How to Increase Self-Esteem

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Is Low Self-Esteem Stealing Love, Joy & Happiness from Your Life?

Self-esteem is all the rage these days and has been for some time now. How do you know if you have high or low self-esteem? What does it really mean and why is it important? Well, according to the research, self-esteem has a strong relationship to happiness! To have happiness and love your life, you must understand the things that can undermine happiness, love, and joy.

Low self-esteem is one of those things that sucks love, joy, and happiness from your life. I will give you the really, really great news up front: self-esteem is something that you can impact! So, if you have self image issues or low self-esteem you are by no means stuck with it. I’m here to offer you low self-esteem treatment and show you have to raise low self-esteem. Keep reading!

What Is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is a person’s overall belief of their own worth or value. Essentially, it’s how much you like yourself, and it often impacts your behaviors.

Why Is Self-Esteem Important?

Your motivation and even success can be tremendously impacted by the level of self-esteem you possess. If you self-esteem is low, it may be harder for you to success in school, work, or your personal life. However, if your self-esteem is high, it may be easier for you to success and navigate the challenges of accomplishing your goals and forming relationships.

Do You Have Low Self-Esteem?

Many years ago, a friend and I were discussing self-esteem and whether or not either one of us had low self-esteem. She knew that I occasionally talked to a therapist, and she asked me to ask the therapist, if I got the chance, about low self-esteem. One day I got the chance, and I asked.

The therapist roared with laughter and said immediately: “Who are you asking for?” I was taken aback and not prepared for this response. I casually said that I was asking for myself because I didn’t want to admit that I was asking for a friend. The therapist laughed even harder saying again, “Who are you really asking for?”

So, I admitted that I was asking for a friend. Then he stopped laughing and said, that it was clear that I didn’t have low self-esteem so it had to be for someone else. He went onto explain by giving me an example that went like this:

A husband comes home from work and is in an angry huff. The wife seeing her husband’s behavior upon arriving home immediately thinks to herself that she should have worn a different outfit or she should have cooked something else for dinner or perhaps cleaned up the house a bit more.

Upon hearing the above example, it was my turn to laugh hard. No! That’s definitely not me. I would never think like that. It would never occur to me to think like that. That exchange was so shocking to me that it lives as something that I will possibly never forget. That is a completely foreign way of thinking for me, yet it is commonplace for many people in our society to have self image issues.

In the 1960’s sociologist Morris Rosenberg developed a self-esteem scale, which can be found online in the form of a simple test that can even be scored electronically. This is an online test you can take and score in a few seconds. Just make sure you read each question fully before answering.

Alternatively, you could look over this list and see how many of these signs and symptoms you have or someone you know has.

Signs and Symptoms of Low Self-Esteem

  1. Sensitive to criticism or perceived criticism.
  2. Social withdrawal.
  3. Hostility.
  4. Excessive preoccupation with personal problems.
  5. Negative thoughts and/or self-critical thoughts.
  6. Inability to handle praise.
  7. Condescending or puts other people down.
  8. Controlling personality (instead of empowering others).
  9. Can’t say no.
  10. Being indecisive.
  11. Blames others (instead of taking responsibility for.
  12. Overly apologetic.
  13. Doesn’t stand up for yourself.
  14. Gives up too easily.
  15. Aiming too low or avoiding challenges.
  16. Chronically comparing yourself to others
  17. Easily depressed.
  18. Ruin your own fun or good times.
  19. Claim everything is luck.
  20. You buy things you don’t like.
  21. You tell really dumb lies (and then wonder why).
  22. Pessimism.
  23. Exaggeration.
  24. Lack of boundaries.
  25. Overly concerned about others opinions of others.
  26. Timid behavior.
  27. Absence of assertiveness.
  28. Pretend to be someone that you are not (Pretense).
  29. Non-conformist/Anti-social behaviors.
  30. Rebellious behaviors.
  31. Lack of generosity.
  32. Material outlook (judging others by what material goods they have or don’t have).
  33. Doubting yourself.
  34. Thinking that other people treat you badly because you somehow deserve it.
  35. Competitiveness.
  36. Perfectionism.
  37. Alienation (alienating others).
  38. Procrastination.
  39. Anxiety and emotional turmoil.
  40. Eating disorders.
  41. Overthinking.
  42. Workaholic.
  43. Over or Under achieving.
  44. Disliking people in general.
  45. Self-limiting beliefs.
  46. Difficulty being in the present moment.
  47. Shame.

Phrases that indicate low self-esteem

If you still are unsure, here are some specific examples of phrases people with low self-esteem often use:

  1. “I can’t”

  2. “It’s impossible”

  3. “I hate the way I look”

  4. “I’m not good enough”

  5. “I’m not worth it”

  6. “I can’t say no”

  7. “I’m not as good as…”

  8. “I don’t deserve…”

  9. “I’m sorry”

  10. “I can’t decide”

Now that we’ve dived into low self-esteem, let’s look at the characteristics of someone with high self-esteem, which should give you a good basis for comparison as you read further.

Characteristics of People with High Self-Esteem

Typically people with high self-esteem:

  1. Love meeting people.
  2. Have the courage to express themselves.
  3. Have lives full of adventures.
  4. Don’t care about other people think of them.
  5. Are nicer to be around.
  6. Believe in themselves and their abilities.
  7. Are more willing to accept their own failures.
  8. Respect the differences in other people.
  9. Have healthy relationships.
  10. Look for people who respect them and that they respect in return.
  11. Are self-confident.
  12. Have internal peace.
  13. Seek continuous self-improvement.
  14. Accept themselves unconditionally (self-love; self-acceptance).
  15. Take responsibility for their own lives.
  16. Tolerate frustrations well.
  17. Are willing to take calculated risks.
  18. Are loving and loveable.
  19. Are self-directed.
  20. Are assertive.
  21. Have a natural curiosity.
  22. Love challenges.
  23. Are eager to learn new things.
  24. Are more able to express their emotions.
  25. Are more spontaneous.
  26. Compete with themselves and not with other people.
  27. Can handle both positive and negative emotions.
  28. Are always willing to help other people.
  29. Are less susceptible to social pressures.
  30. Are more capable of forming satisfying love relationships.
  31. Are happier with life.

Low self-esteem, like high self-esteem can be found in all types of people including very successful professionals across all employment fields. It is not limited to one socioeconomic category. Some years ago, when I was working with my children, I did extensive research to find all of the signs and symptoms of low self-esteem. What surprised me was that low self-esteem was not like depression where there is an agreed upon list of criteria for what constitutes depression. Low self-esteem was all over the board.

I am not a therapist or medical professional in any capacity, this list is simply that – a list of what is said to be a sign or a symptom of low self-esteem. It seems from my research one of the more noticeable signs or symptoms is being sensitive to criticism, or perceived criticism, and being hypervigilant to signs of rejection or perceived signs of rejection. Individuals with low self-esteem can perceive criticism, rejection, rebuff, or disapproval when there isn’t any.

Now, let me share with you the negative impact that low self-esteem can have on you. This is a compiled list with everything I could find about the negative effects it has on people.

Negative Impacts of Low Self-Esteem

Typically those who have a low self-esteem will be more likely to:

  1. Interpret non-critical comments as critical.
  2. Have increased anxiety.
  3. Have increased stress.
  4. Experience more loneliness.
  5. Have increased chances of depression.
  6. Cause problems in platonic friendships.
  7. Cause problems in romantic relationships.
  8. Hinder their academic success.
  9. Hinder their job performance.
  10. Have more negative feelings.
  11. Exhibit self-loathing.
  12. Be obsessed with perfection.
  13. Have lowered resilience (making it harder to recover from setbacks).
  14. Feel powerless.
  15. Have an increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse.

The above list is not going to give you a happy life. The negative impacts of low self-esteem are counter to what you want going on in your life.

The good news is that low self-esteem is something that you can change – over time with some effort.SO, what are you waiting for? Here is a list of how to improve your self image and start moving up the scale of self-esteem. You can get there. I know that you can.

Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem

  1. Practice loving yourself AND your imperfections.
  2. Make a plan for your future that makes you happy and inspired.
  3. Start using your time to forward the plan you have for your life.
  4. Engage in personal growth and development like it matters.
  5. Make signs and place them around your living space. For example: “I am good enough.” Or “I don’t have to be perfect.” Or “I am loved and valued.” Signs really work!
  6. Volunteer someplace. Hopefully somewhere that would make you feel happy.
  7. Practice gratitude.
  8. Have hobbies that help you love your life.
  9. Figure out what makes you happy and sprinkle your life with that. Bring intentionality to your daily living.
  10. Practice Self-Care.
  11. Recognize that this is a process. Rome was not built in a day nor will you go from having low self-esteem to high self-esteem overnight. Have compassion for yourself that you even recognize that you do or might have low self-esteem. That’s a good starting point.
  12. Learn to manage your thoughts. Replace any negative self-talk with life-affirming positive thoughts.
  13. Manage your integrity like it matters because it does. Integrity is a muscle that will help you feel better and make progress in every area of your life.
  14. Don’t skimp on your sleep. It’s very important to your overall well-being, which is critical as you work on raising your self-esteem.
  15. Increase your nutrition any way that you can. Every little bit helps.
  16. Try doing affirmations. They can work wonders.
  17. Take a page from professional and Olympic athletes and visualize you living your dream life. See it in your mind. If you can see it and believe it – you can achieve it or so the saying goes. I firmly believe that is true.
  18. As for help, support or coaching or a mentor!
  19. Really get to work on being present! You can’t be in your head if you are really being present in the moment.
  20. Make it a point to play and have fun. Laugh as much as you can.
  21. Exercise is good for the body and it will definitely help you if you have low self-esteem. Remember that walking is a very effective form of exercise.
  22. Read or watch inspiring materials. Stay away from negative, depressing or dark material.
  23. Make up your mind about how your life is going to go moving forward – and be rigorous and relentless in your pursuit of happiness and joy. Don’t let anything stop you from having a happy and beautiful life.
  24. Determine if you need therapy. If so, get going.
  25. Get out there and socialize because that is a great way to boost your feelings.
  26. Spend 15 minutes a day doing something to improve your life. Go for a walk – preferably outside. Clean up your living space or car. Get rid of stuff you don’t use or need. Find something to do for 15 minutes a day to improve your life and that will equal over 91 hours in a year. That’s a lot of time!
  27. Pray or meditate.
  28. Dress and groom yourself every day! You will look and feel so much better!
  29. Get a partner who wants to work on their self-esteem or their life and support each other. It will be a lot more fun than doing it alone!

Concluding Thoughts

On the road to having a life that you LOVE, low self-esteem is one of the show stoppers that can rob you of love, joy, and happiness. Yet, even if you have low self-esteem right now, it is not something that you are stuck with!

There are plenty of things that you can do on a daily basis that over time will completely transform your life. If you spent 15 minutes a day working on your life or yourself then in a year you will have spent 91 hours forwarding or improving your life. That is significant. That is so doable! Everyone has 15 minutes that they can spare. The question is are you willing to have a life that you LOVE?

We are all works in progress. While some people are stuck in the past or have no traction to move forward, it is possible for anyone to create a life that they love over time. Helping people live their best life with LOVE, joy, and happiness is one of my passions. What is holding you back in life? What support do you need? How can I help you? There is no time like the present to take command of your life and start doing the things that are necessary for you to be happy and have a powerful life you LOVE. That is what I want for all of you – sheer love, joy, and happiness. Let me know how I can help you get there.


Picture of Lisa Lundy, B.S., DTM

Lisa Lundy, B.S., DTM

Author of The Love.Life Book (Due out November 2020)
Author of the Super Allergy Cookbook - Allergy & Celiac Cookbook (September 2007)

Allergy & Gluten Free website:

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12 thoughts on “How to Increase Self-Esteem”

    1. Dear Char! I am happy to hear that! Do you need any other support in the area of self-esteem? Please do let me know! I would love to help you! Love, Lisa

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