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Five simple steps to build up your self-esteem

Five simple steps to build up your self-esteem

Research shows that people with low self-esteem are at higher risk of developing anxiety and depression, and are more prone to suicidal thoughts
ways to build your self esteem
A study found out people with higher self esteem are happier and satisfied | Illustration by Syalima

Remember the epic 241-run innings from Sachin Tendulkar in Sydney in 2004? The Master Blaster was not in a great state of mind or form in the entire series. He had got out outside the off stump multiple times in the preceding test matches. 

But Tendulkar used self-control and mental strength to overcome the bad phase: he resisted playing the cover drive throughout the innings and went on to reach his second-highest individual score in Test cricket. 

Hope you got the drift of what we are saying. 

We have often seen celebrities and successful people being pulled down, ridiculed and demonised. A few failures and their accomplishments are overlooked and they are torn down. Blame it on the critics’ intolerance or insensitivity. But the result is a loss of self-esteem for the target of their scorn. 

Many of us, too, would have been in the dumps at some point in our lives – be it because of the feeling of not being good enough to get that dream job or harboring the notion of being inadequate in a relationship –  the key is to remember your strengths and make sure to emerge stronger out of the experience.

Some incidents affect us cognitively, physically, and emotionally to such an extent that our self-confidence dips and we go into an overdrive of self-defeat and self-destruction. Our self-image may take a beating if people judge our work negatively. The circumstances around us might compel us to look at ourselves critically making us feel miserable and despondent. We then tend may lose focus and become self-absorbed. 

A study published in Front Psychiatry in 2019 found that low self-esteem is associated with anxiety and depression. Another study from 2003 in Psychological Science in the Public Interest said people with higher self- esteem are more satisfied, happier and have fewer negative mood swings than those with a low morale. 

How then do we raise our self-esteem and respect ourselves for who we are? Here is a five-point guide: 

Get creative 

Taking up a creative task other than your daily chores or professional work is a good way to start – for example, you can join a dance class or theatre group, or write a journal.

Be a Good Samaritan 

Help someone in need. Put your skills to use in supporting needy persons selflessly in any small or big way. Does a colleague need help at work? Does anyone need to learn something that you are good at? Your playing the Good Samaritan benefits not only another person, it also distracts you from self-pity — besides making you feel good. 

Bury the past  

There is a lot of good sense in letting bygones be bygones. Dwelling on the good old days or bad times will not change your present nor undo past acts. Stop reliving them or feeling ashamed or guilty. Take informed decisions and simply move on. 

Indulge yourself 

Create a to-do list. Set attainable targets and do a weekly review of all the positive things you did. If the list looks good, reward yourself: maybe a treat at a favourite restaurant, buying that fancied outfit, accessory, or gadget, or take that long-due trip with friends and family. Do something that makes you happy. 

Think positively 

If negative thoughts have the capacity to ruin your peace of mind, positive and happy thoughts have the power to reset your mind. The more affirmative you are in your mind, the more it has the potential to keep you happy and hearty. Repeat thoughts such as “I am happy. I am healthy. I am strong” and then visualise them in you. By psyching yourself, you could even make it happen. They say autosuggestion works, remember? 

Remember, if you have been feeling low for whatever reason, now is the time to act. 

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