“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ~ Ralph Waldo Emerson

There are so many misconceptions about what self-esteem is all about and how to build self-esteem. And most of the misconceptions are largely fueled by social media advertisements. People think having a great body will increase their level of self-esteem, some think that dating the coolest guy or lady would make them feel good about themselves while others believe that having massive amounts of money would increase their self-esteem.

While these things have a role to play in self-esteem, they are not the ultimate criteria for improving self-esteem. As we can observe in our society, some rich people have low self-esteem, people are dating the coolest girl or guy yet they feel insecure, and some people have great bodies but still feel insecure about themselves.

If these things can’t increase self-esteem, how can we then increase our self-esteem?

We are constantly being bombarded with different images daily about how success looks like, what it takes to have a great body, and how we should live our lives. These constant bombardments from the media have a way of damaging the self-esteem of a person. They make us develop erroneous ideas of what life is all about, and how we should look and feel.

Self-esteem is malleable and can be easily reshaped depending on what you feed your mind. The mind places an important role in how we feel about ourselves. And how we feel about yourself start with the stories we tell ourselves in your mind.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a person’s belief in themselves, their abilities, and their overall structure.

The difference between people who have high self-esteem and those who don’t is simply acceptance. Those with higher self-esteem recognize their abilities and areas they lack. They focus more on their strength rather than weaknesses while people who have low self-esteem dwell more on their weaknesses.

Self-esteem simply means appreciating yourself for who you are.

Ways on How to Build Self-Esteem

  1. Awareness

Take a self-esteem inventory, become aware of how you feel about yourself, and your thoughts. This is because you can’t fix what you don’t know. Take out time to write down the way you feel about yourself, how you see yourself, and how do you think others see you.

After you must have identified your low points, also identify your strengths. Accept who you are and find out ways to improve on your weaknesses by setting goals.

Remember: No one is perfect, so don’t beat yourself up.

2.    Set Goals for Yourself

After you must have identified your weakness or weaknesses, the next step is to set goals for your personal development.

Goal setting is very important in our everyday life. The power of goal setting is that it gives you something to focus on to the exclusion of everything else.

3.    Stop the Comparison

Unhealthy comparisons are the major reason why so many people develop low self-esteem. They compare their level of success with their neighbour, their body structure with what’s obtainable on media and so on. The problem with the comparison is that they are usually unhealthy and also unrealistic.

People you compare yourself with also have problems and insecurities like you, they aren’t better than you. They’re only good at pretending. Accept yourself for who you are and let go of this erroneous notion that you have to be like someone else or perfect.

4.    Avoid Perfectionism Syndrome

It is good to strive to be better in life. It only becomes a problem when you become obsessed with it that you feel everything has to be perfect. The problem of being a perfectionist is that it makes you unsatisfied with yourself no matter how hard you try. The obsession is what breeds insecurity, fear, and self-doubts.

Stop trying to be perfect because it is practically impossible. Everyone has their flaws, accept yours and work more with your strengths.

5.    Eliminate Self Criticism and Doubts

Most people are their own worst critics, they find it hard to appreciate who they are and what they’ve accomplished. When you continue to engage in self-criticism, you end up destroying your self-image more. So, what’s the point?

Instead of criticizing yourself for the mistakes you make or your little imperfection, embrace who you are. If you failed at something or made a mistake, you need to understand that it is natural, everyone makes mistakes, and everyone fails at something. Yours isn’t the worst case on earth.

The only way to cure self-doubt and criticism is to constantly take action. And engage in positive self-affirmations.

6.    Focus More on Your Strength

The reason why most people develop low self-esteem is that they focus too much on their weaknesses. They forget that their weakness constitutes only a tiny fraction of who they are. Everyone is blessed with abilities and talents. Focus more on your unique strengths, identify your competency, and project them more.

 It’s a waste of time dwelling on your flaws. It not only makes you feel bad, and also leads you to feel inadequate and depressed.

7.    Stay Away from Negative Environment and People

People with a negative attitude should be avoided like plague, they have reasons why things won’t work, and they have a bad impression about everything. When you associate with negative people, they’ll destroy your confidence, make you feel bad about yourself, and they’ll make it hard for you to increase your self-esteem. Avoid them by all means possible.

8.    Stop Placing Labels on Yourself

Avoid all negative labels. Labels like “I’m not good enough”, “I am such a failure”, “I look ugly” etc. these labels have negative connotations, they have a way of making you feel bad and unworthy. Just because you failed at something doesn’t mean you are a failure. Put things into proper perspective.

You have to stop labelling yourself negatively if you wish to increase your self-esteem. Negative labels don’t serve you; it only destroys your self-esteem. Stop it.


The process of learning how to build self-esteem and maintaining positive self-esteem is ongoing and not a one-time process. It requires time and awareness. It requires identifying your competency and your strength, and not dwelling on the negatives.

Associate with the positive-minded people and avoid negative people and negative environments because they have a way of damaging your self-worth.