Personal Development

Twenty Ways to Develop Life-Long Self-Esteem












How we feel about ourselves dictates everything from how we act around others to what we settle for in life. 

Good self-esteem sets the foundations for confidence, self-acceptance, and living your best life.

If you suffer from low self-esteem and have low self-worth you can turn that around and develop a better mindset and self-image.

But it will take some work.  

It involves asking yourself thought-provoking questions, changing your thought processes and developing good habits. 

And this does take time – but it’ll be well worth it.

As you embark on a journey of self-appreciation you should find that you start to feel more confident in yourself.

And you should come to realize that other people are not better than you.

It’s more that your perception of yourself is holding you back from living a fulfilling life.

Before you start, you may want to grab a notebook and pen so you can jot down your responses. It will also help you to review where you are in a month’s time and identify any key areas for improvement. 

Here are 20 tips for increasing your self-esteem so you can be your best self.

1. Identify Your Negative Beliefs

In order to develop your self-esteem, you must first identify the root causes of your negative self-image. 

If, for instance, you tell yourself that you are worthless and never good enough write this down. 

Next,  try to establish when these negative beliefs first started.

Then challenge them. You can do this by turning the self-limiting belief into a question.

So, if you tell yourself that you are not good enough, ask yourself: am I not good enough? Then challenge the thought.

2. What’s Positive About You?

When you’re feeling bad about yourself it can sometimes be a challenge to take stock of the good things.

But know that there are good things about you.

What nice things do your friends and family say about you?

What do you recognize as being good about yourself?

Aim to note at least five positive things, then make a habit of adding to this list as often as you can.

This list will help to remind you why you are a good person when you feel down in the dumps.

3. Identify What You’re Good At

What are you good at?

List as many things as you like. It doesn’t matter how insignificant you might consider some of the things to be, just list them anyway. 

Now look at your list and think about how you can make time to do more of these activities. Making time to do the things you are good at will improve your mood.

4. Use Positive Affirmations Accordingly

It’s a well-known fact that positive affirmations do not work for everyone, especially those with low self-esteem.

When you are feeling undeserving, telling yourself that you are going to be a huge success in life will contradict your core beliefs, making you feel even worse.

Instead, tweak the affirmation and tell yourself that you will persevere until you reach your goals.

5. Be Compassionate Towards Yourself

Again, this can be a hard pill to swallow when you’ve become accustomed to berating yourself on a daily basis.

But what you must acknowledge is that you are truly unique. 

Do you want to know a mind-blowing fact?

The chance of you being born in the first place is around 1 in 400 trillion! 

Just think about that for a moment.

So next time you feel like having a go at yourself, tell yourself that we all make mistakes.

We all get things wrong and screw things up from time to time – it’s called being human.

You are meant to be here and you are meant to treat yourself with the same care and compassion that you give to others.

6. Make Amends with Your Past

The past has the potential to blight your future – but only if you let it.

You can choose to work through any unresolved issues by seeking self-help books, useful online resources or a trained counselor.

One powerful technique for coming to terms with an unresolved issue is to create a coherent narrative of the event.

To do this start by writing down what happened and what your thoughts are about the situation.

Then imagine this same event happening to a child you know.

What are your thoughts about this now?

If you have been self-critical because of something you experienced as a child, it can help you to see the event from another perspective.

If you would like to read more about this there is an interesting article on the Psychology Today website.

7. Know Your Values

Think about what is important to you and what rules you live your life by. Then check to see if your values are aligned with your current life choices. 

If there is some discordance here make the necessary amendments.

Living a life that is true to your values instills a sense of confidence in you.

8. Affirm Your True Worth

A way of developing constructive emotional habits is to make a list of all your meaningful qualities. This means looking at a specific context and relating your qualities to this.

An example could be: I am a good wife/husband/ partner because I am loyal, caring and considerate.

Or I am a good employee because I am motivated and have a strong work ethic.

This is especially useful when you’ve had a setback of some kind. Apply this technique to whatever situation has left you feeling inadequate.

9. Read Inspirational Books 

Inspirational books have the potential to inspire and motivate us to do better.

Think about the areas of your life that you would like to improve then look for books on these topics.

If you would like to improve your confidence, for instance, then look for highly rated books on this topic such as The confidence Code by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman.

10. Get Creative

When was the last time you drew a picture, played a tune on a keyboard, or did some other creative activity?

If you have been neglecting some of your creative passions then set yourself a task. 

It could be something really simple like drawing or painting an image of your favorite animal or playing your favorite song on an instrument of your choice.

It doesn’t matter what your artistic expression is, but what does matter is that you get to make time to do more of them.

The beauty of creative pursuits is that they stimulate the brain while giving you the opportunity to express yourself.

And there is ample evidence to show that getting creative is good for your self-esteem.

11. Welcome Failure
Contrary to what you may think, failure is not a bad thing.

That’s right!  Failure is not the enemy that must be avoided at all costs.

The truth is failure helps us to grow, achieve our goals and attain success.

Did you know that Thomas Edison failed 10,000 times before he invented the light bulb?

The key takeaway here is perseverance.

If you can learn to persevere and not give up easily then you’ll be well on your way to achieving your goals and creating the life you want.

12. Take Pride in Your Appearance

Our appearance often affects how we feel about ourselves, so it makes sense to look your best.

Style your hair.  Wear makeup if it makes you feel good, and wear clothes that complement your style and give you a confidence boost.

13 Be a Life-Long Learner

Learning isn’t just confined to the school years; learning is a life-long process. 

The more you learn, the more you grow in knowledge and wisdom.

Inspirational people like Tony Robbins and Warren Buffet are life-long learners. 

And their thirst for self-improvement has been pivotal to their success.
14. Develop Good Habits

What habits would you like to develop and why haven’t you done it yet?

A common reason is that it can seem like too much effort whether it be to exercise, meditate, or improve yourself is some other way.

The best way to overcome this is to lower the bar drastically. 

So instead of thinking that you have to exercise for at least 20 minutes or write 1000 words a day, just exercise or write for two minutes a day.

This approach will make your new habit manageable as you adjust to your new routine. 

Then once it has become a habit just extend the amount of time that you spend doing the activity.

15. Accept No One is Perfect

Those with low Self-esteem are renowned for being too hard on themselves.

But all this does is make us feel inadequate.

We are all fallible human beings so next time you make a mistake try not to see it as a major setback.

Instead, look at what you would do differently if you were faced with the same situation again and then move on.

 16. Avoid Comparing Yourself to Others

A lot of people make the mistake of comparing themselves to others, but it’s one of the quickest ways to decimate your self-esteem.

So, rather than doing this only compare yourself to you before. Then it’s a fair comparison because only you know what it’s like to live your life.

17. Nurture Supportive Friendships

As social creatures, we need contact with others, but to feel good about ourselves we need these interactions to be mainly positive.

If the majority of the people you surround yourself with are toxic it’s not going to help you to feel good about yourself.

18. Stop Worrying About What Others Think

Would it be terrible if someone thought something bad about you?

Of course not.

Yet so many people live their lives a certain way out of fear of what others might think.

The reality is that no one can please everyone and why would you even bother trying?

So, make your needs a priority and live your life true to who you are.

19. Learn to Accept Compliments

If you typically find it hard to accept compliments then start off by tolerating them when they are given.

Initially, you may feel compelled to reject the compliment this is only because it doesn’t fit with your current self-image.

What you should do instead is say ‘thank you’ because this will help you to become accustomed to accepting compliments over time.

You might want to think of this challenge as starting a new habit.

The more you do it the easier it gets and the bonus is it will help to improve your self-esteem. 

20. Make Time for Yourself

Finally,  last but by no means least is the task of making time for yourself.

This is paramount.

You need this time to relax and work on yourself to improve your quality of life.

If you have a family, making time may not be easy but don’t feel guilty, it is necessary.

When you are well-rested and making progress it benefits your nearest and dearest too. 

Attaining life-long self-esteem is dependent on you developing and nurturing a positive self-image.

To achieve this you will need to take more of an analytical approach to your own thoughts.

So if, for instance, you start to think ‘I’m worthless’ then turn the thought into a question: Am I worthless?

Then challenge the thought, and make it a habit. 

In addition, follow the other tips for improving and maintaining healthy self-esteem.

And finally, acknowledge that you have the potential to change your life for the better.