counseling

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Some days we wake up, feeling a little insecure about ourselves—thanks to our messy hair, the zit on our nose, or the number on the scale. And other days, simply scrolling through Instagram or Facebook has us questioning our own self-worth: Man, they are so happy. Their new job looks awesome. They have the perfect hair and skin. Why can’t I be more like them? And still others, our self-perceived inadequacies bring us down for no apparent or outward reason at all. Whatever the case, a low self-esteem is harmful and demands some serious attention—because we all deserve to value and love ourselves. Boosting that low self-esteem, however, can be difficult in itself; so, to clear that hurdle, we went straight to the mental health professionals and asked for their advice. Here are 8 effective ways to boost your self-esteem, according to them:

1) Get to the root of the problem.

“Your self-esteem—whether it’s high, low, or somewhere in-between—can have a pretty huge effect on your life,” says Tina Bakardzhieva, clinical hypnotherapist and mindfulness teacher. “If you have low self-esteem an important thing to do is try and figure out what’s causing it. It could be related to loneliness, bullying, poor academic performance, neglect or abuse, being unemployed, or something going on at a deeper level.”

2) Learn to have self-compassion.

“Self-compassion is being gentle with yourself, not beating yourself up over your past decisions—it is accepting that you are human and make mistakes,” says Psychotherapist Kimberly Hershenson. “Negating your thoughts or feelings by saying, ‘That’s not true,’ isn’t helpful because in your mind, you truly believe you are stupid, ugly, out of shape, etc. You want to acknowledge your feelings without discounting them. When you get into a negative head space, you can simply say, ‘Even though I feel this way, it’s okay—I’m still worth being loved.”

3) Accomplish something.

“Ultimately the best way to boost your self-esteem in a way that isn’t just a temporary, feel-good pat on the back, is to accomplish something,” explains David Bennett, certified counselor and relationship expert. “Start writing that book. Revamp your resume and send it out to employers. Sign up for a 5k and start training for it. And, follow through with these plans to generate actual successes and accomplishments.”

4) Speak to yourself.

“Most people avoid having real conversations with themselves. Many times, though, those who don’t find the courage to speak with themselves end up not knowing themselves. And that, in turn, causes them to doubt their every move,” explains Holistic Expert, Caleb Ellis. “So, speak to yourself. And do it with all seriousness, as if you are trying to help out a friend in need. A friend whom you want to see succeed,” says Holistic Expert, Caleb Ellis. “Many times, we find ways and means to take care of others, but not ourselves.”

5) Use positive affirmations.

“I’ve seen time and time again how perspective can really change the language you use about yourself,” says Anna Morrison, certified health coach and co-founder of The No BS Supplements Company. “Using positive affirmations forces you to flip your perspective, even if it’s temporary. Over time, these affirmations become more comfortable to visualize and speak. With positive thought and words comes positive action. It’s a simple, daily activity that can have a huge impact down the road.”

6) Develop meaning.

“People feel better about themselves when they are involved in work/hobbies that bring meaning to their lives,” says Dr. Wyatt Fisher, licensed psychologist. “Therefore, you should take some steps to fill your life with things you’re passionate about that would give you a sense of purpose.”

7) Accept your imperfections.

“Unrealistic expectations and perfectionist tendencies can lead to feelings of failure and disappointment when you can’t live up to the person you believe you are supposed to be,” explains Rachel Dack, licensed clinical professional counselor. “It is important to be gentle with yourself and remind yourself that you are human and therefore, you are naturally flawed and imperfect. When you make a mistake, strive to take accountability and learn from the experience while reminding yourself that mistakes are inevitable and don’t equate to failure.”

8) Take responsibility.

“Being responsible for the things in your life means no longer blaming outside sources for your troubles,” explains Makida Bey, MA CLC Founder and CEO of the Resilience Therapy Center, LLC. “By blaming others, you are taking power away from yourself to make any necessary changes and to reflect on your life. Don’t be a perpetual victim; instead, focus on your own contribution to what has happened, learn from this experience, and move forward with the strength of this knowledge.”

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