Celebrate Your Strengths To Boost Your Self-Esteem

It is easy to be critical of yourself when you are struggling with self-worth. If asked, you likely can list your shortcomings effortlessly, but I bet if I asked you to name your strengths you would have a tougher time. Being able to not only name, but also celebrate your strengths is a very important step for improving your self-acceptance and self-esteem.

Focusing on the positive can help to literally retrain your brain. It becomes easier to bring the positives to mind, and replace the criticisms that usually are the focus. You can genuinely increase your overall happiness (happiness set point) with gratitude, optimism and self-compassion.

When I was asked to make a list of 50 of my strengths, I couldn’t even think of five. If you have the same problem, maybe the steps I followed can help you too.

My process for finding my strengths

First, I wrote down any strengths that came easily to mind, and then I listed the compliments I remembered receiving. When I couldn’t think of anymore myself, I looked up lists of strengths and read through them for ideas. Anything you are good at – talents, hobbies, etc. – may give you more ideas of your strengths.

Here is a peek at my list:

A partial list of my strengths I wrote out as part of an exercise.
This is a small section of the 50 strengths I was asked to create. Please excuse any spelling errors. Spelling is *not* a strength of mine.

I also saw a tip suggesting that you might find strengths in perceived “weaknesses”. For example: people who are messy tend to be creative, and if others find you boring, perhaps it’s because you are more realistic. Do you consider yourself a doormat? A positive spin makes you generous/giving. Try this with traits you find to be your weaknesses, and challenge yourself to turn as many as you can into strengths. “How to Turn Your Weaknesses Into Strengths” has more examples if you get stumped.

Celebrate your strengths

Using these ideas to help you, try to make your own list of strengths. You don’t have to start with 50, but give 10-20 a try. Keep at it until you meet your goal. Follow up by keeping an ongoing list. Some people do this by dedicating a few pages in their journal. Another great idea I saw on Pinterest was to write compliments about yourself on bits of paper, and put them into a jar. You can either read them periodically, or save them up to read in a year. Even keeping an notebook next to your bed is a good idea.  Whatever method works for you is the right one.

Spending time each day to focus on and celebrate your strengths will slowly help you to change your perspective and increase your self-esteem. Your list will be there to remind you of your positive traits on days you are struggling. It is also a good reminder of all you have going for you even while you may have a few things you still want to improve.

Coming up with a list of 50 strengths was a daunting task, but I was so incredibly proud of myself when I finished. Make up your own list, and feel free to share your accomplishment with me on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, or join us at Growing in Self-Acceptance and share there!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

7 Ways to Overcome Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem is not something that can be fixed in “10 Easy Steps” or after reading one life changing article. It is a process, but a process you can approach with fairly simple activities. In my previous post on self-esteem, I covered three activities. For today, I’ve collected seven more ideas on what you can do to overcome low self-esteem.

Unsure if you have low self-esteem? This post may be able to answer that question.

Self-Esteem Boosting Activities

Journal

Take time each day to write down any negative thoughts you have. Getting them down on paper, and out of your head is a good first step to getting past them. Many times, once I write those thoughts down, I can see that either my mind has exaggerated the situation, or it is something easily fixed.

A journal is also a great place to write those compliments that you are working on accepting gracefully. Each night, write down any you received from people, or come up with one for yourself.

Refine your support system

Work on surrounding yourself with people who celebrate your strengths instead of pointing out your weaknesses. You do not have to keep anyone around who tears at your self-worth. Get rid of as many of those people as possible, even if they are family.

I’m not saying you should surround yourself with “yes people”. Constructive criticism is very important, but constant criticism is not something you should have to deal with. If you walk away from an encounter with someone feeling worse about yourself, instead of encouraged or motivated, that is the type of relationship you should feel free to end.

People inspire you, or they drain you - pick them wisely.

Start the day on a positive note

Whether you like to laugh or prefer something inspiring or uplifting, find something that makes you smile in the morning. Start the day smiling, and it will be easier to have a positive outlook with all you do.

You can leave positive quotes around the house on post-it notes, check out funny videos on YouTube, or sign up to have uplifting stories delivered to your email, among other ideas. The options for this are just about unlimited, you just have to search a bit.

Discover and pursue your passions

Write down all of your positive qualities and your interests. Take a look at your lists, and see what stands out. Do you see any patterns or traits that stick out or really fit together?

My enjoyment of writing, desire to help people, and gift of empathy directed me toward blogging, but it took me until I was 37 to discover. Since she was two my daughter has adored baking. She has a real drive for it and always has. My oldest spawn has a talent for drawing. It has been a joy to watch their skill develop over the years. Drawing is something they do for enjoyment, and strive to improve their skills at.

Your passions might jump out at you, or it might take some contemplation. Don’t worry if it takes trying a bunch of new things before you find what you really love. Have fun with the process!

Sooth yourself

Nurture yourself. Be kind to yourself. Treat yourself as you would a child. Be sure you get enough sleep, food, etc. Provide comfort for yourself any time you can.

Do the hard stuff too, and spend time adulting so you provide yourself the security you deserve. You may think this sounds like the opposite of “soothing”. I do too, but having all the hard stuff dealt with removes a lot of stress.  Pay the bills, make the doctor appts, etc.

Provide visual cues

Pick some quotes you like, or phrases that click with you, and tape them up where you will see them through the day. These can provide perspective and hopefully curb any negative self-talk you may have.

Your self-esteem is ingrained and it is going to take repetition to change. Don’t just choose what ever positive cliché you run across first. Make sure you choose something that really resonates with you and you agree with.

Redefine failure

Lack of success does not equal failure. You only truly fail if you quit trying. Instead, “failure” can be viewed as learning opportunities, chances to grow, and steps along the way to your goal. None of those things are negative! You don’t need to fear trying something and not being successful right away, if you look at it with this perspective. Many very successful people describe “failure” the same way.

 

"We are all failures - at least the best of us are." J.M. Barrie
Sir James Matthew Barrie, 1st Baronet, OM was a Scottish novelist and playwright, best remembered today as the creator of Peter Pan.
"Winners are not afraid of losing. But losers are. Failure is part of the process of success. People who avoid failure also avoid success." Robert T. Kiyosaki
Robert T. Kiyosaki is best known as the author of Rich Dad Poor Dad. This is the #1 personal finance book of all time.
"Failure is so important. We speak about success all the time. It is the ability to resist failure or use failure that often leads to greater success. I've met people who don't want to try for fear of failing." J.K. Rowling
Joanne Rowling, pen names J. K. Rowling and Robert Galbraith, is a British novelist, screenwriter and film producer best known as the author of the Harry Potter fantasy series.

Again, these aren’t magic steps or anything. Choosing a few to practice daily can help you start building yourself up though, and that will develop your self-worth. Gradually, you will see yourself overcome low self-esteem.

If you find any of these ideas helpful, please share on your favorite social media site. Thank you for stopping by the blog!

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

 

12 Signs You Have Low Self-Esteem

I was all set to write about self-confidence. Then I got into the definitions, and realized self-esteem was actually what I had in mind.

Self-confidence: a feeling of trust in one’s abilities, qualities, and judgment.

Self-esteem: confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.

See, I want to talk about self-esteem. I want you to know deep down that you are worthy of love and respect. Since self-esteem develops over time, it isn’t something you can just read a multi-step list or “one mega secret” article about and fix. Self-esteem is a long-term goal. Still, I included a few things at the end of the post that you can do to start building yours up.

So, how can you tell if you have low self-esteem? Here are a few possible signs.

12 Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Indicators of low self-esteem

Inability to accept compliments: Do you find it hard to just say, “thank you” when someone offers you a compliment? Are you suspicious of their intentions? Is the idea of deserving praise foreign to you?

Accentuating the negative: When asked about yourself, can you list your strengths, or is it only your weaknesses that jump to mind? If you think of how life is right now, do you think of positives and wins or only struggles?

Being overly concerned about the opinions of others: Do you make choices based on what other people might like? Does the idea of other people judging you cause daily stress?

Self neglect: Are you good at self-care, or do you let it slide? Do you make sure you get the sleep, food, etc you need? Do you see the doctor?

Reluctance to take on challenges: Do you try new things? Are you challenging yourself at work or in your personal life? Would your friends and family say you play it safe?

Backing down during a disagreement to appease others: If you quit an argument, is it to keep the peace, or because you have changed your mind. Do you ever win an argument? Can you stand firm in your thoughts on a subject?

Reluctance to put yourself first: Are your needs ever first priority? Someone with low self-esteem doesn’t think they are important enough, and so is always taking care of everyone else before themselves.

You give up too soon:  Do you work for what you want or give in without a fight? This can apply to arguments, fights, or goals in life among other things. If something you want is hard do you keep trying?

Being indecisive over simple decisions: If you can’t decide what to wear each morning, and lunch seems like a life or death choice, you may be suffering from low self-esteem. It shouldn’t be so hard to make uncomplicated decisions. Do you worry any choice you make is wrong?

You compare yourself with others: Is your focus on yourself and your path in life, or do you always focus on how you compare to other people? Can you see your successes on their own, or is it always in measure to how someone else did?

Taking constructive criticism too personally: If someone suggests a way you can improve at your job (or in some other way), does it trigger tears or anger? Can you listen to criticism and see it as something helpful?

Reluctance to trust your own opinion or contribute it in conversation: Do you speak up, or hang back not sure your thoughts are worth sharing? Is it common for you to second guess yourself?

Do you recognize more than one or two of these? If so, it’s a good indication you have low self-esteem. Don’t worry, you aren’t alone. (I recognize more than a couple of them myself.) The good news is that, knowing this, you can start working toward improving how you see yourself! You may not believe it right now, but you are seeing yourself through a distorted lens.

It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else's eyes. -by Sally Field

Simple Activities That Help Raise Self-Esteem

Accept Compliments: Trust people are being sincere when they offer you a compliment. Take this a step further, and write these compliments down! Keep them in a notebook to review on days you are being extra hard on yourself, at the end of the week, or even go over them daily!

Find what you are good at and do it: Having confidence in your abilities, and allowing yourself pride in those skills, will contribute to your self-esteem over time. If you don’t already have a hobby or something that you enjoy, explore your options until you find one. Then, keep at it, and watch those skills improve.

Stop comparing yourself to others: I said simple, not easy. *wink* This may take time, but it is very important to start working on. The only person you should ever compare yourself to is you, and there are exceptions even to that.

I hope this gives you a good idea where you stand with your self-esteem, and a start on improving if needed. Everyone deserves to know, and feel, they are enough in this world and worthy of love and respect.

Be sure to share this on your favorite social media. We all know someone who can use a self-esteem boost.

The author's name, Leigh, in red script, to the left with a coffee cup to the right.

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5 Steps Toward Self Acceptance

These are not only steps toward finding self acceptance, but will eventually become habits to help you keep it up.  The journey toward self acceptance is not just a long road, it is unending. Life isn’t static. You are always changing, and so will your feelings about yourself. You will need to have habits in place to help yourself continue to find self acceptance.

So, what are some steps you can take on this journey? I’ve come up with five to discuss with you today.

1) Forgive yourself

Any past mistakes you have made, forgive yourself. No matter how big or small. You did your best, at the time, with what you knew. Now you know better, so you can do better, but you need to move on from the past.

It does you no good to dwell on those past mistakes. It changes nothing. All you can do now is move forward knowing better.

2) Work on fighting negative thoughts

That inner critic you hear doesn’t speak the truth. If the thoughts you hear aren’t something you would say to a close friend, disregard them. They aren’t helpful, they’re just unwanted, harsh judgment, and you don’t benefit from it.

The best way I’ve found to counteract negative thoughts, is to immediately tell myself, “No. That isn’t true,” and then correct the thought. For example, if I think, “No one likes you. No one really wants to be your friend.” I right away stop myself, sometimes with an actual, “Stop it,” and think, “Of course that’s not true. You know you have people who would be there for you if you called. You know you have people who enjoy spending time with you.”

It feels really awkward and weird at first, but with repetition it feels more natural and becomes automatic. One day, you will suddenly realize you are having fewer negative thoughts overall.

3) Stop comparing yourself to anyone

Seriously, anyone. You are a unique individual. No one on Earth has the same life experience as you. Think on how amazing that is!

No one has gone through the exact same things. No one is at the exact same place in their life. There is just no comparison to make.

Accept your life as the singular experience that it is, and see it as one-of-a-kind, to be appreciated with all its ups and downs.

4) Accept your flaws

Your flaws are part of the human experience. They are part of what makes you unique. It isn’t only your gifts and positive qualities that contribute to your uniqueness. Your faults really do add to who you are as a person.  Sometimes they are what draw people to you and even endear you to them. They are also opportunities to grow and learn. You may or may not be able to change what you perceive to be a flaw, so accept your flaws, because they make you who you are, and you are an amazing, distinctive individual.

5) Create a support system

Surround yourself with people who support you and accept you as you are. Find people who believe in you and are uplifting to be around.

If there are people in your life who drag you down, reinforce your negative self talk, or criticize you, ask yourself why you allow it. You deserve better. Distance yourself from such people so they can’t reinforce your negative thoughts.

There is so much more to finding self acceptance, but this list will get you started in the journey. If you found this helpful, please feel free to share it with your friends on Facebook, etc., and be sure to subscribe so you can easily join me back here for more tips and helpful posts.

(Edit: I have since written this post which contains 4 more steps you can take toward self acceptance.)

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The Fundamental Key to Happiness

New year, new me. It seems like that is always the theme this time of year. There is always a push to be changing and fixing yourself. Bettering yourself is a wonderful idea, but I really feel it is better to approach it from a place of loving yourself and not hating yourself. So I feel it’s better to work on self-acceptance first.

Self-acceptance is your satisfaction or overall happiness with yourself. It has a broader reach than self-esteem. While self-esteem focuses more on the positives, and the value we place on ourselves as individuals, self-acceptance is embracing all of yourself, both positive and negative.

Why is this important?

Self-acceptance quote "Accepting yourself is about respecting yourself. It's about honoring yourself right now, here today, in this moment. Not just who you could become somewhere down the line." Kris Carr

You are living with yourself, right now. All the strengths and weaknesses you deal with day to day are your reality. Self-acceptance is being able to embrace all of that, and stop judging yourself. Embracing everything about yourself, the good, the bad, and the ugly, allows you to move past self pity and self hate and into a more productive place.

Once you can have compassion and understanding for yourself, you stop wasting time being critical of your short comings. You can recognize your failings, and move past them. You can actually appreciate your good traits, and take advantage of them to help build the life you want.

Self-acceptance quote "Instead of trying to mend me, I decided to enjoy me. Instead of trying to solve me, I decided to discover me. It was one of the best decisions of my life." S. C. Lourie

Change that comes from a place of acceptance instead of derision is more successful. You will relieve so much pressure on yourself by being ok with where you are in life and who you are right now. Being happy and feeling good about yourself doesn’t leave you drained like self criticism. You can do so much with that energy. Loving yourself as you are means being ok with not being successful right away with a change. When you aren’t worried about your deficiencies you have mental energy available to focus on other things.

Can you imagine not obsessing over what you aren’t? Imagine the freedom. Picture being aware of it, but being able to focus on your strengths instead. Celebrating yourself as you are. It’s a beautiful thing.  I know, because I recently found that freedom. I’ll be sharing my story in an upcoming blog post.

Back to that freedom. Can you see why it is such a basic foundation to happiness? People are always searching for ways to be happy. There is lots of talk about improving self-esteem, but I think we all need to start much more basic and fundamental. Really, everyone tries to start backward. Losing weight, getting organized, buying new things, none of those things are going to help your self-esteem, and working on your self-esteem isn’t going to work, until you accept yourself.

In this blog, I want us to start at the foundation. I want us to work on improving our self-acceptance. All the rest will fall into place after that. I’ve striven for better self-esteem for so long. Once I started to understand and accept myself as I am, the rest just sorta happened. I still need to work on it, but that’s why I’m excited about the blog. I want to work on it with you!  How fun to have someone to do this with!

Sounds great! Now what?

Well, that’s also coming in future blog posts. So, click to subscribe, and be sure to come back and read more!

Please feel free to leave comments below. I’d love to hear from you. 🙂

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My Inspiration for this Blog (part 1)

I found a new purpose to my life in a kinda round about way. It sounds dumb, and is a bit embarrassing for me, but I want to give credit where it is due. I suppose it starts with a quote.

A story begins somewhere…

Over time I have read plenty of great quotes. Wonderfully uplifting, motivational words. For example:

Choose everyday to forgive yourself. You are human, flawed, and most of all worthy of love --Alison Malee

I don't know a perfect person. I only know flawed people who are still worth loving. --John Green

My Inspiration for This Blog pt1

There are so many more. These are great, but didn’t help me with one of my bigger problems. Not only do I suffer from low self-esteem, but I’ve been struggling to find a purpose beyond being a mother.

Trying to be OK with life in general not having a purpose didn’t help. I still needed a direction for myself.  For the longest time my kids were enough. They take enough time and energy those first few years, it can be very easy to let them be your sole focus. So, with my kids being out of the stages that require such intense focus, I found myself a bit lost. I didn’t need to spend all my time chasing them, researching solutions, and caring for them. I had unfocused time that was filled with nothing of importance.  This contributed to my depression to the point where my whole existence was centered around trying to survive depression and anxiety.

Now I have the right meds, and they made a big difference, but I was still struggling somehow.

Go to Part 2

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