I distinctly remember the moment where I lost all my self confidence and became this insecure person. There was a complete decline in how happy I was, because I was always questioning why I wasn’t good enough and what I did wrong that could’ve made me so insecure. I was frustrated that I sacrificed my happiness and this perception I had of myself for something that wasn’t my fault, but that’s the thing, none of us have control over the moments where we are happy with ourselves and when our self esteem deteriorates.
Considering how busy our day to day schedules are, this means that we have to make a decided effort to prioritise ourselves for a moment and take care of our health and mental well-being, and consequentially our self-esteem and general happiness will exponentially increase. I learnt the hard way that it’s okay to be a little selfish and that your body and mind is a temple and should be treated with the respect it deserves in order to be the best version of your self.
Take into consideration what is hindering you from being confident in yourself
It is sometime very difficult to acknowledge what factor or incident is gradually deteriorating yourself confidence, but without accepting this issue and addressing it, none of the tips below can help you. Certain things you can consider when trying to determine what caused your low self esteem can be things such as:
- whether you have been bullied or abused verbally, mentally, physically or via cyber platforms
- lack of a job or sufficient progress in your goals or aspirations
- confusion regarding career pathways and academics
- on-going stress and pressure from certain aspects in your life
- physical illness
- mental health problems
- difficult relationships – friends, family or partner
In the case that you are experiencing symptoms of depression and anxiety or any other mental health issue, that could be triggering your insecurities, it is important that you immediately address this problem. Talking to family and close friends is the first step in helping yourself. I know that it is hard to accept let alone tell someone that you are experiencing mental health problems and from personal experience, I know that talking to my best friend was something I had to force myself to do. I had to remind myself constantly that I can trust this person and that he’d help me out because I had convinced myself that I was alone and that no one can help me out of this mess but YOU’RE NOT ALONE! Someone out there, whether it be a family member of friend, or even a medical professional can walk you through this and help you come out a happier person. Sometimes talking to a complete stranger who’s willing to listen is easier than admitting your feelings to someone close to you. It eliminates any concerns about being judged or mocked. Sometimes airing out your laundry itself can help you clarify your confusions or what is causing your insecurities and from there onward, there will be a steady increase in self confidence and consequentially how content you are with yourself.
Pick up a journal from a local stationary store and just write. It doesn’t have to make sense or be neat or perfect, as long as every thought clouding your judgement is on paper and not constantly running through your mind. With the busy schedules and constantly moving lifestyles we have, it is very easy to stop caring for yourself and your mental health. It can be writing, drawing or even scrapbooking memories or events. Taking those five minutes everyday to note down your negative thoughts or what happened can bring such a sense of relief to your mind.
I made a habit of writing down three things that I am grateful for everyday and focusing on the positive aspects of my day rather than the negatives. Once I got into the habit of writing these three things I appreciated everyday, my perspective on different circumstances or obstacles I was facing at the time changed. In addition. I also started to notice that everything wasn’t as dark and gloomy as I imagined and that there were actually many positive memories and aspects. This realisation subsequently improved my mindset and helped me assure myself that I had plenty of reasons to be happy and confident. There’s also the benefit of having a way to vent your feelings. Five minutes on your on with pen to paper, means you get your side of the story out and express your feelings with no one interrupting or judging. It will help clear your head and when you read over what you have written you get to have a different perspective of your problems. An outside view of the different obstacles and situations you face makes the biggest difference because it means that you face your confidence issues and insecurities in a more logical and realistic manner than with your vision clouded by emotions.
It is okay to be selfish. Don’t ever feel guilty for prioritising yourself and looking after yourself. This comes in many parts such as eating healthy, working out or taking time to meditate but this particular tip is about the extra bonus stuff. Pamper yourself. Get a bath bomb, fill up a warm tub and get in and just relax, or alternatively, go to the pool or beach and just bask in the sun. Put on a face mask every now and then. Catch up with the girls and get your nails done or whatever it is that makes you feel like royalty. This doesn’t have to be a special or occasional treatment. Yes, getting your nails done and getting a massage regularly can be expensive but there are certain things that you can incorporate into your daily morning and night routines. Invest in some products to look after your skin and create your own home made face masks with natural ingredients. Sit down before you sleep and spend five minutes in front of the mirror brushing your hair and pay attention to everything you do to care for yourself. Not only will you feel beautiful and have long term results of healthy skin, but by focusing on pampering yourself and taking a moment away from social media and technology to just treat your body like a temple, you are achieving so much.
This goes down to a level further than just feeling beautiful. On a scientific level, the four hormones responsible for happiness are: dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin and endorphins. With the busy lifestyles we lead and the pressure of overachieving in every aspect of our lives, the lack of self confidence and happiness can be due to over production of stress hormones such as adrenaline and cortisol. This only emphasises how significant the impact of taking a moment to prioritise yourself and your health is, on your self esteem and general happiness.
Meditation is another method that can be used to calm down your body and to relax. Try to get into the habit of meditating every day for five minutes. While it might not immediately produce results in terms of feeling happy and confident, it is an essential step that prevents you from having constant negative thoughts. It is a chance to reflect and calm down and have a better outlook on how you are progressing with goals and other events occurring currently in your life. Smiling Mind is a great app to download on your smartphone or devices for guided meditation. With multiple different kinds of meditations, it is my favourite app to use in the morning to meditate before I start my day. The long term effects on my mental health as well as physical well-being have been great and when I am faced with issues now, I am able to handle them with a calmer approach without feeling terrible, disappointed in myself or giving up.
Health and fitness
Developing a regular health and fitness routine is beneficial. I had a period of time where I felt like I was competing with all these other girls who looked amazing and I never felt good enough. Whether you’re single or in a relationship anyone can face this issue. When you’re insecure and your significant other comments on another girl or says someone is pretty, it’s common to feel that you’re competing with that person and that you’re not beautiful enough. In these moments you have to give yourself a slap in the face and say to yourself I AM BEAUTIFUL! I AM STRONG! I found that saying this to myself wasn’t enough though. For some people the constant reminder of their self worth is enough to get them back on track to confidence, but in my case I felt the need to change my lifestyle so that I was receiving more than a mental confirmation.
By adopting a healthy lifestyle, eating properly and working out I started changing my body and becoming happier with my appearance. Getting a gym membership, dancing more regularly and eating proper meals, gave me an enormous confidence boost. The physical change in my appearance and becoming the figure that I thought was beautiful really made me happier with myself and reduced the belief that I wasn’t good enough. I am nowhere near perfect or even close to being completely self-assured, but I can see an improvement in myself, both physically and mentally, and I intend on continuing this lifestyle. Most importantly, I realised that I need to stop letting other people set the standards of beauty for me. It doesn’t matter what your significant other finds beautiful or what social media depicts as the perfect body. Do what makes you feel beautiful and powerful and achieves your own perception of beauty and health.
Relationships are a confusing maze to work your way through. Throughout your life, you will meet a mixture of people who will have both positive and negative impacts on you. As difficult as it may be, it is important to evaluate who the supportive people are and who are the people that drag you down. As morally incorrect as it might feel, these people need to be cut out of your life if you want to have even the slightest chance of becoming successful and the best version of yourself. This was probably the most difficult process for me because I was in a situation where the people that I loved and held close to me and knew for the longest were the ones who were dragging me down. I tried to change them and when all failed, I tried to change myself to adapt to them so that I wouldn’t lose anyone, and that was the biggest mistake I made. It in fact ruined my self esteem even more because I was once again in a situation where I felt nothing I did was good enough to maintain these relationships. For a long time I was going through argument after argument and misunderstandings and it came to a point where I was so stressed and hurt and emotionally down that I had to let go of these people. You will miss them for a while, and you will feel like you made a mistake or hurt those people very much, but remind yourself that people come and go in your life, so direct your attention and compassion towards those who boost your confidence and happiness, and make you feel loved and appreciated.
When a guy is assertive, it’s attractive but if a girl is assertive we are automatically psychopathic control freaks. Don’t let that stop you from demanding the respect that you deserve. A mistake that I made was keeping quiet and always compromising and that resulted in these people walking over me, taking advantage of me and hurting me in ways that I least expected. Now I make sure they know exactly what my boundaries are and what I’m comfortable with in those particular relationships. If that person can’t meet your standards and respect you the way you do them, then it’s time for you to say ‘boy bye’ and find someone who is supportive and understanding of your limits.
Assertive is sexy and there’s someone out there who will believe that too and will be respectful and supportive of your believes and way of life. By establishing your comfort zones and preventing others from trampling over you and taking advantage, you immediately gain the respect you deserve and will start feeling happier with yourself. It is better to maintain one or two relationships with people who appreciate your assertiveness than many friends who disrespect you and don’t care for your comforts or discomforts. Make sure everyone knows just how beautiful and strong you feel on the inside and you will be treated accordingly.
Staying silent is like a slow growing cancer to the soul and a trait of a true coward. There is nothing intelligent about not standing up for yourself. You may not win every battle. However, everyone will at least know what you stood for – YOU.
Shannon L. Alder
In your life, always challenge yourself to improve and be the best version of yourself. Combine all of these methods or whatever works for you and hopefully, just like me, you will see a boost in your confidence and self-esteem. Cherish every moment and focus on the positive thoughts and lead a healthy and calm lifestyle and you will gradually become happy with yourself and see improvement in your lifestyle and well-being.
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