Self-esteem is often defined as an individual’s enduring perception of how much he or she is worth as a person. However, despite this seemingly permanent nature of how one esteems his or her worth, there are ways to make a less than desirable level of self-esteem improve over time. True, there are a huge number of stories that point in the direction of failure, but there are in fact ways to find success in building self-esteem.

To begin, it is important to understand that if your loved one—be it family or friend, suffers from low self-esteem—trying to convince him or her that they are worth so much more than they think they are not the way to go. In fact, trying to build their self-esteem does not involve any sort of radical shift in perception. Self-love and self-respect is something that you continually work on and build over time.

Trying to convince people of their self-worth by constant affirmation may even backfire, as you are in effect shattering their worldview about how badly they see themselves. When these individuals see themselves so negatively, this disturbance of their worldview in such sudden and aggressive means may backlash, causing them to violently retaliate or to withdraw from other people almost immediately.

As such, helping build self-esteem involves a more supportive than active role on your part. As your loved one continues to discover his or her self-worth, all you have to do is affirm them appropriately as they progress in the process of building the self-esteem they so delicately try to improve.

This is because unlike injuries, or even assistance in homework and the like, the development of a healthy level of self-esteem is more a personal journey than anything. People with low self-esteem must begin this journey by slowly accepting themselves, with equal appreciation for their flaws and their gifts. They may then begin to please themselves before seeking to please other people. Once that happens, they begin setting realistic goals for themselves and all the while recognizing the credit, they are due in all the things that they do.

The process of self-acceptance to greater self-love may be aided by trained professionals in order that this process becomes successful. In many instances, therapy with trained psychologists is known to work very well. In sessions with these psychologists, individuals are given the opportunity to review their negative perceptions and begin to re-evaluate whatever negative perceptions they may have had about themselves since their childhood.

Participation in activities that help them to discover their gifts and talents have been proven to help a lot. As such, even as they are undergoing therapy, you can help your loved one pick out an activity or class that they can participate in. It will help if you choose an activity that you’ve always felt they could further develop. Music, art, sports, dancing, and the like are good areas to begin.

Not only will they discover whatever talents they have that have gone uncultivated, but they are also able to find an avenue through which they can constructively express themselves and their feelings. Once they gain some feeling of ownership over a particular activity and talent, it can become one of the things they can appreciate more about who they are as people.

At the end of the day, being successful in helping a loved one in the process of building self-esteem involves not only being there for them but helping them get the help they need from professionals. Act as support in these tough moments, affirming the improvements they are making over time. Help them discover their talents and gifts and recognize whatever achievements they gain in the process.