5 Ways to Improve Self-Esteem

Recently, a lovely young woman approached me after church and asked if we could hang out and discuss life.  She had some concerns she needed a second opinion on, so over a cup of coffee and many laughs, we sat down and chatted about love and dating and singleness. 

I carefully watched her as we talked and while the woman radiated joy, she also gave off an air of insecurity.  It was if she was just waiting for someone, anyone to love and appreciate her.

And it made me sad because she didn’t recognize what I saw in her.  She saw unworthiness where I saw beauty, kindness and intelligence.

I tried to remind her of her value and worth and hoped it would stick -at least as far as the parking lot.

Often in life, we are the Simon Cowell in our very own version of American Idol.  We become our harshest critic and berate ourselves, compare ourselves to others and give grace to others we don’t give to ourselves. 

And because of this we walk around feeling lonely and miserable. 

When our self-esteem drops, simple criticism from others throws us into a state of agony because we are already so hard on ourselves there is little room for more.  These toxic tendencies steal our happiness and true identity.

Increasing your self-esteem based on who God says you are can dramatically reframe your perspective on life.  This involves recognizing who God is and who he says you are, ministering to your own needs and acknowledging them, accepting your strengths and weaknesses, celebrating your positive qualities and making choices that enhance your personal wellbeing.

Here are five ways to promote a healthy self-esteem:

1. Talk nicely to yourself and be your own fan! Ditch the negative thoughts such as “I’m so stupid” or “I’ll never amount to much” and replace it with positive and encouraging statements. Find verses to memorize that lift you up and fill you with courage.  Repeat… “With Christ all things are possible!” 

2. Get off the sofa and move, move, move!  Consistent physical activity wards off depression, fatigue and sickness while lifting your mood and ability to cope with stress. 

3. Acknowledge your needs. Stop putting everybody else first! (Your boss, your kids -for all you single parents, your significant other) While God tells us to be a foot-washing and humble servant, he doesn’t tell us to be a self-sacrificing martyr (Bible heroes like John the Baptist get a pass here).  Take care of the temple he gave you.  Get adequate rest, take care of personal hygiene, carve out quiet time, set boundaries, eat healthy, and stimulate your brain by connecting with others.

4. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff!  When feelings of insecurity plague you, you will more than likely replay old conversations and analyze and over analyze peoples motives and so on, wishing you could change something you said.   You will over think your behavior and lead yourself right down a rabbit hole into anxiety.   Remind yourself that you are human and imperfectly wonderful and then MOVE ON. If you need to apologize for an errant remark, quickly make amends and then let it go.  While it is healthy to pray and reflect for spiritual growth, it’s also destructive to beat yourself up over every little thing.

5. Be proud of who God made you to be!   Allow yourself to be an individual with unique preferences, thoughts and beliefs.  Don’t apologize for but celebrate your differences.  My husband Tim is the most interesting man I’ve ever met –a true character of sorts because he is quirky and knows exactly what he likes.  And truthfully his self confidence is what drew me to him.  (See Top 10 Reasons to Celebrate Tim Keller)

Remember, we can’t control other people’s opinions and how they perceive us but we can control our attitude.  Don’t forget who God made you to be!  He certainly hasn’t!  Be proud of your distinct YOU-ness!

 

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