Higher self-esteem is the basis for healthy relationships; it’s much easier to engage productively and in a healthy way with others when you respect your own needs, wants, rights, and identity. Self-esteem helps us build up a supportive network of friends and deal with the daily setbacks that are a part of life on (and off) campus. It’s never too late to start building healthy, positive self-esteem. Try these tips to counter negativity and love yourself:
- Positive thinking. Try your best to avoid thinking negative thoughts about yourself. Instead of listing out every little thing that you don’t like, try to go through all the things you do like. When you find yourself being critical, stop and think how accurate that criticism really is. Often, we’re too hard on ourselves; if so, counter that too-harsh-critique with some more realistic self-reflection.
- Learn from mistakes. We all screw up – a lot. Look at those mistakes as learning opportunities. Everyone else makes them, too. Whether it’s pulling an all-nighter because you procrastinated or upsetting a friend with your choice of language, you can learn from those mistakes and work on avoiding the same ones in the future.
- Be adventurous. Try new things, explore new hobbies, eat new foods! Experimenting with different activities can help you discover your talents and skills. Be proud of yourself and the things that you can do.
- Accept yourself. There are some things that you can change about yourself, and some that you can’t; make sure you distinguish between the two. For the things you can’t change, work on loving or accepting them as they are.
- Let your voice be heard. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind and share your voice with others. Join the conversation, keeping in mind that respect really does matter. Your opinions, thoughts, and feelings are valid and deserve to be shared.
- Lend a hand. Sometimes, helping others can really boost your own self-esteem. When you’re feeling down, help a friend or volunteer for a local cause (check out the Pace Center for great volunteering opportunities). Knowing that you’re making a difference can really enhance personal feelings of worth and usefulness.
- Practice self-care. Sometimes, improving your self-esteem can be as easy as taking a nap. Eat well, get good sleep, and exercise. Take time each day to take care of yourself through mindful, deliberate actions. Every so often, treat yourself to dessert or another episode of Netflix. Outside factors can really tear us down; that’s why it’s so important to rest, refuel, and protect yourself against the daily struggles that life can bring.