You can't touch it, but it affects how you feel. You can't see it, but it might be there when you look at yourself in the mirror. You can't hear it, but it's there when you talk about yourself or when you think about yourself. What is this important but mysterious thing?
It's your self-esteem!
Know, accept, and focus on your strengths and work on your weaknesses—that, in a nutshell, is self-esteem! Self-esteem can have a big part to play in how you feel about yourself and also how much you enjoy things or worry about things. Self-esteem isn't about bragging, it’s about getting to know what you are good at and not so good at. The most important thing to know about self-esteem is that it means seeing yourself in a positive way that's realistic.
Here are a few other things that you can try to increase your self-esteem:
Make a list of the stuff you're good at. It can be anything from drawing or singing to playing a sport or telling a good joke. If you're having trouble with your list, ask your friends or family to help you with it. Then add a few things to the list that you'd like to be good at. Your friends and family can be great resources to help you plan a way to work on those skills or talents.
Give yourself three compliments every day. Don't just say, "I'm so great." Be specific about something good about yourself, like, "I was a good friend to Jill today," or "I did better meeting that deadline than I thought I would." While you're at it, before you go to bed every night, list three things in your day that really made you happy or that you feel thankful for.
Remember that your body is your own, no matter what shape, size, or color it is. If you are worried about your weight or size, you can check with your doctor to make sure you're healthy. Remind yourself of things about your body that are pretty darn good, like, "My legs are strong, and I can walk through the Mall at a speedy clip."
Remember that there are things about yourself you can't change. You should accept and love these things—such as skin color and shoe size—because they are part of you.
When you hear negative comments in your head, tell yourself to stop. Remind yourself of things you're good at, and if you can't think of anything, ask someone else! You can also learn a new skill (for example, zumba, self defense, a musical instrument) so you can feel good about that!
By focusing on the good things you do and all your great qualities, you learn to love and accept yourself—the main ingredients for strong self-esteem! Even if you've got room for improvement (and who doesn't?), knowing what you're good at and that you're valuable and special to the people who care about you can really help you appreciate who you are right now.
I Care, Barb