6 Surprising Tips for Building Self-Esteem
Robin D. Webb
What do you think about when building self-esteem? Would you consider how you would do this? Do you know what self-esteem is? Self-esteem is defined as confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. It entails an individual’s belief about themselves (i.e., I am worthy of respect) as well as their emotional perspective. (i.e., anxiety or depression).
If an individual is struggling with low self-esteem, they may not know what options or resources are available to them. The individual may feel overwhelmed or experience discouragement.
Building your self-esteem does not have to be intimidating. Your Heavenly Father, God wants you to have greater self-esteem, so that you can accomplish the plans that He has for you (Jeremiah 29:11), plans to build up His kingdom on earth and to glorify him.
You are set apart to accomplish great things, and God will help you through building your self-esteem, so that your works will be established (Psalm 90:17) and His will is performed and completed through you for His glory.
The following are six surprising ways that building self-esteem can be accomplished.
Why do you want more self-esteem?
Educational decision-makers are excited and proclaiming the term metacognition. Meta means “behind” and cognition means “knowing.” When you combine these two terms, they describe what is behind your thought processes.
Why are leaders in our education system so excited about metacognition? It’s because metacognition has the power to unlock ownership. When we can own why we believe or think something is true, we can also accurately evaluate why we think something is true.
How does understanding why we believe something help with building our self-esteem? Practicing metacognitive questioning can help us determine when a thought that we had believed to be true, might actually be false.
Messages communicated to us as children are easily accepted, but as adults, we have the ability to evaluate and question information that we receive. We would ask ourselves, “Why do I think this is true? Why do I think this description defines who I am?”
When we learn about the value of asking why we think the way we do, we can think about how the positive thoughts we carry, charts a strong pathway toward building self-esteem.
Determine your values.
Understanding what you value is a key component of self-esteem. Researchers have long explored the idea that people who have a greater sense of purpose live longer, happier lives. It makes sense that when we start to value what is important to us, we move closer towards our purpose.
One way to consider what you truly value, is to look at how you’ve been spending your time. If the bulk of your time is spent reading, you might conclude that you place a high value on learning. If you spend a good deal of time sorting recyclables each week, you can own the fact that one of your values is taking care of the earth.
Determining what you value can equate to purpose when you connect the two concepts. And purpose helps each of us view our place in the world with more clarity. Our thoughts and actions becomes less about us, and we begin to focus more about our service contributing to something greater than ourselves.
Rehearse and memorize Scripture.
To rehearse means to “to practice” or “to mentally recite.” Similar to studying for a test or trying to remember the words of a song you want to sing; our brains retains what we practice or think about over and over.
Have you considered searching for Bible verses about self-esteem? Learning about how God sees you can help you determine what is true and what is not true. Some Scriptures to start with are Psalms 139:13-14, Proverbs 3:25-26, and Luke 12:7. These verses are reminders about how God created us, His presence with us at all times, and the value He places upon us as His children.
Another verse that is helpful to see yourself from God’s perspective is 1 Peter 2:9 NIV, which says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light.” This verse can affirm your value anytime you need encouragement.
Ask trusted friends and family what they like about you.
While self-esteem should not rest completely in our own attributes or talents, learning what is good about us, helps us remember the care that God took in creating each one of us uniquely. Letting those close to you know that you are working on building self-esteem can be challenging. Asking outright, “What do you like about me?” may seem too bold or require too much vulnerability.
Instead, start by sharing with your friend or family member what you like about him or her. A simple “I appreciate” statement can affirm who they are to you. Often, you’ll find out in their response how they feel about you. For example, you might tell your spouse, “I appreciate that you are good with numbers and math because it’s not an area where I am strong. Thank you for being so diligent with our budget and finances.”
Not everyone will provide an appropriate response or begin their next breath with “I appreciate”. At the very least, you would have spent some of your energy building up someone else. That alone can lift your spirits when you are struggling.
Serving someone else may be tied to what you value or where you feel your purpose lies. But it can also just be a simple act of kindness that reminds you of the good there is in the world – and in you.
Make a list of ten things that you would like to do for another person or organization. You may decide to pay it forward the next time you are at a drive-through restaurant. Or you could simply offer to return someone’s shopping cart for them in the grocery store parking lot.
Even small random acts of kindness can reveal a part of God’s image in you. After all, Genesis 1:27 NASB says, “So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.” When we practice small acts of kindness, we reflect God’s image to others.
Read a book or watch a movie about someone inspirational.
When we are struggling with our own self-esteem, it is easy to compare ourselves to others. If you find yourself rehearsing statements in your mind such as “I could never do what he did,” or “I’m not nearly as pretty as she is,” you may do well to look at another example.
When books or movies are made about inspirational people, how often are they about someone’s appearance? Do they usually highlight a person’s perfection, first-time mastery of a skill, or a lack of failure? No.
Very often, inspirational books and movies feature someone who has overcome great tragedy or adversities, someone who has failed and had to keep trying before becoming successful, or someone who was marginalized by many but rose above it.
Reading a book about a champion or a hero can remind us that people aren’t remembered for doing everything well. They are remembered for one choice, one act of courage, or one refusal to give up.
Think about historical figures that you may have learned about in school. Rosa Parks. Susan B. Anthony. Abraham Lincoln. Winston Churchill. These are leaders who made a difference because of one cause, one choice they made, or one self-sacrificing vision they had. Were they perfect parents? Probably not. Were they always right in everything they did? Most likely, no.
When we look up to a hero or historical figure, we can be reminded that their “fame” comes from a part of who they were that was appreciated – not everything that they did. It is easy to criticize ourselves when we can’t do everything well. Instead of focusing on what you aren’t learning fast enough or have not yet accomplished, try to remember the heroes of which you’ve read about or watched in films.
Would you like more about building self-esteem and inspiring you to see yourself how God sees you? The counselors at Seattle Christian Counseling are here to help. Reach out to us today to learn how to build up your self-esteem according to biblical principles.
“The Best Gift is You”, Courtesy of Dakota Corbin, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “You’re Capable”, Courtesy of Alysha Rosly, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Love Who You Are”, Courtesy of Sharon McCutcheon, Unsplash.com, CC0 License; “Love Yourself”, Courtesy of Annie Spratt, Unsplash.com, CC0 License