These days, the word “self esteem” is loosely used to describe acts of doing or buying things for ourselves. It can be hard to recognize and maybe even a lot harder to practice due to so many definitions we hear from different channels. However, what you need to know at the start of your journey is that there is no one correct way to practice self-esteem. It can mean different things to different people, depending on what they value as individuals.
Although it has recently become one of the trending hashtags on social media, self-esteem is actually very important. Understanding what this means to you can be a challenging road, but it is absolutely necessary to go through your lowest moments.
If you’re someone who still doesn’t know how to love yourself, we’ve put together a short guide to help you start your unique and empowering journey. Here are some easy ways to practice self-esteem:
1. Connect with yourself.
Our thoughts are the most powerful tools to keep us grounded and at peace. Just by being attentive, you will learn to understand and disentangle all your thoughts, emotions and desires. Go set aside some time to write in your journal to process your feelings for the day. How did you feel about the changes you went through at work or at school? What made you happy and grateful today? What do you want to have or become in the future? By simply answering these questions, you will be able to see what motivates you as a person and understand what will make you positive.
A quick exercise? Try guided meditation. There are tons of apps that can help you get started. Ten minutes of meditation in the morning can help you tune in.
2. Take care of yourself.
Taking care of yourself is a prerequisite for loving yourself. Once your basic needs are taken care of, you’ll have more time to think about what’s best for you. People who love themselves exercise, eat good food, and have healthy interactions with loved ones. Make sure you do at least one activity to meet your needs for the day. You can just do it by taking a ten minute jog, cooking your own lunch, and checking in with your friends and family.
3. Stop comparing.
In today’s world, it’s so easy to compare yourself to others. You open your phone, see your friend’s travel photos, and instantly feel sorry for yourself. Everyone seems to be having their best loves while you are on your couch and their life unfolds through your smartphone screen. Does it sound sad? This is because it really is.
When we compare ourselves to others, we open ourselves up to thoughts of self-deprecation, which we try to remove from our life. Stop this cycle of comparison and focus on your own progress. You are not on the same timeline as the others.
4. Forgive yourself.
We are human and subject to bad decisions. While it is true that we must always take responsibility for our actions, it is also true that we must forgive ourselves. Mistakes are natural for us, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Mistakes don’t mean you failed. It only means that you can try again.
5. Have limits.
Setting limits is necessary in order to love yourself. There are some things you think you should refuse, and that’s absolutely okay! Part of this process is understanding which activities and relationships are healthy. If you ever find yourself in a situation or relationship that is harmful to you, it’s okay to say “enough is enough” and walk away.
People who have no boundaries tend to be abused, both emotionally and physically. By showing people what your limits are, you teach them how you would like to be treated as a person. This is true for any relationship, whether it is with coworkers, family, lovers or friends. If someone ever crosses your borders, don’t be afraid to abandon them. Remember, self-love is about choosing what’s best for you. You don’t have to compromise your values if you aren’t comfortable with the idea.
6. Invest in your growth.
Who doesn’t want to see their loved ones grow as people? As someone who loves yourself, you should also be excited about your own progress. Start your growth process with soul-searching. Ask yourself questions like “Where am I today compared to my goals?” “Who should I become in the future” and “What are the steps to follow to grow better?” Try to write your answers in your journal and use them as guides as you go. This writing exercise will also do wonders for your self-esteem and confidence.
7. Live intentionally.
This is probably the most important piece of advice I received in my early twenties. To live intentionally is to live with a purpose. Your goal doesn’t have to be very complex at first. You can start with “Live Meaningfully” as your sole goal. Design your life around the things that will make you happy, and you’ll soon find that you’re much closer to completely loving yourself – flaws and everything.
Building a habit of self-esteem is the most useful practice you will build in your life. This will undoubtedly be difficult, asking you to let go of old habits that are not serving you. You might even have to let go of relationships that unknowingly make your life harder to live. However, it will also teach you how to be really happy and how to be a better person. Most importantly, it will inadvertently teach you to love other people too. As the very famous drag queen RuPaul says in every episode of her show, “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you going to love someone else?” Can we get an amen?