Low self-esteem is unfortunately a self-fulling prophecy. The worse you feel about who you are and what you do, the less motivation you'll have to do what it takes to build your self-esteem.
From there it's easy to spiral down into a cycle of negative and circular thinking, keeping you mired in damaging--and erroneous--beliefs.
How can you stop this vicious cycle and start moving in a more positive direction?
It's a process, and it won't happen overnight, but there are things you can do to get it started and keep it moving. Here are 25 powerful ways to improve your self-esteem quickly in order to start feeling more confident.
1. Master a new skill.
When you become skilled in something that corresponds with your talents and interests, you increase your sense of competency.
2. List your accomplishments.
Think about all the things you've accomplished, then write them down. Make a list of everything you've done that you feel proud of, everything you've done well. Review your list when you need a reminder of your ability to get things done and to do them well.
3. Do something creative.
Creative tasks are a great way to put the flow back into your life. Creativity stimulates the brain, so the more you use it, the greater the benefits. Pull out your old guitar, write a story or poem, take a dance class or sign up for a community theater production. When you add the challenge of trying something new, it helps you even more.
4. Get clear on your values.
Determine what your values are and examine your life to see where you're not living in alignment with what you believe. Then make any necessary changes. The more you know what you stand for, the more confident you will be.
5. Challenge your limiting beliefs.
When you catch yourself thinking negatively about yourself, stop and challenge yourself. Don't let yourself be limited by erroneous beliefs.
6. Stand at the edge of your comfort zone.
Stretch yourself and move to the edge of your comfort zone. Get uncomfortable--try something new, meet different people or approach a situation in an unconventional way. Confidence begins at the edge of your comfort zone.
7. Help someone.
Use your talents, skills, and abilities to help others. Give someone direct assistance, share helpful resources, or teach someone something they want to learn. Offer something you do well as a gift to someone.
8. Heal your past.
Unresolved issues and drama can keep you trapped in low self-esteem. Seek the support of a trained counselor to help you heal the past so you can move onto the future in a confident and self-assured way.
9. Stop worrying about what others think.
When you worry about what others will think of you, you never feel free to be completely yourself. Make a firm decision to stop worrying about what other people think--begin making choices based on what you want, not what you think others want from you.
10. Read something inspirational.
A great way to gain more self-esteem is to read something that lifts you up and makes you feel positive about yourself.
11. Reclaim your integrity.
Define what integrity means for you, and ensure that you're living in accordance with that understanding. If your life isn't aligned with your character, it will drain you and leave you feeling bad about yourself.
12. Let negative people go.
If there are people in your life who are negative--who have nothing positive to say or who put you down or take advantage of you--do the smart thing and let them go. The only way to find your self-esteem is to surround yourself with supportive positive people who admire you and value you.