7 Simple exercises to raise your self-esteem
Self-esteem is essential for success. It gives you the confidence to set big, challenging goals and the self-belief to pursue them. Some people naturally have high self-esteem, however for many of us; it is something which we have to work on. If your self-esteem is low, there is no need to worry as there are many exercises which you can perform to raise your self-esteem. When you raise your self-esteem you will notice that you are more positive, confident and ambitious. To raise your self-esteem does require a little work but the results are well worth the effort.
Many people think that they would have higher self-esteem if they had more of something in their life e.g. more success, more money etc. The key to raising your self-esteem does not lie in acquiring more, it lies in noticing more – noticing more of what is great about you and your life. Yes, we all have room for improvement in our lives but we also have a level of greatness within us and within our lives which we need to recognise. When you begin to recognise yourself for the wonderful human being that you are, you will raise your self-esteem naturally and with relative comfort.
The Do's and Don'ts of Self-Esteem
7 Exercises to raise your self-esteem
The following exercises will help you to see more of the positives in yourself and your life. They are intended to raise your self-awareness quickly, so that you can fully appreciate the good elements of your life.
For each exercise, I have outlined the exercise and then explained why it will help to raise your self-esteem:
1. List 10 things that you love about yourself
When you have a negative outlook, it can be difficult to see your own positive attributes. In reality, no person is 100% good or bad. This exercise requires you to actively seek out your positive attributes so that you can improve your self-image. When you list them, also write a quick note for each attribute, outlining what it is that you love about it.
If you find more than 10 attributes, keep going.
When you think of love, you may think of the type of romantic love which is featured in Hollywood movies. Not only is that depiction of love unrealistic, but it is not where your thoughts of love should start. Your first love should be none other than yourself because unless you can love yourself, you are not going to be able to love others. For you cannot give what you do not have.
Self-esteem is about loving yourself, in a healthy way. You are a unique and wonderful human being with so much to offer the world. It is important that you take the time to realise this.
When I was young, we were thought that it was a bad thing to love yourself. Not only is that untrue but loving yourself is essential for a happy and healthy life. The simplest and quickest way to raise your self-esteem is to love yourself.
Unlock your self-esteem
For a comprehensive set of exercises to raise your self-esteem, check out 'Unlock Your Self-Esteem'.
2. List 10 skills you possess
Recognising the many skills you possess, allows you to see that you have great value and worth to offer to others. For each skill, write a brief note explaining how others might benefit, or have benefitted from this skill.
Again, if you find more than 10 skills, keep going.
The reason that this simple exercise is so powerful is that it forces you to look at your skillset from a perspective which you are not currently considering.
When you think about your skills, you are probably doing so from a position of lack. This can be useful because it helps you to identify skills that you need to develop. By developing these skills, you can then improve the outcomes you achieve in both your personal and professional life.
However, if you only ever consider the skills you are lacking, you fail to see just how incredibly talented you really are. It is important that you keep an inventory of the skills and attributes that you have. This ensures that you have a balanced view of your skills and; it will raise your self-esteem in the process.
There is no need for you to pretend that you are more skilled and talented than you really are. All you need to do is recognise the skills and attributes you have developed over the years. This will help you to see how great you are, and it will raise your self-esteem for those times when you need to take a leap of faith and back yourself to learn, develop and progress.
Should you wish to develop your knowledge, skills and attributes; check out Accelerate Your Performance.
3. List 5 achievements which you are proud of
When you are shrouded in negativity, it is easy to forget about the things you have achieved in the past. Recognising past achievements helps you to realise that you are capable of achieving more in the future. Write a detailed account of each achievement.
If you find yourself moving past 5, keep going until your inspiration runs dry.
Life is a constant journey; a constant progression. You will regularly encounter challenges which you have never encountered before. You have two ways of reacting to these challenges:
You can’t be certain that you will overcome the challenge but equally, you can’t be certain that you won’t. So, my argument is that it is better to believe in yourself and take the challenge on. Give it your best shot. This is where self-esteem comes in.
To have the necessary self-esteem, you need to understand that you have overcome big challenges in the past. You can raise your self-esteem by taking the time to capture your past achievements and reflect upon them. On most occasions, self-belief comes from knowing that you have done great things before. And, rest assured; you have done great things in your life – you just need to take the time to recognise them.
Again, this is not about pretending that you are something you are not. That wouldn’t work anyway. Most people belittle their own achi9evements while overplaying their setbacks. You just need to redress the balance by giving due recognition to your many achievements.
The key to high self-esteem is to realise that your first love should always be yourself!
4. List 3 occasions where you have overcome adversity
One of the biggest factors in self-esteem is understanding that you have the resilience required to cope with anything which life throws at you. Your past achievements in overcoming adversity enable you to see that you can cope with difficult times. For each situation write a detailed account of the adversity you faced and the skills and attributes you used to overcome it.
Remember that you do not have to stop at 3
Resilience is essential in life. You need to know that you can absorb the difficult times and bounce back. When tough times strike, the most resilient people will take what life throws at them and brush it off. They just identify what they need to do to get back on track and take the necessary actions.
Those who lack resilience become overwhelmed during the tough times and; stress soon sets in. Problems that should be quickly overcome can last for a long period of time.
Everybody has the resilience within them. Just some people don’t believe it because they fail to recall the adversities they have overcome in the past. Taking the time to recognise the adversities you have overcome will boost your resilience and raise your self-esteem.
Often, the biggest factor in overcoming adversity is your belief that you can overcome. This belief comes form knowing that you have overcome adversities in the past. Everyone has overcome adversities in their life; you just need to remember those times.
5. List 5 people who have helped you
Do not just identify the 5 people; write a detailed account of how they have helped you. Doing this allows you to realise that other people value you and see worth in you. This is why they are motivated to help you.
As always, when you hit 5, you can keep going.
The feeling that others don’t value you weights heavy on your self-esteem. When you think that you are alone and must face life’s challenges on your own, it is easy to lose faith in yourself. But there is great truth in the old saying that ‘no man is an island.’
The only way you will ever be alone in this world is if you choose to be. Even then, it is difficult to eliminate all human contact. Even then, there will always be people who are prepared to help you when you need it. All you need to do is to reach out to the right people.
You will raise your self-esteem when you record all the help that you have received from others because it will help you realise that you don’t face any challenge alone. You will know that you can reach out for the help you need and, together with those offering the help, you will be in a much stronger position to overcome any challenge.
Receiving help from others when you need it, will always raise your self-esteem. It will remind you that you are a person of value. Remembering the times when others helped you will also raise your self-esteem, even though it is something which happened in the past.
Values based living
Speaking of values, the ability to give and receive help comes from having strong values. If you don't have set values, check out 'Values Based Living'.
6. List 5 people whom you have helped
When you have low self-esteem, you may feel that you offer little of value to other people. This exercise helps you to see that you offer a great deal more than you ever realised. For each person, highlight how you helped them and how they benefitted from your help.
If you do not want to stop at 5, don’t.
It is easy to think that you have nothing of value to offer to the world but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Each day you help others. Sometimes the help you offer is something big but most of the time, it will be something small which makes the other person’s life a little better and; a little easier.
Think about the small ways that others help you and, how much you appreciate that help when you receive it. That is how others feel when you help them. The fact that you can help other people demonstrates that you are someone with value to offer. Each time you help someone else, take a moment to acknowledge it and it will help to raise your self-esteem.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you must make one massive contribution to the world to be of value. People who do make massive contributions to the world are great, but it is the small contributions and gestures, made on a regular basis, which really make the world work. So, appreciate your own value and allow it to raise your self-esteem.
Acknowledging the help you have given to others helps you to see that you are a person of value.
The Do's and Don'ts of Self-Esteem
7. List 50 things you appreciate about your life
Many people confuse gratitude and appreciation. Gratitude is simply letting the other person know that you are grateful for their help. Appreciation is taking the time to understand how you benefitted from the help you received, When you take the time to appreciate, you start to realise how fortunate you are and view your life in a more positive light.
As an example of appreciation, after a nice meal in a restaurant, you might say to your waiter:
‘Thank you, I appreciated your excellent service. It really helped me to relax, enjoy my meal and unwind after a long, hard day at work’.
It may seem simple, and it is, but taking the time to acknowledge the benefit you received registers with your brain much better than a simple ‘Thank you’.
One of the key things to understand about expressing your appreciation is that both people benefit from it:
When you realise that both people benefit from appreciation; why wouldn’t you take the time to appreciate all the wonderful things, people and experiences in your life?
You do not always have to express your appreciation to others but consistently taking the time to appreciate the benefits you receive will raise your self-esteem rapidly. If you do get the opportunity to express your gratitude to others, it will beneift both of you.
50 may seem a high number but the intention here is to get you into the habit of appreciating. And, you may be surprised but when you start identifying things to be appreciate; you will want to keep going.
Unlock Your Self-Esteem
For a deeper understanding of self-esteem and, a more comprehensive set of exercises to raise your self-esteem; check out 'Unlock Your Self-Esteem'.
If you struggle with low self-esteem, you need to make it a goal to raise your self-esteem. In addition, effective goal setting and achievement is a fantastic way to build your self-esteem. Learn more with the Ultimate Guide to Goal Setting.
The exercises listed above will not solve all self-esteem issues but they will help you to develop a more positive perspective of your life. This will naturally raise your self-esteem levels. It is important that you do not perform these exercises just once. Make them a habit. Once you have performed them the first time, you do not have to aim for a specific number. Just make note of the positive things in your life. You will soon find that you are noticing more and more positivity in your life without even trying. To raise your self-esteem requires awareness, patience and commitment but if you put the effort in and you turn these exercises into habits; you will soon raise your self-esteem to a whole new level.
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