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  • Writer's pictureSonia Neale

Five Tips to Healthy Self-Esteem

Self-esteem and confidence are quite abstract and nebulous concepts. It can difficult to know ourselves what it looks and feels like if we haven’t got much of it. Saying no and setting boundaries, valuing and liking yourself is the foundation of healthy self-esteem and self-worth. Here are five tips on gaining a sense of self-esteem and confidence.

Are you afraid to say no?

Saying no to a request can be difficult, especially when in the past this particular person has ridden rough-shod over your needs and concerns. In this space offer them a “Compliment Sandwich” where you acknowledge respectfully what they are asking and you respectfully give your reasons why you can’t do this, such as when someone asks “can you help me set up a new website?” and your reply to this might be:

“I know you need this website as soon as possible,” (respectful acknowledgement)

“But I am very busy and don’t have enough time to do the things I want to do,” (respectful decline)

Also, I know you’re clever enough to work out how to do a website by yourself.” (respectful possible solution.)

If you want something to change, then you have to do something different and when you do give someone a “compliment sandwich”, its up to them whether they eat it up or choke on it.

Do you set boundaries?

Setting a boundary can be difficult, because when you set a boundary someone will get upset, especially someone who has violated your boundaries in the past. Healthy boundaries keep relationships safe. If you grew up in a household without healthy boundaries, it can be difficult to know what is healthy and what is not. For example, perhaps someone visits you for lunch and at 3pm isn’t picking up on your hints of having to pick up the kids from school and you have to spell it out to them. “Well, it’s been lovely having you for lunch, but I must get on with my day now.” This validates their existence in your life, and also lets them know it’s time to leave.

Do you value/validate who you are?

Valuing who you are means saying no, creating strong boundaries and feeling that you are worthy of being able to do so. It’s validating yourself with your own thoughts and feelings and that this is how you want to live your life. When your internal self matches your external circumstances, this can feel comfortable and validating. It’s about liking yourself enough to stick up for yourself when necessary.

Do you like/love yourself?

This can be a tricky one. Loving yourself involves coming to terms with your past, integrating your experiences and knowing and owning that behaviour, thought, emotion or feeling. It’s also seeing yourself and your life, both good and not so good as one continuous event and hugging and cuddling the mistakes of your past as seeing them as learning experiences.

How do you want to spend your time?

For some people routine and structure help keep them safe from free-floating anxiety. A structured day can mean, getting up at the same time every day, having a shower, making the bed, having coffee and breakfast, so by a certain time you are ready to live your day. It doesn’t matter what you do but, in my experience, keeping to a realistic but flexible timetable keeps me out of mischief.


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