Feeling good about yourself is not just a matter of confidence or changing your look, it’s about shifting your perception about yourself to a more powerful and positive one. It requires changes, some of which will be difficult for some people. It requires perseverance. Most of all, it requires you to decide that this is what you want and that it is time to start making a change.STEP 1: A Different Perspective
Stop comparing yourself to others. No one is exactly like you, so comparing yourself to anyone else is nothing more than a waste of time. When you compare yourself to others, you inevitably look for what positive things they have that you don’t, which will only make you feel bad about yourself.
Rather than just feeling envious of others, think of what you would like to be, not whom. If you can envision your goal – you can achieve it.
Build your confidence. While it’s not everything, confidence is definitely a key part of feeling good about yourself. It’s not something that you can build overnight, but as you start going, you’ll feel better and better about yourself. Adopt a confident body language – stand up straight, don’t slouch, keep your eyes up and ahead. Don’t fold your arms or fidget – you will seem more approachable and positive.
Find something you’re good at, even if it’s something you think is trivial, and take pride in it. If you have a talent – develop it. Don’t think of everything that could go wrong – think of what the best-case scenario can be and aim for that.
Celebrate your strengths. Everyone has something to be proud of. If you’re not sure what it is that you have, sit down and write a list of everything you like about yourself. Don’t stop until you’ve filled the page up with all the things you love about yourself, like your sense of humor, your patience, your compassion, etc.
Keep that list with you, so if your faith in yourself is shaken – you can pull out the page and remind yourself of all that you have going for you.
Don’t be hard on yourself if you have a bad day. We all have bad days; the secret is to remember that it’s only a bad day, not a bad life. You’ll never feel good about yourself 100% of the time, no one does! Instead, remember that “this too shall pass.”
Develop a positive attitude. While you can’t just change your attitude with a flick of a switch, you can still work on being more positive on a daily basis. Once you decide to be positive, it will become easier. Learn to recognize when you're negative or having negative thoughts. Don't run away from them, just face them and then ignore them. The more you practice it, the easier it will be.
Remember – You have much to offer! You may not feel like it now, and you may even feel useless, but you’re not. You have loved ones who need you, you have friends who appreciate you, and you possess great qualities. If you need to know it for yourself, talk to a friend you trust and ask them about what you mean to them.
As long as you remember that you’re important to people, you’ll start feeling better and appreciating yourself more.
What you look like is not everything. Beauty is subjective, and what society likes today may turn into something it will hate tomorrow. Don’t waste hours in front of a mirror, trying to hide what you find. Stop imagining what you’ll look like after some imaginary surgery or diet. Learn to feel good about yourself – it will boost your confidence.
Forget about what others may or may not think. You don’t know what people are thinking, nor what they themselves are going through. Someone might point out something “negative” in you that is actually something they are insecure about. Confident people don’t put others down, so don’t let other people’s insecurities affect you.
Yes, this may be easier said than done, but instead of pretending you don’t care, ask yourself if you really want this person to like you, and why.
STEP 2: Change the Way You Think
Why are you insecure? Is it because of how people in your childhood treated you? Does your inner voice tell you that you’re “bad” or “not good enough”? Learn to forgive the past and remember – that little voice will never go away. You need to learn to let it speak, tell it “thanks, but no thanks”, and move on.
Understand how you think. Once you’ve identified your thought pattern, you can start changing it. If you know that when something specific happens (let’s say you break a glass), your thought process goes along a path (“What have I done? I’m such a klutz. That’s why no one likes me…”), you can stop and step in another direction (“OK, it’s just a broken cup, I can buy another one.”).
Write a journal. This will help you identify your feelings, and what causes them to appear. It’s often easier to find a different path you could have taken in retrospect, so use the journal to remind you when and where those moments arise.
Your thoughts are valid. You may be angry at yourself for wanting that pastry at lunch. Once you’re angry, you punish yourself (anger is a terrible feeling, and it's very draining), which makes you weaker and eventually you’ll succumb and eat more than one pastry. You can, instead, decide to eat that pastry today, and not have another one for a couple of days. That way you don’t drain your own energy and don’t punish yourself.
Research skills that will help you cope. Once you know how you work, learn how to cope with situations. No solution is the magic cure, so find what helps you in different cases. The internet is filled with advice, and a good therapist can help you even more.
STEP 3: Take Action!
Share your work and accomplishments. When you tell others what you’re doing, they’ll almost always be supportive. Another benefit of sharing is that other people will hold you to your process and even lend a hand, which will help you continue, especially during difficult times.
Wear what you want. If you dress in a certain way just to please others – don’t. Wear what makes you feel happy and confident – this will reflect in your behavior. Forget fashion, it’s temporary and often impractical. Comfort and confidence are key.
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Learn something new. Start a new hobby, learn a new skill, read an article about a topic you’re curious about. Read about current events and then delve into the story. Watch a documentary or read a history book. All of these will give your brain a stretch, and give you interesting discussion topics, as well as opportunities to get to know new people.
Accept compliments. When someone compliments you, know that they want to share how happy they are with you. Don’t disregard their compliment, or turn it into a “yes, but I’m still not good at…” When someone says something positive about you, say “thank you” and think about it. Sometimes other people can see something you’ve missed.
Most importantly – When you get a compliment, look the person in the eyes and sincerely thank them.
Take care of yourself and exercise. This doesn’t mean you have to spend hours in front of a mirror; it means you should maintain your hygiene, cut your hair, clean your nails, etc. A clean body helps to clean the mind and makes you more approachable. Don't forget to exercise. When your body performs physical activities, more blood pumps to your brain and organs, and your brain releases endorphins (the happiness chemical), which improve your overall feeling, both physically and emotionally.
Friends are people who don’t make you feel bad about who you are. Negative “friends” make you feel miserable. True friends will support and encourage you, and contribute to your overall feeling of happiness.
STEP 4: The Long Run
Find an inspirational role model. Alive or dead, it doesn’t matter, though it’s easier to get in touch with a living person for advice. Whether you choose your mother, a celebrity, or your boss at work, this person should be able to give you advice or guidance on how to live your life, directly or indirectly.
Don’t neglect your journal. Keeping your journal will help you learn about yourself and keep track of your progress. It will also remind you how you dealt with obstacles in the past to give you a hint on how to do so again in the future.
If you need a pick-me-up, get one! If you need to hear your favorite song, take a drive, or just relax on your sofa and watch some TV – do it. Don’t waste too much time, however, just enough to give you some extra energy.
Have a support network. Friends, or other people on a similar journey like yourself could be a helpful hand when you need it, and a safety net if you feel like you’re falling. Maintain contact with them, tell them your goals and fears, hear theirs, and share advice if you have any.