Your self-esteem is a muscle.
Yes, you read that right. Just like those biceps and triceps, your self-esteem needs a daily workout; Everyday practices that help PUMP YOU UP!
Over the years, you may have struggled with this muscle. Lord knows I have! Most especially as women, our self-esteems get a real beating. It gets fed all the wrong nutrition: media that criticizes our bodies, overbearing relatives that remind us we’re not enough, “failures” that knock out our internal value, and negative self-talk that reinforces all of it.
This is all self-esteem JUNK FOOD. So, naturally, to build this muscle, we have to feed it the HEALTHY FOOD it needs to rebuild it, strengthen it, and allow it to work for our well-being the way nature intended.
So here are my 8 easy as pie tips for PUMPING UP YOUR SELF-ESTEEM!
1. PRACTICE SELF-PRAISE
You, my dear, are your number one champion. You are the voice you hear more than any other voice in the world. Seriously! The voice in your head is your best friend, so why would you let that voice knock you down?
Instead, turn that voice into a loving, positive voice. Choose one thing per day to praise, no matter how small. For me, it was getting up and doing my daily 15 minutes of meditation today. When I’m done, and throughout the day, I’ll say, “Congrats, Tahira my love! You did so well.”
I know, I know, it might feel weird at first, but DO IT ANYWAY! In other words, fake it until you make it. Do it until you start to believe it. Before you know it, you’ll have reconditioned your self-talk.
2. SWAP THE BAD FOR THE GOOD
Another way to reinforce positive self-talk is to swap every negative statement you make about yourself for 5 positive statements about yourself. Maybe the statement’s “This is too hard!” or “I’m not talented,” “I’m not smart enough,” or “They’re better than me.”
Swap those mean girls out for some loving mind-friends instead. Let’s take one of mine as an example.
When I first considered applying to graduate school, I was completely overwhelmed and got down on myself. Because I struggled as a student in elementary school, I had major self-doubt and my mind minions came out to play. The words “It’s too hard! I suck at school. I’m not smart enough!” came up a LOT.
Let’s take a look:
“It’s too hard! I suck at school. I’m not smart enough!”
“This is difficult, but with patience I’ll get to that graduation ceremony.”
“I’m doing the best you can with the resources I’ve been given.”
“I pursue my goals for the fulfillment, not for the accolades.”
“I am an amazing student who moves at my own pace.”
“Everything is in divine flow and on divine time. I’m doing my best!”
3. ONE MONTH OF POSITIVE MANTRAS
Be the loving parent or guardian you hoped for growing up. Or maybe it was a grandparent, coach or teacher who fell short of your expectations of love. Either way, create a mantra of positivity out of what they did not give you growing up.
In my case, I felt that I didn’t hear enough “I love yous” and “I believe in yous.” As a child, I wanted to know I was safe and that my parents were there for me in the face of adversity.
My mantra: “I believe in you. I love you. I am here for you. You are safe in the world.”
What would yours be?
4. PRACTICE LOVE
For some of us, telling ourselves that we love ourselves might be incredibly uncomfortable. Societally or culturally we were never taught to spend time on practicing self-love, so when we’re finally asked to look in a mirror and tell ourselves that we love ourselves, all we can see are the imperfections of our body, instead of the perfection of our souls.
This next exercise is very simple, but may feel very uncomfortable at first because we haven’t had enough practice. But the point is to practice!
So, every day for 30 days straight, look yourself in the eyes in front of a mirror or any device where can see into your eyes and say: “I love you.”
The eyes are the window to the soul, and your soul is made up of infinite love and perfection.
5. LIVE IN CHILD-LIKE JOY!
As children we are very transparent. What we love we exclaim to the world. Painting? Yes! Dancing? Right this second! Swinging on swings? What are we waiting for?!
But as adults, the same things that brought us such joy feels off limits. Swings and finger-painting are for children after all, right? Nope! What we’ve been taught is immature or child-like is actually the spirit’s way of savoring the joy in this world. Growing up doesn’t mean giving up the things that bring us joy.
So, do that thing you loved to do as a child, whether it was painting, riding a bike, roller skating, dancing, or swinging on a swing. Do it!
If you can’t remember what you loved to do as a child, ask someone you trust who knows you well, and have them remind you.
6. ASK FOR PEER SUPPORT
We sometimes walk through life in this constant state of self-critique. But have you ever stopped to wonder what the people who love you most think of you?
Try this experiment: Ask 3 people who you love and know you well (remember these should be allies, not frienemies) to give you 3 things about you that they love or admire. Write it down.
It may be that they think you’re wise, kind, strong, a fighter. You’ll be surprised what you’ll find out! It will also sit deeply in your heart to know that there are people out there who feel this way about you.
Keep your notes and look at them every day, giving yourself permission to believe in them, especially on the days when you’re having trouble practicing self-love.
7. CARE FOR THE CHILD WITHIN
Now, there will be days where you just can’t muster the energy or love to change that voice in your head. You might feel so terribly down on yourself that the loathing you feel for yourself cannot be overcome.
On these days, think of yourself as your Child Self. Imagine that you’re not talking to you, adult Tahira, but child Tahira. Find an old photo of yourself as a child, and imagine that you’re saying the negative self-talk to her, “You’re stupid! You’re worthless. You’re not enough!”
Ouch! A lot tougher to do when you’re saying it to an innocent child, isn’t it?
Because the fact is that if a child did face the same obstacles you were facing, you wouldn’t put her down, you’d pump her up! It would hurt to hear her call herself “stupid” and “worthless.” You’d encourage her instead.
Here’s the thing though, that child in that photo still exists inside of you, and SHE’S the one you’re obliterating with the negative self-talk. Imagine her when you’re feeling at your very worst, and muster the energy to be there for her, and give her the loving talk she needs.
8. EXERCISE DAILY MEDITATION
Finally, the greatest gift you can give yourself that will also boost your self-esteem is alone time. This can be done in the form of meditation, physical activity like yoga, or another spiritual regiment like prayer.
Whatever you choose, the main objective is to be still, and spend time alone with yourself to rejuvenate your energy and purpose. When we allow this time for breathing and stillness, we get in touch with our core connection to the universe, and that energy is always on a vibration filled with love. Recharging on that love is the greatest cure for low self-esteem.
There you have it, a mini-gym for your self-esteem. It may feel difficult at first, but over time you’ll build the muscle you need to effortlessly exude confidence.
It’ll become second-nature to say to yourself, “I love you! You’re fantastic!”
Hugs and healing,
How do you pump up your self-esteem? I’d love to hear your tips and tricks in the comments section below! Also, don’t forget to purchase my EGUIDE, “Emotions: Secret Weapons That Heal, 6 steps for achieving emotional freedom.”