Tips for Building Your Self-Esteem

By Marcia Wilcox, MA

One thing that I found most helpful for myself is positive self-talk. In other words, speak kindly to yourself.

Give yourself grace and enjoy the process that works for you

At one point in life or another, we all of struggle with low self-esteem or have negative thoughts. One statistic I found states that 85% of the world’s population will struggle with self-esteem. Personally, while I was growing up, this was one of my biggest problems. It took me many years to build my self-esteem and change the way that I thought about myself. There are a lot of different factors that can influence someone’s self-esteem. Similarly, different factors influence each person differently. What one person is very self-conscious about might be something that another person hardly thinks about.

Luckily for all of us, there are ways to help improve and build self-esteem. We don’t have to accept low self-esteem as a permanent challenge. In this blog, I have outlined a few things that helped me love myself more. With that being said, I’m still a work in progress. We all are.

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem, or self-worth, is how someone thinks or feels about themselves. There are two types: high and low. High self-esteem is when someone has a positive outlook about themselves. They likely believe in themselves and feel capable and confident. On the other hand, those with low self-esteem tend to have a negative outlook on themselves. They may not believe they are capable or “good enough” for certain roles, relationships, or achievements. Like many things, self-esteem can exist on a spectrum. It can fluctuate and fall somewhere between high and low, too. In some cases, people are not even aware that they have low self-esteem. It just feels normal to them, so they don’t think twice.

Social Media

In today’s world we have a lot of access to others through social media. This includes other people’s photos, opinions, beliefs, private matters, and more. This insight can have a major influence on our self-esteem, both positively and negatively. For instance, comparison to others has always been an issue, but thanks to social media it is now a huge issue. This is because social media creates an unfair societal standard of how a person “should” look or how they “should” be. It also showcases the “best” moments for many of us, which can create a distorted view of our realities for others.

Learned Self-Esteem

In addition, the things we learn as we grow up, whether directly or indirectly, contribute to how we view ourselves. If you grew up in a household that guilts or shames you for feeling a certain way, it can lead to the belief that your feelings, needs, opinions, etc. aren’t valued or important. As an adult, you might have a difficult time setting boundaries or saying “no”, because you don’t want to risk upsetting someone. Putting other peoples needs before your own might be a subconscious indicator that you don’t feel that your needs are important.

Similarly, the way we are treated by others, online or in person, can also impact how we see ourselves. If someone is constantly telling you that you don’t matter, or that you are not good enough, you might start to believe it.

Ways to help improve self-esteem.

One thing that I found most helpful for myself is positive self-talk. In other words, speak kindly to yourself. This might look like complimenting yourself about the things you are good at; Encouraging yourself in things you are working to improve; and Forgiving yourself about things you are not proud of. Another important part of positive self-talk is reassuring yourself that the opinions of others do not need to impact what you think of yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done. That’s what I thought when I began using this technique. However, it is something you have to do repeatedly, until it becomes a habit for you. Then, you will notice the positive change. It might seem difficult at first, and you might have to overwrite other, negative habits, but stick with it. It will be worth it.

Another tip is to take time away from social media, or limit your time on platforms. Instead, spend time reading a book, enjoying time in nature, playing a card game with friends or family, or walking the dog. Similarly, do things that you specifically know you are good at. This will be a nice boost of confidence if you need it.

Lastly, talk to therapist. They are able to help you sort through the things that are limiting you. They can also help you develop tools for coping, changing your thinking patterns, and building self-esteem. Remember, building self-esteem does not happen over night. Give yourself grace and enjoy the process that works for you. Everyone is different and self-esteem is something that we can all continue to work on.

Additionally, if you are interested in our self-guided courses, visit

“Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in the world.”

Lucille Ball

Please note, the information in the article above and throughout this website is not a replacement for personal medical advice. If you or a loved one is in need of mental health services, please contact us to request an appointment or reach out to your healthcare provider.

Marcia Wilcox, MA
Marcia Wilcox, MA
Marcia Wilcox works with children and adolescents on a variety of behavioral challenges.
Marcia Wilcox, MA
Marcia Wilcox, MA
Marcia Wilcox works with children and adolescents on a variety of behavioral challenges.

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