Depression thrives on low self-esteem. Having low self-esteem means we often see ourselves in an unforgiving, and skewed perspective. We might struggle to assert and express ourselves. Feeling as though we’re always the toxic, negative person in a relationship or situation. As though we’re ruining the lives of those closest to us and as though we’re lucky that they’re putting up with us.
Because we feel this way, it can be hard for us to have any clarity over whether our relationships or circumstances are toxic to us. We struggle to take a step back and to see our value. Blaming all that is wrong, on ourselves.
When we are unable to see our own value and abilities, it affects our actions and our thoughts.
Signs of low self-esteem
– Comparing ourselves to our peers and seeing ourselves as lacking in some way.
– Blaming ourselves for the actions of others.
– Seeking approval/validation from others from others.
– Feeling frightened to reach for our dreams because we have so little faith in our abilities.
– Feeling undeserving of help and kindness
– Playing down achievements
– Fearing rejection.
– Feeling helpless, hopeless, worthless and unlovable.
– Considering ourselves a burden.
– Giving so much of ourselves to others, that there’s nothing left for us.
– Putting ourselves down
– Never feeling good enough
– Feeling unable to accept compliments or translate them into pity
– Taking constructive criticism as a personal attack
There isn’t a quick fix to rebuilding self-esteem. It doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, self-compassion, self-acceptance, patience and mindful action. It’s also a work in progress.
You might not know where to begin and so we’ve put together some steps that you can take to start building your self-esteem back up.
Be Mindful of Self-Talk
If we’re repeatedly told the same things over and over, we’ll eventually start believing them. It’s super-important then, that we make the effort to be aware of our self-talk, of the things we repeatedly tell ourselves. Negative self-talk can really alter our perspective on the world and our role in it. The problem with negative self-talk is that over time, it can become something which happens automatically – we don’t even realise we’re doing it. In order to change that, we need to start being super mindful of our thoughts. We need to consider whether the expectations we place on ourselves are realistic and fair. Whether we allow ourselves to make mistakes and learn from them, or make mistakes and erode ourselves with the contact belittling and ruminating.
Limit the Time You Spend With People Who Make you Feel Icky
As we grow, our relationships with other people change too. Sometimes the relationships grow with us, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes we spend time with people and we don’t really enjoy it, it doesn’t feel like a choice but an obligation. Sometimes we don’t know how to say ‘no’ and so we bend backwards to accommodate the needs of others. Try to prioritise spending time with those you enjoy spending time with. Those who you would absolutely choose to see. Practise saying ‘no’ too. It’s not easy, but it does get easier over time.
Break Things Down Into Teeny Actions
Pick something – a task, a goal, a dream. Break it down into the smallest possible action. Take that action. And then repeat the process. Each time you complete a micro action, your faith in your abilities will grow incrementally over time. Teeny actions tend to be achievable, maintainable and not at all overwhelming.
Make a Concerted Effort to Practise Self-care
Self-Care really matters and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Actions speak louder than words. The negative self-talk can be unbearably loud, overbearing and persuasive. When we take small actions of self-care, we’re sticking two fingers up at those thoughts. We’re taking back some of the power. We’re showing our negative thoughts that actually, we ARE worthy of care and kindness.
Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
We only see what people want us to see. We live in a world where people project the best versions of themselves online. Their success does not equal your failure. It’s a heavily edited version of their lives that we see. You’re only seeing the very best bits of their story, not the hard work, heartbreak nor self-doubt.
Each and every one of us is individual – in our personalities, life experiences and perspectives. We’re not on a level playing field with our peers, we never have been. Playing the comparison game is futile, our low self-esteem means we’ll always end up feeling inferior.
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