11 tips to boost your self-esteem

Some people are happy until something happens to make them sad.  Many Brits are the other way round. The HPL is somewhere inbetween – I have bouts of confidence and happiness (to the point of delirious cockiness) and others of insecurity and low self-esteem*. I have decided to work on boosting my self-esteem because its a really negative thing – it makes you introverted and distant from loved ones; stops you living life to the full; and is self-fulfilling – the fact that you have low self-esteem makes you feel even more crap.  Sigh… 

Its a funny old thing.  Your self-esteem is incredibly transient – one minute you’re backpacking round the world on your own feeling fabulous; the next, a failed relationship or problems at work or an opportunity missed or an argument with a friend, makes you feel about two inches tall. The most important thing is to take positive steps to do something about it (which in itself will make you feel better). I like lists and rules, so I’ve done a bit of reading and thought I’d share. I’m going to make 1 or 2 changes at a time, monitor how I’m doing and give myself props for doing well:

  1. Don’t compare yourself to others**.  The fact is you are unique – your purpose is to express that uniqueness in whatever way feels right.
  2. Give more of yourself to others (one of the HPL rules) – listen to your friends and family, take an interest in their lives, be caring. 
  3. Don’t be a perfectionist, totally exhausting…
  4. Surround yourself with positive, supportive people.
  5. Do work and activities that inspire you (check out the HPL events guide & wishlist for ideas of stuff to do).
  6. Avoid overdoing the booze and fags when you feel crap – aim to fit in lots of healthy pleasures.  Best ones are running (not that I ever run but hey) and yoga (which is all about self-improvement and challenges).
  7. Solve problems as and when they come up – don’t moan, think of them as challenges that will make you stronger.
  8. Respect your own needs – everyone needs certain things, thats OK. You need to work out what really fulfils you (not instant gratifications) and make sure you get it.
  9. Try to avoid “shoulds” – totally useless to remind yourself what you aren’t doing but should – either do something or don’t, work out what you want (read this How To Get A Grip article).
  10. Be true to yourself – its your rule book for living, no-one else’s. Don’t seek anyone’s approval.
  11. Every night, acknowledge all the things you did well that day. Some people talk about positive affirmations, I personally find that a little cheesy, but whatever works for you do it (see rule 10)!
  12. UPDATE: totally forgot about this one when I first posted but its really important – Dispel negative thoughts!  When you are thinking crappy things about yourself, try to stop yourself and then replace them with positive ones.

*it is rather embarrassing to admit this to loved ones, let alone publicly, but this blog is about happiness so I have to look at all facets of it and be honest *cringe*

**this relates to self-image apparently which is different to self-esteem.  Most people work on their self-image, but its best to work on your self-esteem itself.  Not entirely sure of the difference but there you go.

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