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Explains what self-esteem is, practical tips for improving your self-esteem, and advice on where you can go for support.
This page has some tips and suggestions for improving your self-esteem.
Some people find these ideas useful, but remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with, and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If something isn't working for you (or doesn't feel possible just now), you can try something else, or come back to it another time.
"Realising that I can change my ideas about what I base my self-esteem on has helped. I can't do what I used to, but I can be the kind of person I want to be and now that seems more important to me."
"I've come to realise that people get to choose what they present about themselves online ... In reality, no one's life is perfect and everyone has insecurities, and it's important to remember this in order to not feel bad about yourself every time you see somebody post the 'perfect' selfie."
"Taking a few minutes for myself each day can really help me feel better; I like doing yoga and meditation."
"Focus on 'small wins' ... Do the little things and use it as a springboard. Whatever you can do be proud of it!"
"I found it helped to review my CV. It made me realise what skills, experience etc I've picked up over the years... and that I'm actually a very valuable person. If the people I'm with don't choose to believe that, that's their problem, not mine."
Talking therapies can sometimes be helpful for building your self-esteem, or finding ways to cope with experiences that have affected how you feel about yourself. You may also find arts therapies helpful for your self-esteem.
"I have problems feeling valued if I am not valued by others. Being loved by others certainly does not hinder your self esteem. Might be more healthy if you are able to love yourself internally though. You need a reservoir of self-love to fall back on."
Some organisations offer courses or workshops to help you build your self-esteem or learn assertiveness, including:
The Reading Well books scheme includes books which can help your self-esteem – Reading Well books are available in many local libraries. The organisation Mind Tools also provide further tips on assertiveness on their website.
"The thing that has helped me the most has been learning to ignore other people's opinions and expectations. I get to decide what's important for me and my life and where to focus my energy/time."
"Try to do one thing that pushes you slightly ... doesn't matter if big or small ... just something that makes you feel like you're making progress. Don't beat yourself up. Just allow yourself time to gradually build up your self-belief again."
"It's not for everyone but martial arts has really boosted my self esteem, I was awful when I started ... but I've been doing it for a year now, done a few gradings and competitions and even though I have miles to go until I am advanced I still feel like I have really accomplished something."
If you’ve experienced other issues that have affected your self-esteem, such as abuse or bullying, it could be helpful to also explore the help that's available for these issues. If you have been abused in childhood, the National Association for People Abused in Childhood is there to support you. Our pages of useful contacts for abuse and PTSD list many more organisations that could a help.
"I had always just presumed [my dislike of myself] was a part of who I was ... It was only when I realised that my self-esteem didn't have to be negative that I started challenging my own ideas about myself."
Watch Louise's video on how she took on the Couch to 5k challenge and how it's boosted her mind and body.
This information was published in January 2019. We will revise it in 2022.
References are available on request. If you would like to reproduce any of this information, see our page on permissions and licensing.