Q: Dear Dr. Sherman,
Lately I feel like my self-esteem is low and as a result, I’m not as happy. I feel myself comparing my life to others and I often criticize myself. I know this isn’t good. Do you have any tips on how to start feeling better about myself and my life again.
A: Dear Sheila,
Thanks for reaching out. It’s very common to be hard on ourselves and to compare ourselves to others so hopefully these tips will be helpful to you and to others reading this. Let me know if any of these suggestions help!
10 Ways to Improve Your Self Esteem:
1. FOCUS ON WHAT YOU DO LIKE ABOUT YOURSELF:
We all have imperfections that we don’t like and that’s what we think about most of the time. How much better would you feel if you spend most of your time focused upon your positives? Why don’t you try it and let me know!
2. NOTICE YOUR SELF-TALK AND CHALLENGE LIMITING BELIEFS:
Your negative self-talk will often sabotage you with limiting beliefs. For example, it may say, ‘You are too old to meet a romantic partner.’ This is where you need to challenge this belief and find an exception. For example, ‘Madonna dates and many women have remarried in mid-life.’
3. PRACTICE GRATITUDE:
What you focus on expands. If you appreciate your life than you will begin to appreciate yourself as the creator of it. Start a gratitude journal to count up the ways you are blessed.
4. CREATE A SUCCESS JOURNAL:
Instead of focusing on what isn’t working in your life, jot down the baby steps you’ve successfully taken with your goals. It can be little things like ‘Went to therapy today, went to the gym or gave a talk for 5 people.’ It is these little things that lead to bigger goals over time.
5. HELP OTHERS & MAKE A POSITIVE DIFFERENCE IN THE WORLD:
It is easier to see how lucky you are when you help others who are struggling. Plus, by helping make others happier, we often help ourselves in the process, since we are all One. Lastly, if you work to make the world better, you usually feel a sense of agency and connect more with the love that you are.
6. REMEMBER, YOU’RE A PART OF GOD:
If you believe that we are all sparks of God, then it is hard to deny your greatness and infinite creativity. Remembering that you are a spiritual being in a physical body will remind you of your glory.
7. PRACTICE UNCONDITIONAL LOVE, ACCEPTANCE & FORGIVENESS:
When a baby comes out we don’t berate it for crying and lying there. We love his or her essence and potential. It would be great if we could choose to love ourselves that way, to forgive ourselves for our mistakes and to accept ourselves where we are in our lives right now.
8. STRIVE TO BE WHOLE & NOT PERFECT:
Today many people want to be perfect. They want the best job, car, house, financial situation, looks etcetera. We are so focused on outside things and perfection that we sacrifice wholeness, which includes our weaknesses. Sometimes we learn the most from our challenges and we can choose to embrace them, thank them and learn more about ourselves and life.
9. BE PRESENT:
I always say that most of our suffering comes from when we are in the past or future. If we just focus on what we are actually experiencing now, life becomes more manageable. It is also easier to be kind to yourself in the present moment. Notice what is happening now and choose whatever supports your highest good, values and growth. You can’t go backwards and change things and you can’t know the future.
10. LEARN TO BE AN AUDIENCE OF ONE & TO APPROVE OF YOURSELF:
We spend so much time worrying about the judgment of others. This makes us hide our light so that we live under the radar. It is a huge boon when you develop the freedom to be authentic, share your truth and become an audience of one. Choose to approve of yourself.
My Best in Love,
Dr. Paulette Sherman
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