It is a practice to rewire your brain.
It is scientifically proven that the gratitude practice during just 3 weeks causes the changes in the brain that consequently allows you to focus on positive things more and be more stress-resistant.
I have done it so can you.
Watch this TED talk and start living a grateful life!
Life is good.
But it is not good by a default.
You have to make it good. No one will make it good for you.
Many people live like they are watching the movie that they show to themselves.
Be the master of your ship, the director of the movie called “My Life”.
The film that you load in your projector is what you show to yourself.
Work hard on yourself when no one sees and let the success be your noise.
If you think that no one cares. It’s not true.
I do. You can always drop me a line.
❓ Do you have a question? Ask me! I answer daily on Quora.