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How To Build Self Esteem

Discover how to build self esteem - both your own and others - so that you can fast-track your success.

A Gallup poll showed that two in three people have low self-esteem. So, if you were sitting in a room full of people, and looked at the person on your left, then the one on your right... only one of you is okay!


Definition of Self-Esteem

How much you like, respect and accept yourself. Your concept of how worthy, valuable, lovable and capable you are in society.

Ensure you do not confuse self-esteem with ego

Definition of Ego

An inflated opinion of yourself and often accompanied by a belief, (or desire to be), that you are superior to others


Building self-esteem is an internal job. It is you, telling you, how good you are ... with pride and not conceit.

Ego is you telling everyone else how good you are ... and generally accompanies someone with low self-esteem!

Before we jump into how to build self esteem, let's first take a look at the characteristics of someone with high self esteem. They:

  • Enjoy their lives
  • Are likely to be a greater risk taker
  • Have plenty of enthusiasm
  • Have a strong sense of purpose
  • Seem to be able to be and do what they want
  • Make clear choices about how they want to live
  • Use their talents, skills and abilities in a balanced, harmonious way
  • Value themselves, and others, for who they are not just what they do
  • Are not easily offended or insulted
  • Appreciate what comes their way
  • Readily admit to their faults and focus-forward
  • Bring out the best in others (they aren't threatened by others)
  • On the whole they like themselves and they like other people.

One more sidetrack before we learn how to build self esteem. Let's take a quick look at the characteristics of a person with a low sense of self - because sometimes it can be tricky to identify them. People sometimes provide an illusion of self-confidence when, in fact they aren't really convinced of their own value or competence. Do you know anyone who:

  • Feels threatened by change
  • Is easily offended
  • Has little or no value for themselves, or others
  • Doesn't like to see others succeed
  • Doesn't like to take risks
  • Gossips and puts others down ('Who does she think she is to ...')
  • Is fearful of people with high confidence
  • Tries to control other people - afraid to let things unfold naturally
  • Will not go for big goals
  • Is a master at pointing out all the faults, flaws and incompetence of those around them
  • Will kill other people's self-esteem to raise their own
  • Rips apart other people's hopes, ambitions, dreams etc.
  • Takes everything as an insult
  • Denies any mistakes they have made and blame others for it
  • Frets, fumes and fly into rages, sometimes even plotting revenge and retaliation

If you do then, you are probably dealing with someone with some self-esteem issues.

Here's How To Build Self Esteem.

There are many ways you can build self esteem. These are four that I particularly like:

  1. Building your belief about your ability to achieve
  2. Programming your subconscious with positive experiences
  3. Learning to love and accept yourself
  4. Feeling that you are accepted and you belong

So lets take a look at each of them in more detail.

How To Build Self Esteem - Action One: Building Self-Efficacy

Psychologists use the term self-efficacy to describe the beliefs you hold about what you are capable of achieving in life. People with high self efficacy generally have high self esteem. Having positive expectations helps build self-efficacy. Here's one good way, to get your day started with positive expectations.

Take a minute, first thing in the morning and recall a few of your life successes. It can be something small or something big. It can be from a week ago or it can be from 20 years ago!

Getting your drivers license, a badge at girl guides, getting your current job, climbing a mountain, raising money for charity, leading your team successfully through a challenging time.

As you think about your successes try to relive the feelings you felt then. Bring them up in your body. And relish that feeling for a few moments. Now take that feeling with you through the day.

If you hit a hurdle at some point in the day and begin to doubt your capability, flick back to these feelings -- feel again your successful moment -- dwell on that past success and those feelings for a few moments.

Fill yourself with this new vibe, and now turn back and look at your challenge with fresh eyes... you'll be amazed at how a few seconds can change your thinking, your posture, your mind. You will have switched on different neurons in your brain, and cells in your body, that will help you to be at your creative best.

Read more about Self Efficacy it is an important piece of how to build self esteem.

How To Build Self Esteem - Action Two: Be Mindful Of How You Go To Sleep

The last half hour before you go to bed is critical. You are more receptive to messages than at any other time during the day. When we go to sleep our conscious mind clicks off, and our subconscious mind clicks on, and entertains itself for the rest of the evening.

Your brain is like an i-pod that records absolutely everything you have ever felt, done, experienced, learnt, said ... never to be lost.

So, while you are asleep, your subconscious flicks from one recording to another. It might pull one out from a few months ago, then flicks over to one from a few years ago - back and forth back and forth. Studies have also shown, that you go over what you recorded during the day 3-5 times during your sleep that night. And here is the really exciting part - what you did in your last 30 minutes before going to sleep you replay 15-17 times during the night.

Well at least it is exciting if you are doing something positive before you go to sleep!

Unfortunately 95% of people watch t.v. before they go to bed. What are the images they are bringing into their sub-conscious each night? More often than not they are images of rape and mayhem from the latest episode of NCIS and such.

How are you spending your last half hour at night? Affirmations, prayer, reading uplifting works, journaling, meditating. Create a positive experience before you go to bed.

How To Build Self EsteemSleepless nights because you aren't sure you are being the best you can? Contact me about one-to-one coaching.

How To Build Self Esteem - Action Three: Loving and Accepting Yourself

This exercise will probably feel very uncomfortable, and if you have a partner you will probably need to tell them what you are doing and why.

Go to your mirror and look yourself in the eye now hold eye contact - no looking away. Acknowledge everything you did well or are glad that you did that day ...

Got up on time, ate a healthy breakfast, played with the kids, loved my wife and so on.

Then, and this is important: say to yourself "I just wanted to let you know that I love you."

The first few times that you do this, you may feel silly, numb, giggle, cry, go blank. We are doing something against traditional conditioning. Everything you've been taught about being humble is being challenged. But being overly humble, is a negative self-esteem act. Give yourself permission to love yourself!

Try it for 3-4 days and you will drop to another level within yourself. It is kind of a weird feeling it is almost like you have developed a crush on yourself.

Self-acceptance is an essential component of high self-esteem.

Accept your faults and experience the truth of who you are without feeling shame or guilt.

When you love yourself you will become more productive, creative, playful and joyful.

Read about improving your self talk (you know that constant chatter that goes on in your head). The diagram on the self-talk page shows how that chatter impacts on your self worth and consequently your performance.

How To Build Self Esteem - Action Four: (Building Belonging and Acceptance)

This tip is mainly for parents ... but you can do it for yourself as well!

For parents who want an easy tool to build their children's self-esteem ... Have two photos right beside your child's bed that are the last things they see at night, and the first thing in the morning.

One photo is of them doing something that makes them really happy, where they are laughing and being successful. The intent of this photo is to deliver the message to the child: "I am accomplished." The other photo is of their family.This gives them a sense of belonging. Both are important elements in building self-esteem.

In fact when you walk into people's offices/cubicles, you can tell an awful lot about their self esteem from the photos they have displayed!

Read more about acceptance and belonging.

How To Build Self Esteem - In Conclusion ...

Having high self-esteem doesn't mean you feel great every single minute, of every single day. If you've messed up, it is appropriate that you feel remorse, or regret. But how long you do that and what you do about it is the critical part. Dwelling on the mess or dwelling on how you can fix the mess - the choice is yours.

The higher your self-esteem the quicker you will dust yourself off and get on with life.

To be a High Performance Leader you need to ensure that your self-talk is building your self-acceptance and belief in yourself. If the recording you constantly play to yourself is one of ripping and tearing your self esteem apart ... then you need to STOP IT.

If you can't do it for yourself, then do it for those around you - your colleagues and most importantly your family. If your self-esteem is low, with every snide, teasing comment you make, you will bring everyone down with you - and I know that isn't who you want to be otherwise you wouldn't have made it to the bottom of how to build self esteem! smile

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