Low self-esteem and pessimism can make it difficult to accept responsibility and constructive criticism, which can hinder you from opportunities and also prevent you from taking on new challenges; consequently, blocking you from having fulfilling experiences in life. It can also ruin important relationships. Low self-esteem, which affects our emotions, our thoughts, and behavior, as well as displays how we perceive and connect to ourselves and others, can occur for many reasons, including disapproval from people you value, putting your self-worth in circumstances that are out of your control, which when they don’t go the way you want causes you to feel like a failure, and some mental disorders, such as borderline personality disorder and depression.

When it comes to poor self-esteem, there are some things you can do to help overcome it and be the person you were meant to be, including:

Surround Yourself with the Right People

Low self-esteem usually begins early in life at the hands of disapproving authority figures. For instance, if you were constantly told that you don’t measure up or you were criticized for everything you did, it can prevent you from growing into a confident adult with a positive self-image. Therefore, to help build your confidence, try surrounding yourself with positive, healthy people who acknowledge and reinforce your positive attributes as well as your contributions and who genuinely support you.

Get to Know Yourself/Become Your Own Best Friend

Despite your differences, you are valuable and deserve to feel good about yourself. Therefore, spend time alone and take time to get to know yourself, which will allow you to discover where you are unique, special, and worthy, which will help you gain a better appreciation of yourself. You can also try making a list of your achievements and strengths to remind yourself of your feats, and then review it whenever you lack self-esteem and need to feel better about yourself.

This is also a great time to pinpoint and confront any negative views that you have about yourself.

Acknowledge Where You Need Change

We all have faults; however, if you don’t recognize and acknowledge where you need change, it can keep you stuck in a rut of poor self-esteem, which will only get worse the more you try to run from it. Instead, choose to become aware of and acknowledge where you need change and then put forth the effort to improve it. You can even enlist a good friend or relative for support.

You should also become aware when you are too critical of yourself, and then remind yourself that these are not facts, which will help you avoid negative emotions that can lead to negative self-talk.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Psychotherapists warn that comparisons only lead to a negative self-image, which can lead to poor self-esteem, stress, and anxiety that in turn can ruin your work, relationships, and physical and mental health.

Repeat Positive Affirmations

Just as negative affirmations, such as you’re stupid, can be believed, they can also be unbelieved. Therefore, psychologists suggest that you repeat positive affirmations that you want to believe about yourself daily to help get you back on the right track to a time before you had low-self esteem. In fact, research shows that positive affirmations can even help lessen symptoms of depression and more.

Take Care of Yourself

Simple things like taking a shower, brushing your hair, wearing clean clothes, eating right, and exercising regularly help you feel better about yourself. Studies also show that making your living space comfortable, clean and attractive also help improve your mood.

Give Back

Donating, volunteering, and helping others that are less fortunate, not only helps take the focus off your own issues, but it also makes you feel good knowing you are helping others. In fact, studies show that doing more things in your life that you can be proud of increases your self-worth, which helps you feel better about your self.

In the end, people with a positive self-appreciation are open to improvement and more meaningful experiences, meaning they don’t rely on external reinforcements, such as status or income, for self-worth, which enables them to experience more happiness and delight in life. Therefore, be mindful of who you allow into your life as well as the circumstances you allow to dictate your self-worth. You should also be mindful to take care of yourself, including exercise and eating right, to help keep your both your body and your mind healthy.


  • Bonnie is a Certified Life Coach. She received a Master's Degree in Psychology from the University of Chicago. She works to identify imbalances and deficiencies and create individualized therapies to improve overall health and wellness.