If you’re low on self-esteem, the road to fixing it may have its fair share of challenges, but here are a few tips anyone can incorporate to make positive changes today.
1. Resistance Training
Building a strong body requires discipline and focus to consistently engage in resistance training. You cannot maintain that discipline and focus without first choosing to love and care for yourself.
So just engaging in the act may increase self-esteem without any additional efforts.
Secondly, I am a strong believer that we can send signals to our mind through our body, i.e. building a flexible body sends signals for a flexible mind, building a strong body sends signals for a strong mind, strong posture sends signals for a confident mindset, etc.
There have been some studies that support this notion and others that supposedly debunk it. Take it for what it’s worth. As for me, I will go with my personal experience which, frankly, is all that really matters for me anyway.
The best part is, even if I’m wrong, the side-effect of developing these things is a strong, flexible, capable body with great posture. Now try to prove to me how that does not help to increase self-esteem.
You may also notice I didn’t mention weight loss.
That’s because I do not care about such things.
I believe in creating strength and overall health. This will lead to the proper weight and shape for everybody, so numbers on a scale, or even size for that matter, mean nothing if you are strong and healthy. If you are strong and healthy, having developed the discipline and care for yourself to achieve that, chances are you’ve done a good thing for your self-worth.
Have you ever noticed a confident person with terrible, slouched posture, head and eyes down when walking?
So stand up straight and keep your chin up, as they say.
Ever wonder why “keep your chin up” became common advice to those who were feeling down? Because we’ve likely known for quite some time, instinctively, the connection between posture and confidence. When you are feeling good about yourself and strong, you walk tall with your head up. When you’re feeling scared or worried, you instinctively hunch over.
So, if you’re not feeling so strong or good about yourself yet, reverse engineer your posture. If positive self-esteem and confidence results in positive posture, employ it to increase your own self-esteem and confidence. Impute those feelings onto yourself by walking tall, standing up straight, and keeping your chin up.
The next time you’re walking down the street, try keeping your head up, eyes up and shoulders back. Then see how that makes you feel. Does it affect your energy? Are you moving faster or slower? How do you feel overall?
3. Wear clothes that fit and do not detract from you
When it comes to style, you have a lot of different choices, but there are a couple of rules I believe all must follow.
#1 is your clothes must fit properly. If they don’t they will not only distract others by drawing attention to the ill-fitting parts, they will most importantly distract you by drawing your own attention and self-consciousness to those same ill-fitting parts.
Try to imagine walking down the sidewalk with clothes that are too tight in one area or way too loose in another. Where is your head in this scenario? Likely thinking about those areas, distracted from proper posture, from thinking about worthwhile endeavors or from positive self-belief. In fact, this likely breeds insecurity which elevates low self-esteem.
Rule #2 is to stick with classic styles that fit. Things like an overly plunging neckline or strange printed sayings on a t-shirt again draw attention away from you and the message you bring to the world. Again, you may find yourself focused on those areas like in the above scenario rather than what you should be focused on.
Additionally, by choosing shirts with sayings on them, you are choosing to broadcast someone else’s message to the world rather than your own. You would also be defining yourself by that other person’s expression rather than your own.
Defining yourself by the expression of someone else hides your own true expression, which is the opposite of self-value. Instead, be your own message, define yourself and know that you are valuable. This can only enhance your own feelings of self worth and augment your confidence.
Remember, you are not a billboard for other people to express themselves. And if you are, you should be sure to charge them for the advertising.
So, make your clothes enhance you and compliment you. Remember, you are the one in this equation who people want to get to know and who has value, not clothing. So make sure your style choices suit that equation and see if your self-confidence rises as you place that confidence in yourself rather than your clothes.
4. Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Think about how many hours a day your mind just wanders, outside of your control. Maybe you are distracted by something you see, or you watch television or listen to something online. Your mind is being pushed and pulled in many directions by the power of others.
Try consciously choosing your thoughts instead. Be an active thinker. Tell yourself things on purpose, don’t wait for thoughts to come to you, courtesy of someone or something else. You can tell yourself you are strong, calm, confident and worthy. Don’t allow others to dictate what your mind thinks.
People often make the mistake of believing they are subject to their minds, but truly it is the other way around. Our minds are subject to us. Just as we control our hands and feet and tell them what to do, the same goes for our minds. We are in control, so use it as the powerful tool that it is.
Your thoughts are very malleable and you can effectively reframe them however you’d like. For example, if you make a mistake, laugh it off because you did your best and will learn from it and do better the next time.
Nobody is perfect and nobody expects you to be either.
Now, if you didn’t do your best, be honest with yourself and acknowledge that too. Growth should always be the focus. Reframe your lack of effort into a learning experience that will make you better in the future. That’s positive and exciting.
The question is what matters. Do the results matter or does it matter if you did your best? This really does make quite a difference. Besides, if you continually try your best, the results will eventually come.
Reframing your own experience this way comes with the additional benefit of seeing others the same way. You may find yourself judging others less as you are less concerned with their results, but rather their intentions. Judge others the same way you judge yourself. Did they try their best or not? Releasing this judgement against others may have the added effect of releasing judgement against yourself. Anything else would be hypocritical. Give it a try and see how it works.
5. Put yourself together
This doesn’t mean you should get dressed for a ball every day or place excess importance on appearance. Just groom yourself and prevent yourself from looking or feeling sloppy. It is much harder to feel low about yourself when you are dressed, neat and presentable. Looking and feeling sloppy, on the other hand, has never engendered feelings of high worth, so steer clear whenever possible.
Bear in mind putting yourself together is not just for the benefit of other people. In fact, it’s not about other people at all. Putting yourself together in this basic way shows care and love for yourself, a basic tenet of self-confidence and self-esteem.
It is very hard to have high self-esteem if you are not performing actions that equate to it. Conversely, it is very difficult to have high self-esteem if you are performing actions that fly in the face of it.
Have you ever seen someone going through a deep depression about something? Perhaps someone lost a job or had a terrible event in their life. It’s stereotyped in the movies all the time for a reason. You’ve seen that scene. They stop taking care of themselves, start wearing ratty old clothes, don’t do their hair, etc. Then, when they finally get over it, they clean themselves up, get a haircut, put on clothes that fit and go outside.
Try to learn from those cues when you can. You should not dress, look or feel like the person going through devastation if you’re not. Instead, take the cue to put yourself together, clean yourself up and be presentable to go outside. Again, reverse engineer those feelings of confidence and self worth. You are signalling to your mind how to feel with your actions, so take the active steps to send the right message to yourself and see how you respond.
Bonus – Smile!
Speaking of signaling your mind how to feel with your actions, SMILE!
Really, it may sound silly, but try smiling you darkness away.
I’ve found that smiling naturally increases feel-good feelings and the longer (and bigger) the smile tends to produce the best results.
In fact, you may even find yourself laughing after a little while.
For some reason, and perhaps there is some science to back this up, the act of smiling seems to trigger genuine feelings of happiness in some people. It’s worked the vast majority of the time I have used it and the vast majority of the time I have asked others to try it.
It’s another form of reverse engineering happiness and confidence and seems to offer the potential for at least a temporary solution. And sometimes these temporary solutions, when used frequently and long enough, can become even more than that.
That doesn’t make it 100 percent effective, but it is certainly worth a try.
Long story short, if you want to feel good about yourself, start behaving like someone who does and see how things change for you. Because the truth is, you are already someone who is worthy of self-esteem. Maybe you just didn’t know it yet.
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