Thursday, June 11, 2009

How to Boost Your Self-Esteem?

“I am very special, unique, and valuable person. I deserve to feel good about myself.”

Boosting self-esteem is very easy when you know what is all about self-esteem. Having self-esteem enhances the prospects of successful personal, professional and social life. It is an essential component of success in everything right from childhood, to adolescence and to adulthood. It is rightly said by Beth Graney, guidance at Bull Run Middle School in Gainesvile, Virginia that, “Adults achieve self-esteem from their achievements, the adolescents achieve from their group and kids achieve from their peer relationships.” Before we look at boosting self-esteem let us find out what is all about self-esteem.

What is Self-Esteem?

According to Goleman author of the book titled ‘Emotional Intelligence’, “Self-esteem or self-efficacy has to do with a realistic assessment of your strengths and weaknesses”.

When you feel bad about yourself from time to time you have low self-esteem. In contrast, when you feel good about yourself constantly you have high self-esteem. Self-esteem means having pride in oneself and self-respect. It is a state of thinking where one feels good about oneself. Self-esteem is all about feeling good of oneself every time whether in success or failure.

Self-esteem should not be confused with self-confidence which is related to self-beliefs and sense of being able to do something successfully. Self-esteem should not also be confused with self-efficacy which is related to certain abilities, capabilities and competencies to move towards future performance. The concept is believed to have been coined by John Milton. Self-esteem is one of the important ingredients for success. It is our ability to value ourselves. It is the overall opinion we have about ourselves. When you think that you are competent then you have appropriate self-esteem i.e. high self-esteem and when you think that you are not competent then you have inappropriate self-esteem i.e. low self-esteem.

Self-esteem comes from a sense of our own worth. It is based on true awareness of our strengths and weaknesses, combined with acceptance that human beings are, by nature, a mixture of such qualities. We are living in a society that is continually being impacted by the symptoms and side effects of low self-esteem.

Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs:

Abraham Maslow, an American psychologist, developed hierarchy of needs where in after fulfilling one level of needs, human beings will be motivated to reach the next higher order of needs. For instance, human beings look basically for meeting physiological needs like food, cloth, shelter, sex etc. While working, employees look for rest periods, work breaks, lunch breaks etc., The second higher level of needs is the safety and security needs where human beings like to be free from fear of physical, psychological and financial needs. At workplace, the employees look for job security, pension benefits, insurance etc., to secure themselves. The third higher level of needs is the social needs where they crave for love and affection and affiliation with their communities and groups. While working in organizations, they like to work in groups by forming teams which is the right example for social needs. After fulfilling these needs they crave for esteem needs such as they expect respect and recognition from others. Hike in their pay and perks, promotions and having company car can promote their self-esteem needs. The top highest hierarchy of needs is the self-actualization needs where they want to have freedom to be creative and innovative and want to pursue their passionate areas of interest. When the employees are encouraged to take up higher roles and responsibilities they enjoy accepting the challenges as they derive immense pleasure out of it.

From the above hierarchy of needs, we find the self-esteem has place for itself which is indication of its importance in human motivation and needs.


“Self pity is our worst enemy and if we yield to it, we can never do anything wise in the world.” - Helen Keller

Nobody is born with low self-esteem. Parents, educational institutions and society are responsible for creating low self-esteem among people. When our thoughts constantly rotate and revolve around the deficiencies, shortcomings, weaknesses and insecurities, we tend to develop low self-esteem. Besides, frequent failures and criticism by others may lead to self-doubt resulting into depression and anxiety. Inferiority among the people may give rise to low self-esteem. When people are not good looking they tend to think low of themselves resulting into low self-esteem. Parents are also responsible to some extent for low self-esteem among their children when they have unrealistic aspirations and expectations from their children.


Low self-esteem prevents you from enjoying life, doing the thing you want to do, and working towards your personal and professional goals. It results into improper interpersonal relations with others. One can observe anxiety, depression, insomnia, substance abuse and other self-destructive behaviors. It also gives rise to self-doubt and self-criticism. When you have low self-esteem you give in yourself to negative self-talk, like “I am not smart”.

Strategies to Boost Your Self-Esteem:

“Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it's amazing what they can accomplish.” – Sam Walton

• Love yourself first. Only when you start loving yourself then you can expect others to love you.
• Develop a healthy and positive mindset for boosting self-esteem.
• Set smart, measurable, achievable, realistic and timed (SMART) goals. Right goals take you towards right direction resulting into one success after another success culminating into higher self-esteem.
• Pursue your passionate areas of interest. Carefully listen to your head and heart and synchronize the same to build self-esteem.
• Take care of your physical, mental and emotional health. Hit gym regularly or go for jogging or swimming or walking to distress yourself. Read good books which provide you enough mental diet. And balance yourself emotionally.
• Concentrate on your strengths rather than weaknesses. Prepare a list of your weaknesses and work on to improve slowly and steadily.
• Create positive circle of friends who respect you and your areas of interest so that you can boost your self-esteem.
• Always explore the ways and means to tap your inner talents and also develop skills as the combination these two will help you to look at the world with positive attitude.
• Always start from where you are strong as it builds your self-confidence.
• Attend workshops or seminars that are free or inexpensive as it widens your intellectual horizons.
• List out and recall your past achievements. Also, list out positive affirmations and read the same daily when you get up from bed in the morning and go to bed in the night. Once it is done for a period of a month, then you find amazing results.
• Substitute your negative thoughts with positive ones. Keep busy with your commitments and goals. It helps in minimizing negative thoughts and maximizing positive thoughts. It will also help you stay focused.
• Never compare yourself with others as you are unique and different. Always focus on your unique innate traits and characteristics and also the things you like.
• Always compete with yourself and raise your bar gradually.
• Take someone you like the most as a role model so that you can draw motivation and inspiration.
• Always involve yourself in positive self-talk. Everyone has an inner dialogue. Always think internally that you are born to do great things and you are sure to achieve the same. Constant inner dialogue reinforces positive self-talk resulting into feeling good about yourself.
• Learn from failures and move forward. Never underestimate nor overestimate yourself.
• Don’t hold your anger inside. Once anger is held then it would explode like volcano. Find out what angers you and let go your angry emotions by expressing as it relieves your inner burden. Express yourself to close friends what causes you anger.
• Care less about others and especially for their unhealthy criticism. Les Brown rightly said, “Someone's opinion of you does not have to become your reality.”
• Be kind and helpful to others. When you do so, people respect your positive gesture which in turn raises your self-esteem.
• Develop the attitude of forgetting any negative events or experiences in life and forgiving others.
• Children should focus on academic excellence and extra-curricular activities and achievements as these promote high self-esteem.
• Strive for excellence not perfection.
• Cultivate the hobby of gifting.
• Practice smiling as it improves your face value.
• Build your inner strengths which helps in enhancing your physical, mental, emotional and spiritual strength.
• Do what you love to do rather than loving what you do. There is a thin line separating these two. When you do what you love to do you enjoy every moment resulting into higher self-esteem.
• Be assertive – excessive high self-esteem leads to aggressiveness and low self-esteem results in submissiveness. Therefore, it is essential to maintain the average of both behaviors which is possible by assertiveness.
• Always be grateful to God for what has been given to you. Develop the attitude of gratitude.


“Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” - Richard Bach

Low self-esteem is not a problem by birth. It is injected by various ways and means. In some cases, it is due to parental influence. The faulty social and educational environment also aggravates this problem. The fact is that self-esteem can be learned, taught, developed and spread. Let us teach kids to feel good about themselves in their childhood itself so that they grow and live with high self-esteem in later part of their lives. To sum up, respect yourself, reward yourself, honor yourself, love yourself and feel good about yourself for boosting your self-esteem.

The End


‘The Power of Self-Esteem: Build It and They Will Flourish’ by Jim Paterson.

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