How to Improve Your Self-Esteem – The Ultimate Guide

What is self-esteem?

Self-esteem by definition is the value you’re giving to yourself.

Depending on the way yhow to be happyou measure your value and worth you can be on the positive side of self-esteem or the negative side of it.

We are now about 7 billion humans on planet Earth. And no matter how hard or long you search, you will never find one single person among these 7 billion humans, to be perfect.

No person is perfect. And yet, we are trying so desperately to be perfect.

Almost all of us want to be, if not perfect then, at least, above average. So the bar for “above average” goes higher and higher and no matter how hard you try you could end up feeling unsatisfied with your performance because we can’t be all above average.

The good news is that you don’t need to be nor perfect nor above average to have an enjoyable and fulfilled life.

Quick Navigation:

  1. The 3 pillars of self-esteem
  2. Reality check
  3. What causes and ways to overcome low self-esteem
  4. Characteristics of low self-esteem
  5. Activities to boost your self-esteem
  6. Things to focus on to build your self-esteem
  7. What to expect now that you are improving your self-esteem

The three pillars of self-esteem

3_ pillars_ SE1. Accept yourself as you are.

The measurement of your value should come from inside you and not to the standards of others.

See yourself as a piece of a puzzle. With some people, you are a perfect fit, with other people you will never fit no matter how hard you try.

This fact has nothing to do with who you are, and it has nothing to do with how great, smart and good you are. It’s simply the fact that each of us is a perfect fit in one picture or more, but not in all the pictures.

Ask yourself:

  • In what pictures you want to fit?
  • In what puzzles your best is enough?
  • Who are the people you’re a perfect fit for?

Ask yourself these questions because a big part of what gives you your true value lies in the answers to these questions.

So, first, accept yourself as you are. You are a perfect fit for many people and many situations. Find your perfect place and expand when you feel like it, not when other people are asking you to do it.

2. You are the person who’s defining your personal image.

Build a strong positive ego which means to know who you are and who you’re not. Value your abilities, skills, talents, and potential. Whenever you doubt yourself, remember, you are a unique individual and like any other unique thing in this world, you are invaluable. There are things that no one else knows to do better than you do. And, if you still doubt yourself, do it anyway because you’re growing more through your actions and behaviors rather than through what you believe and what you think about yourself.

3. Learn to give up.

Have you ever heard the saying: ”don’t ever give up!” ?


Probably we all did.

And we have adopted it into our life like it’s a universal truth. Then, we go on and on and on doing something even if we clearly see “this is not going well” until it hurts so bad that someone or something from outside has to intervene to say STOP! Just Stop!

  • Give up on trying to satisfy everybody.
  • Give up on those dreams that turned into nightmares.
  • Give up on the people for whom you feel you’re never enough.
  • Give up on everything and everyone that stops you achieving the best you.

Reality check


1. If you have low self-esteem I want you to know that Your problem is not the biggest.

Other people have lived through it. Your situation is NOT impossible to solve.

After all, self-esteem is a product of your mind, and that means it’s in your hands to change it, to improve it. Get to a point where you no longer think or talk about it and it’s something that comes naturally to you.

It will be who you are with no explanations needed, with no words needed, with no definition needed, with no thinking needed.

This is not to say that if you have low self-esteem is your fault (See here what causes low self-esteem.)

I want to warn you that:

  • seeing on paper things, you may lack in,
  • remembering the bad done to you,
  • being reminded of things you may have lost in life for not having self-esteem could make you sad.

We start with these things because you need to know where you are standing today. You have to acknowledge your starting point today.

However, stay until the end and discover how you can change your self-esteem in positive and get to live a great and fulfilled life.

People that have self-esteem don’t know they have it. They don’t think about it, don’t speak about it; it is simply the way they are.

And this is my goal for this series of articles on self-esteem:

when you finished reading, for you to be that person that acts and behaves with confidence, self-appreciation and ultimately, with self-esteem without even thinking about it. To just be the person you want to be.

2. No matter what you lack in, you are compensating for it with something else.

I worked with people that told me:

“I could never like myself because I’m ugly;
I have a big nose;
I’m not as smart as my peers;
I’m …”

Yes, some of the things you are telling yourself are true, at least, they are true from your point of view (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, for example.)

Yes, we are not all smart, beautiful, talented, rich, bubbly or successful in everything that we do.

Yes, you are not perfect and yes, welcome to the club! The rest of us, we are not perfect either.

Each of us has some flaws, some things that we are not too proud of. However, I want you to know that no matter what you lack in, you are compensating for it with something else.

Plus, your self-esteem shouldn’t be tied up to just a few negative details about you, ignoring the many factual positive details about you.

As I’ve said, self-esteem is the product of your mind.

No matter how you look like, no matter how smart you are, no matter how wealthy you are, no matter how many friends you have, you can build up your self-esteem because it’s up to you to give yourself value.

I’m saying this because sometimes, we are mistaking some facts about ourselves with the causes and with the effect which is low self-esteem.

For example:
Being not too good looking or not too smart or financial disadvantaged doesn’t cause you to have low self-esteem. Yet, having low self-esteem can make you believe that you are not pretty enough, that you are not smart enough and so on. Low self-esteem can cause you to notice and accept as true only the negative facts about yourself.


Whatever you might lack in, you are compensating for it with something else.

For every one negative fact about you, there are other tens of positive facts about you. It is all about what you choose to notice and not about how great you are.

And now we will talk about a few causes for low self-esteem and some ways to deal with them.


14 causes and ways to overcome low self-esteem.

Even though self-esteem is the product of your mind, having low self-esteem is not your fault.

Let’s see a few possible things that made your mind value you less than you are actually worth.

1. Traumatic experiences and events.

Situations when a traumatic experience or event can cause low self-esteem:

  • You haven’t received the proper support following the traumatic event.
  • You feel judged/ blamed for the traumatic event.
  • You felt lonely and abandoned.
  • The person that caused the trauma hasn’t been punished as you’ve expected.
  • No one listened to you or those who did listen, responded to you with no compassion or understanding.
  • You feel like you can’t tell anyone what has happened and the event, even though it wasn’t your fault, it feels now like a big shameful secret.

These are just a few examples of how a traumatic experience or event can lower your self-esteem. Most probably you know other examples as well, examples lived by you or someone you know.

2. Parents or family in conflict.

We tend to take things personally.

Everything is about the “me.”

At the intellectual level, as an adult, you do understand that those conflicts and fights you’ve been subjected to were not about the “me.”

However, at the emotional level, it is possible that you still, to this day, feel like it was your fault in some way, that you have caused it.

And you know what? It was about you! Even though you didn’t cause the conflict, it was about you.

It was about you because you’ve probably felt powerless, you felt that you need to make yourself small and insignificant, so you don’t cause even more conflicts.

It was about you because no matter how selfless you are, the center of your universe is you. You live inside of your mind and your body and you know only what is happening there, in your mind and your body. So yes! It is about you!

If it isn’t about you yet, make it about you.

  • You’ve been the one that suffered, with no fault,
  • you’ve been the one that had no voice,
  • you’ve been the one that paid the price, and the price is your self-esteem.

This doesn’t mean to start blaming people.

Even though they do deserve to be blamed and shamed, to heal yourself and to build up your self-esteem, take one step above being like those who’ve wronged you. Go above by looking at yourself with compassion and understanding.

3. Being unable to meet your parents standards and expectations.

Sadly, some people are born with a job. Their job is to accomplish in life what their parents didn’t or to exceed their accomplishments.

You are expected to do extraordinary things and to be exceptional.

We are not all super bright and super gifted. Most of us are simply average!

4. Poor academic performance.

There are many reasons for poor academic performance, and surprisingly enough, many of these reasons have little to do with how smart, talented or dedicated you are.

Regardless the reasons, the consequences of poor academic performance can be devastating, especially if you’ve been born into “the job.”

5. Being part of a family or group that people have a prejudice against.

Prejudice can bring towards you a negative attitude from other people.

A negative attitude could make you feel the need to overcompensate; makes you feel the need to prove yourself over and over again.

Feeling ashamed, confused and maybe fake can take you one step further from liking yourself and one step closer to low self-esteem.

6. Being different.

Being different will draw attention to you. Sometimes, unwanted attention and sometimes negative attention.

People usually don’t talk about the ordinary, don’t laugh at the ordinary, don’t judge the ordinary and don’t even notice the ordinary.

So, being different can make you a target for all these things and, at times, all that attention gets overwhelming.

Celebrate what is different about you.

You are unique, and your uniqueness brings something new into the world, enriches the world and the world of those around you.

First, let people get familiar with what is different about you.
Second, educate people about what makes you different.
Third, use what is different about you to stand out in a positive way.

7. Having as role models people with low self-esteem or negative self-talk.

You can’t be different than what you learn.

You learn behaviors, attitudes, language patterns and even beliefs from the role models in your life.

If your role model/s as a child had low self-esteem, you modeled that.

You don’t know what you don’t know, and you can’t know about things you don’t have the awareness that exist.

8. Repeated neglect, punishment or/and abuse.

Feeling safe, protected and loved is essential for a positive mental state.

Each of us wants to know that we are worthy enough, that we value enough, that we count enough to have a soft place to fall.

It happens that this soft place to fall instead of being a place of calm, safety, and protection, to be the exact opposite of that. It is confusing, is it not? The hand that is caressing you to be the same one that hits you as well?

9. Being the receiving end of other people’s frustrations, stress, sadness, and dissatisfaction with their life.

Some people don’t know how to face their problems, so they are taking them on those around.

You have no fault in it. Yet, again, you are the one paying the price for others inability to cope with life, or to solve their problems, or to express what they want.

10. Lack of praise, affection, interest, and feeling loved.

You are put on this Earth to be loved and to love back. To be appreciated and to appreciate. To be offered affection and interest and to offer attention and interest.

If these basic human needs are missing from your life, of course, you will find it hard to value yourself and to see the good that is in you.

11. Being bullied.

Bullying can take many forms, from teasing and name-calling to hitting/kicking and offensive hand gestures, from threatening harm and spreading malicious rumors to embarrassing in public and taking or damaging someone’s things.

When we talk about bullying, we most often think that this behavior is happening only among school children. However, if you’ve been the end receiver of bullying, you know too well that this is not so.

Bullying can happen to anyone, at any age, and in many different environments: school, work, among friends, in the family, among neighbors.

With the advancement in technology, being bullied is no longer limited to just one environment. The bullies are going with you everywhere you go with the help of the internet and phones.

Some forms of bullying can be easily recognized. Other forms are harder to name and acknowledge especially when

  • is done to you by someone that you love and supposedly loves you back
  • or someone that you can’t escape from due to the circumstances, someone such as a sibling, a parent, a spouse, an employer, an authority figure, a friend.

Emotional blackmail is one of such forms of bullying that is harder to recognize and acknowledge.

YouTube video

The good news is that the society now knows that bullying is not an “innocent” character builder, but it’s a weapon that affects negatively and has the potential to destroy lives.

Therefore, today, you have many tools and a lot of help at your disposal to deal with bullying in a way that you come out of it victorious.

If you are bullied, don’t suffer in silence. Ask for help!

12. Receiving confusing messages from media and society.

These are the times we are living today:

In one hand, you are told how you deserve, how you worth, how you are entitled to only good and amazing things, but you rarely get those good and amazing things.

On the other hand, you are asked and encouraged to give only positive things to everything and everyone that surrounds you. And when it comes to you, you are asked and encouraged to analyze yourself constantly, to criticize, to blame, to question, to doubt, to better, to lift up, to put down, to put yourself aside.

Plus, you are told that ego is such a bad thing.

All these conflicting messages can be confusing and can make you feel that you are not good enough; that must be something wrong about you considering that you don’t get the things you are told you deserve, and you are entitled to. No wonder that so many of us are having low self-esteem.


Pick up almost any magazine and you notice how on one page you deserve, you are worthed and how you are entitled and on the next page you are not skinny enough or tall enough or smart enough or who knows what else enough. Not to mention the beautiful airbrushed “role models” that you should compare yourself to.

A few years ago a supermodel was asked in a TV interview, what was the most difficult issue in her life. The answer was, to say the least, surprising.

She said her biggest issue was that she could never look in real life like she looked on the Billboard that she was passing by every day on her way home.


You are expected to conform yourself to the rules, and after you do, you receive grievances about not being outstanding; or you are blamed for the consequences of conforming to the rules.

Take as an example, when you go out; people expect you to EAT! ALL and everything that is put in front of you. You are “cool” and you belong, only when you do.

But then you are blamed if you get overweight.

The same goes for drinking alcohol.

At the end, people tell you: “We didn’t force you to [eat, drink]. It is your fault.” But the reality is that you are often forced to eat or drink or to do things that you are blamed for later.

Social media

You probably see each day cuts from the lives of a few dozens of people out of few thousands of people you have as your internet friends.

You see and receive mainly exciting things about those people. People rarely post how bored, uninspired, lazy or unsuccessful they are, right?

People rarely post how bored, uninspired, lazy or unsuccessful they are, right?

This fact can make you feel like your life is boring, ordinary and totally lacking in excitement.

It can’t feel any other way when you compare the life of one single person to selected frames out of the lives of few dozens selected people.

It is like selecting the best scenes from thousands of movies and comparing them to one other single movie.

13. A negative internal dialog and self- talk.

The person whose words have the biggest influence on you and your self-esteem is you.

You don’t need other people to bully you to be bullied. You don’t need other people to put you down to feel down. You don’t need other people to oppress you to be oppressed.

You don’t need others to put you down to feel down. You don’t need other people to oppress you to be oppressed.

Why? Because if you have low self-esteem, most probably you are very good at doing all these things to yourself.

Now listen, if you start blaming yourself for it, it’s (only yet) another way to make yourself feel miserable.

14. Keeping the “big horrible secret” to yourself.

What secret am I talking about?

It’s that secret that keeps you up at night. It’s that secret you believe if others knew, your life will be ruined forever.

It is that secret that makes you feel like a fraud and you are afraid it’s only a matter of time until people will know what a horrible person you are for it.

What is the “big horrible secret”?

For some people can be the innocent “I like chocolate too much”, for other people can be the not so innocent “I’ve betrayed my best friend” and for others can be things that are not their fault, things such as “I’ve been molested, abused, victimized.”

The negative impact on your self-esteem is not measured by the gravity or the subject of your secret (if you have one), but the significance of that secret to you.

I’m not a huge fan of sharing your secrets. I’m a huge fan though of making amends, dealing, solving, getting over whatever keeps you from being the great person you want to be and you can be.

Characteristics of low self-esteem
how to turn your self-esteem on positive

Note: We are talking now about you and only you, so I ‘ll formulate the characteristics in questions rather than statements because not all the characteristics of low self-esteem apply to you. You know better what is true and what is not true about you.

1. Do you neglect yourself?

If you have low self-esteem most probably you don’t take care of yourself. You could see self-care as a waste of time, or you could believe that you are not worthed to take care of yourself.

2. Do you doubt yourself?

Doubting yourself means to have a debate with yourself. Most times this debate becomes a negative self-talk and at the end creates a negative self-image.

Listen, no matter how wise or smart or knowledgeable a person is, this person can’t be/ do perfect every time. We are all making mistakes. Making mistakes is an essential part of getting to your goal, of being successful.

Gather all the information you need on the subject you have to take a decision on and decide.

Yes, it will happen, sometimes, not the take the best decision. However, any decision is better than no decision.

Are you a master at doubting yourself? If you are, start right now using this skill to doubt the things on the following list.

Start doubting that you are not:

  • good enough
  • loved, liked and appreciated
  • smart enough
  • beautiful enough
  • skilled enough
  • …  (add here the things you KNOW you should start doubting about yourself. Those things are the negative things that you are telling to yourself.)

I’m not saying to change your mind right the way. For now, just start doubting!

Start doubting and give yourself the chance to discover who you actually are.

This world needs you!

3. Do you have low self-confidence?

Self-esteem and self-confidence are linked to each other.

If you have one, most probably you have the other one as well. If one is low, most probably the other one is low as well.

Both, self-esteem and self-confidence are equally important, and both are defining the kind of person you are.

Self-esteem is about who you believe you are (I am).

And self-confidence is what you believe you can do (I can).


The tricky part about having low self-confidence is that you need to prove your capabilities before you can improve your self-confidence.

You can’t be confident about a particular ability before you are actually doing it.

Your success is giving you the self-confidence to do it again or to try similar things.

However, you need to know that self-confidence is not in a continuum.

Depending on the task or your goal, your self-confidence will fluctuate from high to low and the other way around.

This fluctuation is normal, and once you build and improve your self-esteem, you will be more than able to deal with this fluctuation in a way that does not affect negatively your success, but helps you to grow your capabilities more and more.

Many people believe that they are not confident enough. And many people consider having high self-confidence imperative to accomplish their dreams, to get to their outcomes or to even set goals in the first place.

Self-confidence is not in a continuum because it depends on more than one factor. But, we actually, are doing just fine to be less confident sometimes.

I would like to give you an example.

In evenings, when it happens to be tired, my confidence levels are extremely low. It feels like I will not be able to do any of the things I set to do… ever!

So, I’ve learned to use this lack of confidence, induced by tiredness, to be critical of my plans.

It’s the perfect opportunity to put on paper all the possible reasons for my plans not to work.

Then, the next day, confident again, I can see the criticism more objectively and sort out the valid objections.

As you can see, it’s not just that the self-confidence is not in a continuum but more that that, we can benefit from the lack of confidence.

The secret is to accept the fact that you can’t and shouldn’t be confident all the time and use all those moments when you’re not confident to grow.

Think about it!

When are you more inquisitive? When you lack confidence. When you are unsure, you’re asking questions, you’re searching for answers and solutions.

When are you the most open to find out about new things? When you lack confidence about those things. You don’t want to learn things that you already know, right?

When do you acknowledge you need a change? When you lack the confidence that what you’ve been doing is not good enough.

There is, though, one self-confidence that you should have as much time as possible. That self-confidence is the confidence that: whatever will come your way, you will find ways to deal with it.

Whatever will came your way, you will find the means to deal with it.


And this self-confidence is the easiest to prove.

There are a few “lucky” ones that have no challenges in life, no pains, no obstacles. The rest of us, we are having them all: all sorts of things to solve, all sorts of situations to face and so on.

All of this hardship that you’ve encountered, you passed it sooner or later. So, you know that you can deal with almost everything.

Your life so far is the proof.

You dealt with things so far, so you will be more than able to deal with everything else. It makes sense right?

The best predictor of the future is the past, and the past says you will come out from any situation you will be faced with.

Every time you doubt yourself, think of all of those difficult situations that you have encountered and … you are here!

Remember, the only confidence you need as a continuum is this one:

Whatever will came your way, you will find ways to deal with it.

For specific tasks or skills or actions, self-confidence will come from the successes you will have. You can’t possibly be self-confident about your driving before learning to drive, right? Those who are confident about their driving skills before learning to drive are a danger to society.

You can’t be confident about mastering something before building few examples that you can do it.

You can be confident, though, that as you’ve done in the past, you can learn almost any new skill and become a master at it.

If you beat yourself up about the times when your self-confidence is low, low will remain because you will not give yourself the chance to prove to yourself how great you can be, how many amazing things you can accomplish.

Are you expecting to fail because your self-esteem and self-confidence are low?

Do it anyway!

Be as good to yourself as you are to friends that failed you.

You are giving them the second chance and sometimes the third chance and sometimes even the tenth chance.

Why? Because you have compassion for them.

You know that they are doing the best they know how, yet their best doesn’t always have the result you are expecting.

Have compassion for yourself as well. You are doing the best you know how at the moment in time.

4. Are you reluctant or afraid to put yourself first?

Sometimes maybe you don’t put yourself first because you believe that someone else needs urgently your attention. Other times maybe you don’t put yourself first because being altruistic gives you positive feelings.

What about the times when you don’t put yourself first out of fair?

If you have low self-esteem, probably most times you put others first even though you might feel:

  • you feel bad about it,
  • you feel bad about yourself,
  • you feel used and taken advantage of,
  • you feel as if a piece of the real you is fading and disappears each time when you deny yourself the right to put yourself first.

Yes, there are situations where it is a positive thing to put others first.

However, if this occurs every day and in almost every given situation, most likely you are doing it out of anxiety or out of fear.

You might have the fear that you will not be loved, accepted, liked or perceived as a good hearted person, a good parent and so on.

The result of putting others first all the time will not bring you love, nor acceptance, nor will you be liked more.

The result will be that you get tired; you could develop a resentment towards the people you are always putting in front of yourself and from here there is just one small step to ruin a great relationship.

Usually, if you put others first due to having low self-esteem, most probably those people don’t ask you nor expect you to put them first or to sacrifice yourself for them. So they will not appreciate your effort, and they will not be thankful for it.

What should you do?


Take the advice from the flight attendant before taking off “Secure the oxygen mask on you first and then assist other people.”

Putting yourself first doesn’t mean to be self-centered or selfish.

For example:

It is one thing to wake up with the great thought: “What can I do today amazing for my spouse?” and another thing to do nothing all day but attending the needs of your spouse with total disregard for your needs.

5. Are you reluctant or afraid to trust your opinion, ideas, and judgment?

Trusting your opinions, ideas, and judgment, starts with allowing yourself to feel and go with the feeling you have.

Trusting your opinions, ideas, and judgment, it’s more a matter of choosing rather than lack of self-esteem. However, It becomes an issue of self-esteem when you beat yourself about it.

Almost everything that you beat yourself about will eventually become a self-esteem issue because you stop giving yourself the chance

  • to do your best,
  • to bring out the best in you,
  • to prove to yourself how great and capable you are.

6. Are you occupying your personal space?


Claim and occupy your space.

Your body posture and where you position yourself in a room has a significant effect on your self-esteem.

Get out of your comfort zone and make yourself seen.

Stay in the center of the room.

If you are a shy person, this exercise will help you with your shyness too.

When you claim your space, and you’re occupying a central position remind yourself that you deserve that place, and you are not under any obligation to speak or entertain people around.

So, get out of that dark corner where you feel comfortable hiding.

Little by little you will feel comfortable in the center too, and you will know you deserve to be there.

These three things are going hand in hand causing one another and feeding one from another.

Being lonely carries with it a social stigma and that can cause you to have low self-esteem:

”No one want’s me”

“I don’t deserve to have friends.”

Having low self-esteem can make you isolate yourself:

“I better not go out or meet my friends because I’m not good enough for them.”

“Why would anyone want me as a friend when I can’t do anything right?”

“I am unloveable.”

Low self-esteem and loneliness will make you feel unsafe:

“No one cares about me.”

“If something happens, no one will help me.”

“I can’t rely on anyone but myself.”

“I could die tomorrow, and no one will even notice.”

Feeling safe is one of the most vital needs a person has. And feeling safe doesn’t come from living in a bunker or having the latest security system, or carrying a gun.

Feeling safe comes from the people that you gathering around yourself.

You need to have a soft place to fall.

You need to know that people around you love you enough to care about you and if needed will care for you.

When you don’t feel safe, your self-esteem level drops, dramatically, because you might think that you have caused, in some way, to be unsafe.

You might believe that there is something wrong about you, and that’s way people don’t jump to protect you, to embrace you, to offer you comfort and empathy.

If you feel unsafe, most probably you start isolating yourself because you trust no one.

And this is the vicious cycle that you might go around and around and around and time isn’t solving it but is making it worse because, as I’ve said low self-esteem, loneliness and feeling unsafe feed each other constantly.

The good news is that starting to solve any of these three issues, will automatically have a positive effect on all three. The change and the quality of life are dramatic and immediate.

So let’s see, one by one, what can you do to get out of this cycle.


If you are lonely most probably you’ve got here by isolating yourself or allowing someone else to isolate you from the rest of the world.

Loneliness comes gradually, and you will not know that is happening until you just notice that there is no one around you.

You are not left out by your friends and loved ones because you are not good enough for them or because they don’t love you or because they don’t want to spend time with you.

What happens is that every time they invite you somewhere, and you say no, you are sending a message: “I don’t want to spend time with you.”

Even though your reasons have little to do with them, we all live inside of your own mind, we take everything personally, and we spend most of our time being self-absorbed.

Plus, any relationship you have needs maintenance.

Get “out” of the internet and get “into” the real world as much as possible.

Keep in touch with people that are important to you. Make them feel important and when you meet/ or communicate, make them feel good about themselves.

Set the rules of engagement. Who’s calling who, when, how? Don’t leave things to chance.

A few tips to improve your safety feelings.

Have a talk with your loved ones.

Delegate, who is responsible for you in case something happens. You could believe that people don’t want such responsibilities, however, those people that really love you will take it because they will see it as an honor and duty.

Discuss hypothetical scenarios with your friends and loved ones and ask them what would they do if you are in those situations. You could be surprised. You don’t know what you don’t know.
Be willing to offer back what you’re asking for.

Surround yourself with people that you like and like you back.
Don’t be afraid to ask what you want to know.

Maybe you haven’t realized this before, that loneliness and feeling unsafe are such major components in low self-esteem. However, now that you know about it, you can change your life and the value you’re giving to yourself by discovering more about who you are.

Get connected, feel safer and your self-esteem will automatically rise.

8. Are you accentuating your negative points?

I would like to believe that this article is perfect, but is not. It is not perfect because there is no such thing as perfection. It can be perfect for you, though, is it not?

All humans have good points and not too good points as well.

If you remember, at the beginning I said that self-esteem is the product of your mind. Accentuating your negative points will produce low self-esteem because where your attention goes, your energy goes as well. Plus, your unconscious mind does not allow you to be a liar.

What this means is that your mind will do it’s best to prove that you are right, good are bad doesn’t matter as long as you are right, as long as you are telling the truth.

If you choose to notice mostly the negative side of yourself, you will most probably “garnish” this image with a detailed mean and hurtful self-talk.

And your mind does the best to prove right every statement that you are making about yourself.

“I’m not worthy.” Your mind shapes your behavior towards not being worthy because, as I’ve said, your unconscious mind doesn’t allow you to be a liar.

9. Are you overly concern about what people might think of you?

The human is a social animal. So, yes, we do care about what people think of us and to some extent we should care if we want to belong.

I guess you know that no matter how hard you try you will never be able to satisfy everybody. Some people like oranges and other people like apples. No matter what you will do to an orange, the apple lovers will remain apple lovers and the other way around.

However, the harder you try to satisfy everybody the fewer people will be satisfied with you.

Being concerned about what people might think of you comes from too much thinking, too much analysis of how you behave or how people responded to you in different situations. If the response were negative, too much thinking about it could make you draw the conclusion that it was your fault in some way.

People will think of you what they want to think of you and sometimes what people think of you have nothing, nothing to do with you, with who you are, but has everything to do with who they are.

What people might think of you is subjective and shouldn’t be the determining factor of your behavior of your feelings about self.

Your values and morals should be the base of your behavior and actions because, at the end of the day, the person you need to satisfy the most and to be admired and accepted by, it’s yourself.

Allow your morals and values to guide you. They already contain the right dosage of caring you need to have to be a good person, to be the person you want to be.

You can’t control what people think of you. What you can control, though, it’s the way you behave and the way you respond to other people’s behavior.

As long as you are doing the best you know how it should be enough for everybody around you. Those who are not satisfied with that, don’t deserve your attention and effort.

10. Do you give yourself credit and the merit of your accomplishments?


It could be hard to give yourself credit and the merit of your accomplishments if you have low self-esteem because:

  • You could disregard the effort you have put in.
  • You could think that it is a too small accomplishment to be acknowledged.
  • You might consider that your accomplishment is due to chance or somebody else.
  • You might have the tendency to emphasize what you don’t accomplish and by doing so, your accomplishment could look too small and insignificant.
  • You could be afraid that give yourself credit, and the merit of your accomplishments can make you self-centered and arrogant.
  • You might view acknowledging your accomplishments as a proof of having a big negative ego.

Giving yourself credit and the merit of your accomplishments is actually reinforcing positive behaviors and actions.


It is not about vanity; it is about building a map for yourself:

  • A map that will help you in your journeys towards what you want and need and desire.
  • A map that will save you time and energy.
  • A map that will help you to stay focused on your goals.

11. Do you accept compliments?

A few things that might stop you to accept compliments if you have low self-esteem:

  • You don’t believe you deserve the compliment.
  • You attribute the accomplishment that you are complimented for, to other people or chance.
  • You see accepting a compliment as a lack of modesty.
  • What you think about yourself doesn’t match what the other person is saying about you.
  • You are afraid that if you take the compliment, it means that next time you have to do it even better.
  • Compliments make you feel uncomfortable – you don’t know how to reply, or you are in the spotlight.
  • You think that you are complimented because the other person knows how “bad” you are, and they are complimenting you, only to make you feel better.

How not to receive a compliment

Don’t say “it was nothing.”

Apart from the fact that you put the effort in accomplishing that something, you might be perceived as arrogant.

Even though your reasons to say “it was nothing” might come out of low self-esteem, for the other person could mean “For you might be difficult but for me it was nothing.”

Don’t reply with the few examples you have of not being/ doing great.

“Ah, you haven’t seen anything! This was just one off. Usually, I’m terrible at this. Just let me give you a few examples then you will see that I’m a fraud.”

Don’t put yourself down and then complete the smearing with 100 reasons why you should stay there (down.)

Don’t feel under any obligation to return the compliment. If there are things that you can truthfully and honestly compliment the other person for, then you can do it. But do it when you want and not because you feel obligated.

How to receive a compliment

Say “Thank you.”


If you have doubts that the compliment is dishonest or empty flattery, which in full honesty, happens from time to time to everyone, ask the person that is complimenting you, to be specific.

What exactly are they praising you for. (Pay attention not to transform yourself into an inquisitor or to get aggressive about it).

Why should you accept compliments in a graceful way?

Most probably/ most times you deserve it.

If you make people repeat the compliment few times because you didn’t accept it, and they will repeat it! You make them feel uncomfortable:

“This person thinks I’m lying,” “This person believes I want something…I was just making a compliment!”

You have earned the appreciation, the respect and the admiration of other people, it is the right time to own what you’ve earned!

After a few times of saying “thank you” out of courtesy, you will start believing that you deserve to receive compliments, and this is a huge step in improving your self-esteem and your self-confidence.

12. Are you mean to yourself but good and kind to others?

To be good and kind to other people comes mostly from your morals and values and out of the need to collaborate.

However, it comes from a strong desire to be accepted and liked. No matter what is your self-esteem level, I bet you want to be liked, don’t you? You want to be perceived as a good person. You want to build yourself a positive image in the eyes of people around you.

Do you believe that being good and nice to other people results in being liked, accepted and loved? I do!

If you do too, imagine giving yourself the same treatment: being good, nice and pleasant to self.

Do you realize that if you start treating yourself as good and as pleasant as you treat others you will accomplish the same result with yourself? You accept yourself as you are, you like yourself as you are, you love yourself as you are.

If being kind, good and nice works with other people why wouldn’t work for you as well?

13. Are you having a negative internal dialog?

How do you end up with low self-esteem?

The first thing is a negative internal dialog.

I haven’t said negative self-talk because a negative internal dialog includes everything that you’re telling yourself, not just about yourself, but about everything that’s surrounding you.

It is about what you chose to notice.

We have a few “dead” times throughout the day.

Times such as:

  • waiting for the bus,
  • waiting in line and
  • any other waiting time.

You can start shifting your thoughts towards positivity by using these dead times.

Every time you need to wait for something, take your thoughts purposefully towards the positive things that are around you.

Start noticing the beauty around you.

Search for those things that give you pleasure to look at, to listen to.

It doesn’t have to be something out of ordinary.

  • It could be a person smiling at you,
  • it could be a cute pin in a girl’s hair,
  • it could be a mother being kind to her children,
  • it could be the color of a passing car,
  • it could be the architecture of a building.It could be absolutely everything that is around you.

Search for the beauty around you and you will be surprised how many things you’ve missed in the past.

Allow yourself to enjoy the great things around you and your mind will reward you with happy, positive thoughts.

You will always notice and see only the things you’re searching for.

If you have the habit of searching for your negative points, only that is what you will find because you don’t have the awareness that you have positive points as well. You become blind to them.

Your mind is working like Google or Amazon are operating.

If you search a subject on Google, Google will start showing you the subject you’ve searched for. The more you click on that subject, the more related things with that subject Google shows you.

If you search on Google, let’s say the word “depressed,” Google shows you dozens of pages about depression and almost nothing else. But this doesn’t mean there are no other dozens of pages about how to be happy.

You will not see the pages about how to be happy, though, because you haven’t searched for happy, you’ve searched for “depressed.”

Your mind does the same to you: you will find what you’re looking for.

This exercise is the first step in changing the way you are speaking to yourself. And it is powerful because you don’t have to change what you believe about yourself or what you believe about anything else, you simply search, observe and notice.

I guess you heard the expression “fight or flight response” However, have you heard about the submission response? Maybe not.

When you have negative thoughts, these thoughts are an aggression on your mind and your body.

Do you fight them? Do you run away from them? No! Most likely you are submitting to them. You’re allowing yourself to be tortured by submitting to negative thoughts or negative comments that people are making about you.

Change the way you’re speaking to yourself. Stop submitting to negative thinking. First, fight it and then submit yourself to positive thinking.

Why submission? We tend to choose submission because is comfortable; it’s peaceful. However being comfortable and peaceful when it comes to negative thinking is poisoning your mind and your life.

How is peaceful to submit to negative thoughts about yourself?

“I’m not beautiful, I’m not worthy of being happy, I can’t do anything right, My hair looks awful, My parents don’t love me.”

Every time you talk to yourself this way is peaceful because you don’t fight it, you don’t even dare to debate the validity of these things. You don’t allow yourself to doubt them.

You are taking all these negative thoughts for granted as if they are facts about you and, not just simple subjective opinions.

“I’m ugly” no fight, no debate, just submission, therefore, peace, but with this kind of peace, comes a heavy, heavy price: you are unhappy.

I will not debate with you if you are beautiful, if you are smart, if you are worthy, if you are loved, if you are whatever is that you’re telling yourself that you are not. Some of the things you are telling yourself are true.

Most negative things, though, most probably are not. However no matter how much or how long I or anybody else, even yourself, will tell you all the positive things about you, you will not believe us because your mind could tend to be stuck in focusing only on your shortcomings.

We all have them! The only difference between you and people with higher self-esteem is where the focus lies most of the time. That is the only difference: where do you tend to focus your attention and energy.

Where do you tend to focus your attention and energy?

Let’s say this is how you see yourself today.

If you have low self-esteem, you made a long list of negative things that you believe about yourself. Some things are true, some things are not true.

Then, you have a short list of things you like about yourself.
Because you made a very long list of shortcomings, you will most probably gravitate towards that list, and you will not have the energy to gravitate and elongate your positive list.

So, starting right now, you train your mind to gravitate towards your positive list no matter how long or short it might be. Your focus, your attention, your energy, and your thoughts should be on your positive traits.

The more you will accept the good things about yourself,

the many positive traits you will start noticing about yourself and your life.

Give yourself permission to have mostly pleasant conversations with yourself.

Your hair is not great? Then choose to talk about your hands. You are not a great cook, tell yourself how great you are at cleaning. You don’t click with some people, tell yourself about those people that accept and like you as you are.

Are you making some mistakes, as we all are? Have compassion for that you that made the mistake. When you’ve done it, that was the best you know how to do.

Your internal dialog is a habit, and some of the things you are telling yourself didn’t even come from you. You have taken them from other people and applied them to self.

Now is time for you to give up on those comments, on those subjective opinions and even on the valid opinions at the time because, today, you are a different person. You have evolved; you have grown.

Now, you will start talking nicely to yourself, and you will start noticing the great things about the people and everything else that is around you.

I want you to know that this new way of thinking need practice and the more you will practice it, the more automatic will become and one day will be your new normality.

Until positive internal dialog becomes a second nature to you, it will happen that sometimes your internal dialog will go back to being negative.

Don’t blame yourself when will happen. Your mind worked that way for so long and now it needs some time to rediscover how wonderful you are.

So, what should you do when you feel you’ve got back to talking in a negative way about yourself or to yourself?

Take a deep breath and then push the air out, have a second of thinking about…nothing and then simply acknowledge that it happened to have a negative thought about yourself or that you’ve said nasty things to yourself.

You don’t blame yourself for it; you don’t put yourself down for it, nothing of the sort. Simply acknowledge the thought: “Ah, I just had a negative moment toward myself. It happens.” And then move your thought back to a positive internal dialog, a positive self-talk.

Quick recap of how to change your internal dialog to positive:

1. Start searching for the good part of people and things around you. Begin with unimportant things, mundane things and gradually go up to more important things.

2. Focus your attention and energy on the positive traits you have and tell yourself about those things.

3. Starting today, speak to yourself as you would do it with your best of friends, which means NICELY!

4. Simply acknowledge when you have a mean moment towards self and go on towards positive things

5. Have compassion for yourself. Even when you’re not doing your best, you are doing the best you know how to do at that moment in time.

14. Do you settle for what people are willing to offer you and you rarely express your demands?

To get what you want from people is less about self-esteem and more about influencing people.

To know how to influence people and to get what you want in an ethical way (meaning that you both win something at the end), it’s a skill and an art that you can learn.

What is the link between influence and self-esteem when it comes to asking what you want?

The skill of influencing people is just one example of things that you can learn. However, before you do, it is possible to mistake not knowing how to do something with being incapable of doing it. And this mistake is a contributor factor to low self-esteem and low self-confidence.

Now, let’s, get back to getting what you want instead of settling with what people might give you.

You will rarely get amazing things without asking for them. Therefore, make yourself the courage and ask.
Asking for what you want increases your chances to get what you want from 0% to maybe 50%, right?

Sometimes when you ask, you might not get what you want. But this is life, sometimes we win, sometimes we don’t. However, if you don’t ask, it is sure from the start that you will not get it.

If you have low self-esteem, you might think that you shouldn’t even ask because you don’t deserve, or you are not worthy or another reason that you could come up with.

I will tell you this: regardless if you deserve something, or you are worthy to get it, you have the right to ask because the other party has, in return, the right to say no.

Don’t settle! Don’t settle, especially if you have low self-esteem because, for certain, you deserve, you are entitled, and your are worthy at tens of times more than what you believe today that you do.

15. Are you afraid to say a decisive No or yes?

There are many people to whom to say No is a difficult thing to do.

The inability to say No can come from:

  • Perceiving saying No as a risk.
    A risk of losing the love, the attention, the appreciation and the interest of other people.
    Plus, the risk of making people angry or aggressive towards you.
    The risk of stirring up a conflict.
  • Being emotionally blackmailed.
  • Not knowing how and where to set your boundaries.
  • Finding hard to differentiate between the assertive No and the aggressive No.
  • Being afraid that you could be seen as a bad or rude person.
  • Allowing the other party to ask again and again in many different ways.
  • Feeling guilty.
    I guess you strive to be a good person, to be nice, to be kind. Many of your values are based on these things and saying NO can make you feel guilty. It feels like you are not true to your values.
  • Fearing that you might be perceived as being lazy. Lazy people don’t have this fear! They don’t care how they are perceived in this regard. So, no, you are not lazy if you have this fear.
  • Seeking for attention and praise in the wrong places.
  • Fearing that you might hurt people’s feelings.

How to say a decisive No the right way:

Let the other person finish speaking, take a few seconds and then reply.

Leave no room for interpretations.
“I won’t” vs. I can’t.”
“I won’t” gives people a clear message that you don’t want to do what they are asking.
“I can’t” gives people power over you to ask again or to “explain” to you how you actually can do it.

Don’t apologize for saying NO. You’re allowing the other party to ask again or to tap into your sense of guilt.

Pay attention to your voice and the tone you’re using. The same words using different voice tonalities can mean entirely different things.

Don’t explain your motivation to say no. If you start justifying yourself, people will start finding weapons to counteract your justifications. In the end, no matter how you justify saying no, you will end up saying Yes.

There are a few situations and some people that you might feel obligated to justify your refusal.

Don’t give them more than one reason for saying no and reply with the same answer over and over and over again until the other party stops asking.

“Listen, no matter how many times you will ask, my answer will be the same, so let’s move on because we are wasting precious time and energy with this.”

Be consistent.

Offer different options to solve the other’s party situation.

Why should you learn to say a decisive No and yes?

It is your right!

Not saying No when you want/need to say it, can make you feel like a prisoner and you end up in situations where you have no choice but to do what you agreed upon.

Saying No is offering you self-respect and in return, people around you will start respecting you too.
People have no respect for people that they can manipulate or take advantage of.

Don’t waste your time and energy trying to satisfy everybody at any time.

In the end, if nothing else works and people are still insisting, be brutally honest about it with questions:

Do you realize that you are making me feel uncomfortable by keep on asking?”

“Are you trying to take advantage of my good nature?”

“You do realize that you are trying to manipulate me, right?”

“What is your purpose on keep on asking when you can clearly see that I won’t do what you want?”

“Do you take pleasure in making me feel guilty?”

“Can you accept the fact that I have the right to say no to you?”

“Can you respect me enough to stop asking?”

Now, what about saying yes?

For people with low self-esteem saying yes can be at times as hard as saying no.

If you don’t see your real value and worth, you might say No instead of yes because:

  • You feel you’re taking advantage of people,
  • You feel you’re receiving something that is not rightfully yours,
  • You believe that people don’t really expect you to say yes, and they are offering you something only out of courtesy,
  • You don’t know how to receive a gift. You don’t know what to say or how to behave. The simplest solution: “Thank you! I appreciate you thought of me!” and take the gift.
  • You are afraid that people could interpret your “yes” differently than how you meant it.
  • You are afraid that If saying yes today, takes your right to say no tomorrow.

At the end of the day, saying a decisive No or Yes is something you can learn if you are not born with it.

Learning the skill of assertiveness empowers and gives you the right tools to say No.

Building up your strong positive ego empowers and gives you the right tools to say Yes and keep yourself safe.

16. Do you tend to withdraw socially?

If you have low self-esteem, you might tend to withdraw socially because you hold one or more of the following beliefs.

The belief that:

  • you don’t deserve to be happy.
  • whatever problems you might have are caused by the fact that you are not working hard enough.
  • other people are more important than you.
  • you can handle your problems better alone.
  • you have no power over your problems or situation.
  • people around you might think that you are a weak person, and they will take advantage of it.
  • you will not be able to behave as people are expecting you to behave.
  • people can’t possible enjoy your company.
  • you are safer being alone.

I’ve said it before, and I will say it again: the human is a social animal.

We need to interact with other people, we need the company of other people, we need to feel connected to other people, and we need to feel that we belong.

When you don’t satisfy these needs, for whatever reasons, the level of your happiness and general well-being are suffering greatly.

Isolating yourself, withdrawing socially is not all about what you might think about yourself, but can be as well about:

  • What you believe about your environment.

How do you feel in your present environment?

If you believe, for example, that your environment is not safe of course you will avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations.


If you feel judged or mistreated, another example, of course, you will avoid being around those people and, if most people around you are judgemental and mean to you, you will avoid socializing all together.

Social withdrawal has a simple solution: get connected.

Get connected with people that:

  • Love you.
  • Appreciate you.
  • Are willing to make compromises for you.
  • Are tolerant of your mistakes.
  • Accept you as you are.
  • Are making you feel good about yourself and your accomplishments.
  • Have common interests, passions or hobbies.
  • Challenge you to do better in a positive way.
  • Make you feel safe and protected.

17. Do you allow other people to define for you your personal image, who you are?

I will say the big “E” word: EGO

To have a strong positive ego is an important aspect of a healthy mental state and an important part of building your self-esteem.

When I say a strong, positive ego, I mean to know who you are and to know who you’re not.

A strong positive ego does not mean to be stubborn or to go above and beyond to prove you’re right even when you are. A strong positive ego is not the same with vanity.

After reading this article, I will encourage you to take the time to define who you are and who you want to be.

Make a list of who you think/ want to be and who you don’t think/ want to be.

Create the image of the ideal you. Not the perfect you, but the happy you.

Know who you are, know who you want to be. So that no matter what happens, people can’t influence you in a negative way or use your ego(vanity) to blindside you to their intentions or to be the ones that define for you, your personal image.

Create your self-image in such a manner that even if an authority figure tells you something negative about yourself, you stay your ground knowing that you are different than that opinion.

When I’m saying to stay your ground, I don’t mean that you should start arguing with that person, I mean that you, in your mind, perceive yourself the way you established you are. There is no need to say it out loud, and it’s enough that you know it.

When you are able to allow the other person to say nasty things to you, and you are not affected emotionally by this, you know you have a strong positive ego.

When you know who you are people can’t touch you too easily in a negative way.

You can’t be offended until you put a meaning to words and until you attach that meaning to your self-image, to your ego.

Think about it!

If I’m saying to somebody: “you are stupid,” my statement has no value if the other person doesn’t apply this statement to self.

If someone says something nasty to you in Japanese (or any other language you don’t know), you take no offense, maybe you even smile and go on with your life. But when this person says the same thing in the language you understand, you apply this nasty thing to your ego/ self-image, and you get offended, upset and hurt.

That person said the same thing. In one case you felt nothing, in the other case you felt hurt.

The only difference it’s your perception, is it not?
A strong positive ego analyzes the other’s person statement and decides if it’s indeed a valid point to be taken into consideration or not.

Once you know who you are, you will no longer allow people to cover your ego, your self-image with their opinion. If you know who you are, and you define for yourself who you are, it doesn’t matter what anybody else is thinking about it. You have your reasons to define yourself as you do and these reasons are going way beyond what people see on the surface.

“Case study.”  Adrian – the oak tree

At the edge of a forest a young tree, named Adrian, just turn out his head from the ground. He looked around and next to him was an older tree, named Billy. Billy was looking rather odd compared to the other trees. His branches were pointing in all directions, and Adrian started talking to him. After talking for some time, Adrian and Billy, become friends. Few days later, Adrian looks at another much older tree, Chris. Chris was looking tall, straight and proud.

Adrian: “Chris, you are looking good. You have grown up so straight and powerful! I’m looking at Billy, and I see he’s looking so different. Why is that?”
Chris: “you see Adrian, here in the forest you need to make up your mind to whom are you loyal to, right from the start. Are you loyal to yourself or the winds?”
Adrian: “what do you mean?”
Chris: “Do you see Billy? He, like you, got out from the ground one day and looked up at the sky and said
“I will get up there in no time!” and he started his journey to the sky until one day the Northern Wind came and asked him “who are you? and where are you going?”
and Billy said, “I’m going to the sky.”
the Northern Wind said to Billy “you can’t go to the sky!” ,
“why not?” Billy asked and
the Northern Wind reply “because you are not that kind of a tree.”
“I’m not?!” Billy asked,
“you’re not! you are the type of tree that grows towards the North “ the Northern Wind replied
“I am?! ok, I will grow to the north than” Billy said and he grew to the north.
After a while, the West Wind came and looked at Billy and asked him: “What are you doing growing like that?”
Billy “I’m growing to the north.”
West Wind:”why? You are not that type of a tree.”
Billy: “I’m not?!”
West Wind:” no, you silly, you’re not!”
Billy:” but the Northern Wind said…”
West Wind:”Who? The Northern Wind?! you shouldn’t listen to that one, he doesn’t know, you should grow to the west.”
Billy listened to him as well and started growing to the west. From time to time, the winds came from all directions and told Billy to grow in a different direction and Billy listen to them all.

He still does this to this day; he grows in all directions of the wind.”
Chris:” Because he doesn’t know who he is.”
Adrian:”And do you know who you are?”
Chris:” yes, you can see, I’m growing to the sky.”
Adrian: ”Can I grow to the sky too?”
Chris: ”I don’t know.”
Adrian:”Then Who does?”
Chris: ”only you know that.”
Adrian was thinking about this when suddenly he felt the Northern Wind on his shoulders.
The Northern Wind: ”who are you?” he asked Adrian
Adrian:” I don’t know, I’ve just got here.”
the Northern Wind:”you must be a Northern tree that.”
Adrian:”you think?”
The Northern Wind:” Definitely, I can see after your leafs” and looked at Billy he said: ”You are pointing north! you should point west.”
Billy: ”You’ve told me to point north!”
the Northern Wind: ”I did?”
Billy: ”Yes, you did!”
The Northern Wind: ”You are mistaking, you are never doing anything right.”
Billy looked sad and cried to his friend Adrian: ”All my life I’ve done nothing but trying to satisfy the winds and no matter what I do and how hard I try, I’m never good enough”.
Adrian thought as his own journey, looked at the sky, looked at the ground and said: ”I’m an oak tree, and I go to the sky!”
Chris looked at him and smile
Billy:”you can’t take such decisions by yourself!”
Adrian shouted to the wind that just left:” I’m an oak tree, and I go to the sky! I’m an oak tree, and I go to the sky!I’m an oak tree, and I go to the sky!”
Chris:”how do you know?”
Adrian:” I see that if I don’t know, the winds will decide it for me and the winds don’t really know. They seem never to be satisfied so, now, I know who I am, I’m an oak tree, and I’m going to the sky!”



  • there are things that you will never do right,
  • there are things that you are doing very well,
  • but there is not possible to be incapable of doing anything right, impossible!

Every person has things that do very well; there is no question about that!

The only questions are these:

  • Are you acknowledging, noticing and giving yourself the deserved credit for doing these things?
  • and by whose standards, interests and purposes are you judging your accomplishments, your actions, and your behaviors?

Make your own criteria of measuring your success, your effectiveness.

Expect from yourself to do your best, to serve your own purpose and above all else, remember to be fair to yourself.

This is a way to use to develop the strong, positive ego you need to be the success you deserve to be.

The most difficult situation you can be confronted with is to have to solve imaginary problems, disasters that never happened and probably never will and this situation is one generated by allowing other people to define for you who you are. The expert in who you are should be you.

18. Are you worried that you might offend others?

There are people that get offended by the way you walk, by the way your hair looks today, by the fact that you take a commitment to be true to your values and morals, by the fact that you refuse to be stepped on.

There are people that get offended by everything; it’s their nature to get offended, and you can’t do anything about it.

Whoever gets offended by you, justified or not, have a duty to you.

They have the obligation to let you know you offended them and to give you the chance to redeem yourself, or to justify yourself, or to excuse yourself.

You can’t walk through life on eggshells all the time.

If you have around you people that get offended often and easily, these people are stealing precious energy and time from you. No one is perfect, not even them.

Aren’t you tired of second guessing your behavior when it comes to certain people?

Aren’t you tired of feeling judged and sometimes not even knowing what are you judged for because you’ve done nothing wrong?

Aren’t you tired of walking on eggshells?

Yes, you’ve offended some people and yes it will happen again no matter how careful you are or how considered you are.

Again, no one is perfect.

However, those people that care for you, those people that love you, and more importantly, those people that want you in their life will accept you as you are:

  • they tolerate your mistakes,
  • they give you the chance to redeem yourself,
  • they don’t expect of you to consume yourself and to be absorbed by the way they might feel
  • they make concessions for you
  • they accept and respect your views, your opinions, and your judgment.

Life is like this: people are coming to your life, and people are getting out of your life.

You can be friends with somebody for ten plus years, and everything is music and roses and then, suddenly, they just disappear out of your life with no explanations or out of ridiculous reasons.

It happens! It is not your fault, maybe not even their fault. You grow through time and life could take you in different directions, and you simply are not compatible anymore.

It happens! You can grieve the loss but then move on.

There is the possibility that if you have low self-esteem, to have gathered around you the wrong crowd. You have attracted into your life many people that are pushing you constantly in all sorts of negative situations, negative emotional states or unfavorable circumstances.

If the majority of people around you are like this, no wonder that you don’t feel good about yourself. Who could?

Bare in mind, when the same or similar negative message about you comes from more than one person doesn’t mean that you’ve done something wrong, doesn’t mean they are right just because they are outnumbering you and it doesn’t necessarily mean that you should change. Maybe is just a matter of changing the people that are around you.

The idea that you have too many “bad apples” around you could be a sad reality, but it’s sad today and only today because tomorrow is a new day, and you can make tomorrow a new beginning in your life.

Another possibility is that your worries of offending people to have nothing to do with your external environment (other people) but with your internal environment.

This means that regardless of how people react to you, you feel bad about what you have said or done, and you start analyzing whether you’ve been offensive or not.

The first thing you need to take into account about this analysis is that is not objective. You have only one perspective on the situation, your perspective. And your perspective comes with your history and your experiences and not with the history and the experiences of the other party.

I have a question for you, and I would appreciate if you give a great deal of thought before you answer:

How many times did it happen to you to lose your time and energy analyzing whether you offended someone and then to discover that, that someone doesn’t even remember you’ve met that day or whatever have been said or done? Can you count how many times?

I guess you can’t because the vast majority of times when you thought you have offended people it didn’t actually happened. Right?

Please don’t say now that just because people didn’t tell you that you’ve been offensive, doesn’t mean that you haven’t offended them.

Do you know why you shouldn’t believe that? Because if you were such a gross offender as you might think, people would absolutely tell you, they would make you pay for it or, at least, they would give you clear indications, no doubts, that you’ve been offensive.

The second thing about this analysis is that it could originate from a feeling and not something that you might have said or done. It is a feeling and doesn’t come from facts.

If indeed, in your case, your worries are starting with a feeling,
(maybe in your gut, maybe in your stomach, maybe on the top of your chest)
because you don’t know the root or the logic or the reason for this unpleasant feeling, you are concluding that it must be you! You have done or said something wrong. What else could it be?

This unpleasant feeling can originate from a number of reasons none of which are linked to what you’ve said or done.

Let’s see now a few possible causes for this feeling:

  • High sensitivity to the energy of other people.

This energy can affect you negatively even more so if you don’t believe that the mere presence of other/some people can influence your emotional state. It has a greater negative influence on you if you don’t believe that this is possible because then you blame yourself for how you feel. You don’t know where is this feeling coming from and again, it must be you.

  • High sensitivity to the smell, the body language and the language patterns of the person you’re interacting with.

These are things that you most probably don’t pay attention to consciously, but your unconscious mind gives them a meaning, which sometimes is negative.

  • Embedded sense of guilt.

Are you feeling guilty when something bad happens even though it’s not your fault?

  • How often are you apologizing?

Women are more prone to the “apologetic syndrome” than men because women, in general, tend to be more attentive to other people. If the moon falls from the sky tomorrow, most women and some men will issue a press release to apologize for it.

  • Suffering from “the impostor syndrome”. “I’m a fraud and people know that.”


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Okay, you know about this unpleasant feeling and possible origins of it, now let’s see few ways to deal with it.

Step 1. Acknowledge the feeling with no judgment.
“I feel [bad]” compared to “Not again! I’m so [weak!]”

Step 2. Adopt a relaxed and empowering body posture. Your mind and the way you feel is significantly affected by your body posture.

For example, if you stand up tall, and you look at the ceiling, it is almost impossible to have negative thoughts. Try it!

Step 3. Identify if you did offend the other party or not. If you don’t find words to explain to yourself how exactly you have been offensive, most probably you weren’t.

Continue to step 4 when you don’t find words to explain to yourself how exactly you have been offensive or you still don’t know why you feel this way.

Step 4. Change your attention from what you might have done wrong to what you’ve done well.

If your mind goes blank and you don’t find the good you’ve done, imagine what would be the good that could satisfy you and that you can do next time faced with the same or a similar situation.

Step 5. Treat yourself with compassion.

  • Accept that you are not perfect, like the rest of us.
  • Accept the fact that you are making mistakes no matter how careful or considerate you are.
  • Acknowledge the difficult moment you faced. It isn’t an easy task to deal with these sort of stressful situations and difficult people. It isn’t an easy task to deal with feelings and emotions that you don’t even have a name for, or you don’t know why they exist.
  • Accept the fact that you are not entirely in control, therefore, is not entirely your fault when you fail.
  • Acknowledge that you are much more than your achievements and successes. For example, when you are kind to somebody, or you offer a helping hand, it’s not an achievement or success, but it’s YOU. Right?
  • Reduce your expectations from yourself and have a moment of peace and self-acceptance.


  • Stop apologizing for the things that are not your fault.
  • Surround yourself with people that love you and appreciate you enough to give you the chance to redeem yourself when you’re wrong, so you don’t have to walk on eggshells or to second guess yourself all the time.
  • Acknowledge the feeling and move on.
  • Change your attention from what you haven’t done good enough to what you did well.
  • Treat yourself with compassion.

Our mind works by making comparisons and statistics.

To know the value of something we are comparing that something with something similar.

So, if I’m telling you don’t compare yourself to others, will be only empty words because you will tend to do that even if you know is harmful to you.

So I will ask of you to use comparison in a positive way.

First, think of this:

Wanting to be somebody else is depriving the world of the wonderful person you are.

The world doesn’t need another Einstein or another Gisele Bundchen, for example, the world needs you and not a copy of somebody else, because that somebody else already exists.

Celebrate your uniqueness and delight the world with it.

What you have to bring into this world is unique and precious.

Second, free yourself from comparing apples to oranges. Meaning that you had a different life compared to the people you are comparing yourself to.

A different life implies different challenges and different environment so, naturally, you will be different, you will have a different perspective on life.

Third, use comparison as constructive envy. What this means is to model the positive things you like about the people you compare yourself to.

Some things you will not be able to achieve exactly how they do it because, as I’ve said, an appeal will never be an orange or the other way around and even if it could, it will be a big, big loss for the world.

Do you have 2 or 3 or 4 dishwashers in your kitchen? No, one is enough.

Constructive envy and modeling.

Take the person you’re comparing yourself with and find out how is this person doing what you want to achieve.

Ask this kind of questions:

  • How does it work?
  • In what context?
  • What are the criteria needed?
  • What is important to do, believe, implement to achieve what you want? What could be the motivation for what this person is doing?
  • How is it useful?

Answering these questions you will find 5 things:

  1. If you still want to achieve what this person is doing.
  2. How to achieve it
  3. If you can achieve it too or how much you can achieve
  4. This something is just a mirage, looking good from outside, empty inside.
  5. Are you willing to pay the price for that something?
    Again: Are you willing to pay the price?

Focus your time and energy on those things you can achieve and release yourself from wanting what you can’t.

You can’t make yourself taller or shorter for example, or you can’t be the next champion on the junior league after you pass the age limit.

When Comparing yourself to others remember:


  • The world needs you and not a copy of somebody else.
  • Don’t compare apples with oranges, every person is different and beautiful in their own way.
  • Model what you want to achieve.
  • Achieve what you can, free yourself from what you can’t.

20. Are you trying to be perfect?

The desire to be perfect comes mostly from the need to be loved.

We strive to be perfect when we don’t feel loved.

If you don’t feel loved, regardless if you are or not, you have this fear that if you are not perfect, the little love and attention you get will instantly go away.

Let me tell you this: if this happens to you, the question is not if you deserve their love, but do they deserve to allow them to love you? If their love is so expensive for you, then they can keep it!

Accept yourself as you are. Therefore, the measurement of your value should come from inside you and not by the standards of others.

See yourself as a piece of a puzzle. With some people, you will be a perfect fit, with other people you will never fit no matter how hard you try.

It has nothing to do with who you are; it has nothing to do with how great, smart and good you are. It’s simply the fact that each of us is a perfect fit in one picture or more, but not in all the pictures.

Ask yourself:


  • In what pictures you want to fit?
  • In what puzzles your best is enough?
  • Who are the people you’re a perfect fit with?

Ask yourself these questions because a big part of what gives you your true value, lies in the answers to these questions.

Accept yourself as you are. You are a perfect fit for many people and many situations. Find your perfect place and expand when you feel like it, not when other people are asking you to do it.

Love yourself enough to accept yourself as you are. And remember that we, humans, are perfectly imperfect for each other.

21. Are you beating yourself up for all sort of things plus some that are not even done by you?

No one on this Earth is judging you as harshly as you do, is it not?

When you make mistakes, look at them with curiosity, not judgment.

“I’m curious, how can I do better next time?”
“I wonder, is it possible to improve myself about this?”
“What was missing for me to do it better?”

Listen, judging your former self for something you’ve done in the past or did not do with the awareness you have today, is a lost battle from the start. It is not humanly possible to do what you don’t know how.

Improve yourself if you can and if you want to, learn from your mistakes and move on.
Know that you are always doing the best you know how at that moment in time.


  • Don’t judge yourself, look at your mistakes with curiosity.
  • Be curious how much better you can do it next time.
  • Have compassion for yourself with the understanding that you are always doing the best you know how.

How do you know if you have low self-esteem?

As I’ve said at the beginning, not all these characteristics apply to you. So don’t grade yourself because low self-esteem does not cause some of these characteristics or issues, they might be just symptoms of low self-esteem.

Some of these characteristics are not a self-esteem issue, but can become a self-esteem issue if not addressed properly.

Bare in mind that many of these signs of low self-esteem are caused by lack of awareness or knowledge, and, therefore, they can be fixed easily.

Now, let’s have a short recap of what we’ve covered so far about improving and building up your self-esteem.

The three pillars of self-esteem:

1 Accept yourself as you are. Therefore, the measurement of your value should come from inside you and not to the standards of others.
2 You are the person who’s defining your personal image, who you are and who you’re not.
3. Learn to give up.

Reality check

1 Your problem is not the biggest. Other people have lived through it. Your situation is not impossible to solve.
2 No matter what you lack in, you are compensating for it with something else.

The main causes for low self-esteem and a few ways to deal with them

1. Traumatic experiences and events.
2. Parents or family in conflict.
3. Being unable to meet your parents standards and expectations.
4. Poor academic performance.
5. Being part of a family or group that people have a prejudice against.
6. Being different.
7. Having as role models people with low self-esteem or negative self-talk.
8. Repeated neglect, punishment or/and abuse.
9. Being the receiving end of other people’s frustrations, stress, sadness, and dissatisfaction with their life.
10. Lack of praise, affection, interest and feeling loved.
11. Being bullied.
12. Receiving confusing messages from media and society.
13. A negative internal dialog and self- talk.
14. Keeping the “big horrible secret” to yourself.

Characteristics of low self-esteem and how to turn your self-esteem on positive

1. Do you neglect yourself?
2. Do you doubt yourself?
3. Do you have low self-confidence?
4. Are you reluctant or afraid to put yourself first?
5. Are you reluctant or afraid to trust your opinion, ideas, and judgment?
6. Are you occupying your personal space?
7. Do you feel unsafe and lonely?
8. Are you accentuating your negative points?
9. Are you overly concern about what people might think of you?
10. Do you give yourself credit and the merit of your accomplishments?
11. Do you accept compliments?
12. Are you mean to yourself but good and nice to others?
13. Are having a negative internal dialog?
14. Do you settle for what people are willing to offer you and you rarely express your demands?
15. Are you afraid to say a decisive No or yes?
16. Do you tend to withdraw socially?
17. Do you allow other people to define for you your personal image, who you are?
18. Are you worried that you might offend others?
19. Are you comparing yourself to others?
20. Are you trying to be perfect?
21. Are you beating yourself up for all sort of things plus some that are not even done by you?

Now let’s move on and cover activities and things to focus on that we haven’t covered so far.

Activities and things to focus on to boost your self-esteem


Activity 1

Set goals for yourself

When you’re setting goals, you know where you’re going and how to get there.
You know much better what you want and why you want it.
Designing a good plan for your goals will boost your self-confidence, and when you achieve your goals, your self-esteem will automatically improve.

Activity 2

Use your voice

Put expression and energy and confidence in your voice when you speak.

Practice in the mirror, practice by singing, practice by getting assertive with yourself.
Your voice has a greater influence on your communication with people than the words you’re using.

The same is true about the influence on your own internal state and mood.

Activity 3

Encourage positive behavior

What this means is to actively and purposely notice all the little positive things you are doing.

Praise yourself for them, add yourself to your gratitude list:

“I’m grateful to myself today because I practice my voice for 5 minutes”

“I’m grateful to myself because I respected myself today by talking nicely towards self.”

“Today I tried to make a new friend. It didn’t work exactly how I planned, yet I’ve learned something new and next time I will be better at it.”

Activity 4

Search for the positive part of people and focus your attention on that.

You will alway find the part of people that you’re searching for. If you search for the positive part, you will find it. No person comes around you that has nothing positive to give to you.

Start with a discovery, a curiosity mindset.

Apply this activity to self as well. Search for your positive part and give it, even more, power and room to grow.

Activity 5

Respect yourself

Respect your body by eating the foods that are giving you maximum positive energy. No matter your size if your food is not proper for you, your body is telling you that in many different ways. And one of those ways is to feel depressed, uninspired, unmotivated and tired most of the time. Your mind has a very hard time to work.

Respect yourself by talking nicely to self.

Be your own best friend. Treat yourself with compassion, understanding and appreciation. The same thing can be said in more than one way.
When you are not happy about something about you or the way you’ve done something, collaborate with yourself to improve.
“I feel let down today. I haven’t done what I’ve set to do. So, what exactly didn’t work? What was missing?”

Respect yourself by talking nicely to and about other people.

Whatever you say about other people is talking more about the person you are than who they are.
If you don’t have anything positive to say, say nothing.
If you really need to point out something that displeased you, do it with assertiveness, not judgment.

Activity 6

Get in touch with your family and friends

There is no need for some horrible abuser into your life to isolate you; you can manage this by yourself very successfully.
Maintain your relationships by staying in touch with people. Socialize with every opportunity.

Loneliness is not the inability to make friends and keep them; loneliness starts with laziness: “I will call them later…tomorrow.” “I don’t go out to see my friends today because I’m too tired.”

Loneliness starts with laziness and then continues with vanity: “Why should be me that calls, invites?” and so on.

Yes, it is not nice to be the one that maintains the relationship and for that reason, set the rules with your family and friends.

Activity 7

Desensitize yourself to rejection.

No matter how great we are, we will sometimes be rejected, and if you don’t know how to deal with it emotionally, every small rejection will feel like the end of the world.

Desensitize yourself by asking for things that you know people will not give you. Choose to experiment on those people that you feel intimidated by. They will say no to you, and you will see that is not the end of the world.

Activity 8

Remember to have fun and relaxing time every day.

Activity 9

Every day, when you brush your teeth, think of 3 things you like about yourself.

It doesn’t matter if you praise yourself for physical traits or things you’re doing great or how you interact with people. It can be whatever you like about yourself.

At the end of each week write in a journal the 3 most impressive things about yourself from that week.

When you feel down or sad or any other negative state, come to this journal and remind yourself that you are capable of doing great things, that you are amazing in many areas of your life and that this negative state will pass.

Things to focus on to boost your self-esteem

1. Focus on the things you can change.

When you are not satisfied with yourself, love and respect yourself enough to ask from yourself only what you can achieve.

You can improve many things about yourself, things that you don’t like or you’re not served by too well.

So, instead of wasting your time, your energy and your love for impossible things, focus on those things you can change, you can improve.

Every little change you make is not only improving your life but also gives you motivation and drive to achieve more. Motivation and drive are coming from the successes you have. The more successful you are, the more motivated you feel.

Start with small, highly achievable things. And then go up to harder things.
Achieving and focusing on those things you can change will Prove to yourself that you can allow yourself to like, respect and love yourself.

2. Do things that you enjoy.

Doing things that you enjoy doing, will rebalance the biochemistry of your brain. You feel more positive about yourself, about life and other people as well.

Schedule your fun time. Involve people that you like spending time with.

3. Surround yourself with people that like you and support you.

If you have a nagging person constantly in your ear pointing out every little thing that they don’t like about you, one day you start believing them.

Gather around you:

  • People that deserve your attention.
  • People that see you as the great person you are.
  • People that love you enough to tolerate your mistakes.
  • People willing to make concessions.
  • People that love to collaborate with you.

4. Celebrate every little success you have.

Take the credit and the merit of what you are doing right, great, wonderful.

When someone praise you for what you’re doing, don’t say: “Oh, it was nothing” say “Thank you. I appreciate you noticed.”

When you make your gratitude list, you have to be on that list as well.
“Today I’m grateful to myself because I did so and so.”

What you are accomplishing is never nothing.

You have put

  • effort,
  • dedication,
  • time and
  • energy to do it.

So, it’s never nothing! It is always something to celebrate and to be proud of it.

5. Be helpful and considerate to others.

One of the greatest pleasure in life is coming from our altruistic acts.

  • We love to give,
  • we love to feel useful,
  • we love to be needed,
  • we love to see ourselves as good people.

When you have the opportunity (and take it) to be helpful and considerate to others, you feel important, you are important.

Your value is rising because you see that there are so many things that you are doing right.

6. See the whole of you.

Don’t pick as representative one single thing about you. You are a whole person, and you have many, many positive characteristics.

Accept the fact that you are not perfect, that you are like the rest of us, simply imperfect, beautiful humans.

And like the rest of us, you have some negative things, and you have positive things as well.

No matter what you lack in, you’re compensating for it with something else.

7. Have compassion for yourself.

When you want to put yourself down, when you are mean and harsh towards yourself I want you to think about this:
could you ever, ever be like that with your best friend? Could you?

Treat yourself as you would treat your best of friends. After all, you are spending the most time with yourself. Make this relationship the best you have.

Treat yourself with respect, dignity and compassion.

Maybe you have noticed that I didn’t mention too often the word self-esteem, and there is a good reason for it.

You need to focus on

  • what you are doing,
  • on what you want to achieve,
  • on the positive things about you.

You don’t want to achieve a higher self-esteem for the sake of it.

You want a better life, you want better relationships, you want, maybe, a better job and whatever else is that you want.

Focus on those things and little by little your self-esteem, the value you’re giving to yourself will rise and one day you will forget this word: self-esteem, you will no longer talk about it, you will simply have it.

This is like the life of a fish: the fish is wet, he doesn’t think about it, he has no problem with it, and he doesn’t even know he’s wet, he just is.

What to expect now that you are improving your self-esteem

1. People don’t want nor like you to change.

In general, people don’t like change even if that change is in better.

We are getting used to things as they are good or bad. Change of any kind implies a bit of work on our part to readjust to the new situation. It seems easier to deal with something negative that we have learned how to manage over the time than to learn a new way of behaving or being.

Change of any kind implies a bit of work on our part to readjust to the new situation. It seems easier to deal with something negative that we have learned how to manage over the time than to learn a new way of behaving or being.

You may notice that you have around you people that are asking you to change and yet when you do, they resist to your change.

Why are people resisting to your change?

At the intellectual level, they want great things for you. They recognize that you might not be happy in the current situation; they recognize the fact that you are capable do many amazing things; they see your benefits in changing.

However, at the emotional level, it is a completely different matter. Suddenly, things become about them. Things are not about you and your well-being or your happiness anymore, things are about them, things are about their well-being and their happiness.

This doesn’t mean the people that love doesn’t want you to have a great life, a fulfilled life; it is not about being mean or selfish, it is about self-preservation.

Educate people that you love about the changes you are about to make. Give them time to readjust their behavior towards you.

You have to understand that the changes you are about to make are affecting them too. You are not reliable anymore, not in the same way, you used to be. When you change, they need to change as well.

2. You can expect that you might want to give up on same people and same dreams.


When you see yourself in a different light, from a different perspective, you start seeing people around you from a different perspective, in a different light as well.

In some cases, you will fully appreciate the extent at which these people took advantage of you.

You start noticing that some people take pleasure or satisfaction from putting you down.

You start recognizing that some people have a “gift.” A gift to make you feel bad about yourself, or uncomfortable, or inadequate.

How come you haven’t saw and noticed things such as these before?

When you have low self-esteem, you tend to attribute to self all the bad things. Even those things that you knew are not caused by you; you still attributed them to self: “I don’t deserve better.”

Even those things that you knew are not caused by you; you still attributed them to self: “I don’t deserve better.”

So, be ready to give up on some people, be ready to give up on some of your friends and be ready to meet new people.

When it comes to people that you need to or want to, or you have no choice but to keep them in your life, set the boundaries.

Let them know:

  • What can they expect from you starting today.
  • The things you are not willing to take from now on.
  • What you expect from them.

Dreams, aspirations, and goals

You are making a huge change in your life and with this change, your dreams, aspirations and goals are changing too.

It is the natural progression of things.

Don’t be afraid to give up on those things that are not suited to your life anymore or those things you have outgrown.

3. Self-esteem will become your second nature.

I’ve said at the beginning that self-esteem is the product of your mind based or your life history and experiences.

Most probably you will not change, fundamentally who you are.

You are still you with the same values and morals. What is changing, it’s the way you see yourself. This is a good news because this means that you already have all the ingredients you need to produce a great “product.”

Self-esteem is the product of your mind, therefore, start separating your “I am” from your “I can and I can’t” “I know how to […] and I don’t know yet how to […].”

When you’ve done separating your “I am” from your “I can and I know how”, continue by separating your “self” (“I am”) as you know you are, from the picture that other people made for you about your “self (“I am”).”

Maybe you are one of those people that can change the way they see themselves slowly and gradually, but maybe you are one of these people that can change things almost in an instant.

Either way, be patient with yourself. Give yourself understanding, compassion, dignity and love.

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