Confidence is a game-changer in all areas of life. Self-assured individuals are often more independent, optimistic, and healthy. They may have better success in professional pursuits and interpersonal relationships. Those who lack self-confidence tend to have a negative view of themselves and are prone to more intense feelings of anxiety and depression, especially when they experience failure or rejection.
Low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence can cause long-lasting mental health issues and lead to destructive behavior and harmful decisions. Boosting your self-esteem and feelings of self-worth can drastically improve your life. The process of improving your confidence can be challenging and time-consuming, but taking the necessary steps to become more self-assured will be worthwhile.
Understand What Influences Self-Esteem and Self-Worth
Before you begin improving your self-image, you should strive to understand what contributes to how you view and value yourself. By taking this step, you can more effectively introduce productive, direct habits that may have a more profound impact on your confidence.
Several factors can influence your self-worth, such as:
- Your perceived ability and talent
- Your judgment of your effort and initiative
- How well you perform at professional, interpersonal, and recreational tasks
- How you feel about your appearance
- Your net worth and your attitude toward your wealth and material possessions
- Your job, your professional goals, and your career history
- The perceived attitudes of your friends and family members
- The social status or reputation of members of your social circle
- Your accomplishments, your failures, and your belief of what you should achieve
Much of your sense of self-worth stems from what you do, your idea of success, and your perspective of yourself compared to societal standards and the lives of others. An important thing to remember is that these factors should not define you; in other words, you are worth more than your accomplishments, your career, and your skillset.
Understanding the factors that contribute to your self-worth can help you identify areas that may have a negative impact on your self-esteem, giving you a starting point for improving your confidence.
Challenge Negative Thoughts and Beliefs
Improving your self-esteem and self-worth requires a lot of introspection. While dwelling in your own headspace can be frightening or discouraging, especially when you have a surplus of negative thoughts, learning to identify and combat negative beliefs about yourself is an essential part of boosting your confidence and living your best life.
You may find that you hold several negative beliefs about your appearance, intelligence, personality, interests, career, and more. These thoughts may manifest when you are alone and reflecting on past conversations and interactions, or they may present themselves in moments where you feel vulnerable or insecure.
If you find yourself thinking and agreeing with negative thoughts, actively work on challenging them. Contradict the beliefs by expressing positive thoughts about the same topic. Find evidence to the contrary. Write down these new beliefs and the supporting evidence for future reference. The goal of this exercise is to directly challenge your negative beliefs by countering them with positive affirmations and conditioning yourself to be more confident.
Affirm Your Worth (Especially When You Feel Unworthy)
When you have a negative experience like romantic rejection or a missed opportunity, you may find it easy to fall back on negative beliefs about yourself. At times like these, affirming your worth is especially important, but you should make an effort to routinely remind yourself of your positive traits and intrinsic value as a person, as well.
One exercise you can try involves making a list of positive attributes you can identify about yourself. If you have experienced something negative, you may opt to focus on positive things related to the specific experience, such as qualities that make you a good partner or a skilled worker. Simply writing this list can help you feel more positively about yourself, but you can also expand on these traits by writing about why these traits are valuable.
When striving to affirm your worth, you should be careful to use effective statements to prevent unintentional setbacks. Broad, elevated affirmations like “I will get my dream job!” or “I am going to marry my soulmate!” may seem positive, but individuals with low self-esteem may struggle to truly believe these sentiments, even if they are the ones expressing them. Individuals with high self-esteem and self-worth can benefit from similar statements because their self-image is more aligned with the sentiments expressed above, but if you have low self-esteem and are trying to build yourself up, starting small and making more general, low-stakes statements can have a more positive effect on your journey.
Low self-esteem and self-worth can be limiting or even debilitating. The tasks of challenging negative beliefs and affirming your worth as an individual do not always come naturally to individuals with low self-esteem. Improving your self-esteem tends to result in greater confidence and independence. Individuals with high self-worth often have better interpersonal relationships, greater success, and greater levels of happiness. When striving to improve your self-esteem, remember to take small steps toward improving your confidence. This process takes time and consistent effort. Speaking to a mental health professional can give you better insight into the roots of your low self-esteem and self-worth. Such professionals can also provide additional resources and tools to help you improve your self-image over time. At Sober Life, we want to help you grow and become more self-assured. Our team will support you on your path to improving your self-esteem and self-worth. If you struggle with low self-esteem, contact Sober Life at (619) 542-9542 for more information on our mental health services.