How You Can Increase Your Self-Esteem by Asking Questions

Want to wake up each morning and say, “I will no longer wait to be perfect in order to love myself and be happy?” A healthy sense of self is crucial to living a happy life.

You’re probably someone who, at some point, noticed that you aren’t speaking to yourself the way you deserve. Congratulations! You’re on the right track because you’re aware that it isn’t working for you anymore. One of the first steps on the road to self-love is to start valuing your sense of self-esteem and then make an effort to start doing things to improve it.

Say no to Negative Nancy.

Sad woman in the room

We all have negative thoughts from time to time, but when they are aimed at ourselves, this can be a sign of poor self-esteem. It’s sometimes hard even to notice that you’re doing this, especially if you normally speak to yourself in a negative way.

I am here to tell you that your language is incredibly important—not just how your friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, or co-workers treat you, but how you treat yourself.

On a scale of “I suck” to “I rock,” where do you stand?

To help you understand where you fit in on the scale of healthy self-esteem, take a moment to ask yourself these 10 questions:

  1. Are you able to say no and actually mean it?
  2. What type of people do you envy and why?
  3. How do you feel when you look at your body in the mirror?
  4. How do you feel about your appearance?
  5. Do you feel that you deserve the best?
  6. Would you say that you’re critical about yourself?
  7. Are you able to take personal space whenever you feel you need it without feeling guilty?
  8. Do you take the time to do things for yourself?
  9. What do you feel when someone gives you a compliment?
  10. When buying new clothes for yourself, do you feel guilty?

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Young woman reading book while lying in the bath with foam and candles

By now, I am sure you’re wondering what these questions mean and what they have to do with the way you view yourself.

Everything that happens to us is directly connected to the way we see ourselves because our self-image is a filter through which we interpret our experiences. If you noticed that your answers express negative language towards yourself, you may benefit greatly from practicing new ways of thinking to really try and improve your self-esteem.

If you’re looking to improve your self-esteem, it’s important to start tuning in, not out, and learn to love yourself more in the following ways:

  • Notice when you blame yourself or put yourself down, and make an effort to use kinder language towards yourself. Words have power, even if they are only in our heads.
  • Treat yourself like you would a best friend. You don’t constantly insult or berate your friends, right? You deserve to treat yourself the same way.
  • Never allow any invalidation of yourself, whether from within or out, to pass unchallenged.
  • Treat yourself to self-care: take a long bath, read, listen to music, get your hair and nails done. Taking care of yourself show that you love yourself and helps you reach your fullest potential.
  • Start thinking that you already deserve love and kindness. Give yourself permission to enjoy the world around you, because you deserve that.
  • Be grateful for everything you have in your life, and take the time to express that gratitude, even if it’s only a thought.

A journal entry a day keeps the negative thoughts away.

When I started the process of treating myself with the love and respect I deserved, and changed my language towards myself, I noticed a huge shift in my happiness. I was able to see this change, not only in the way I felt day-to-day, but also in the longer overall shift in mood because I documented the process from beginning to end.

Whenever I had a negative thought or something difficult happened, I entered my feelings in a journal. I began noticing the words flowing from my pen, and the process of journaling developed into something cathartic and calming for me.

Writing out my thoughts and feelings and then reading them, as opposed to just thinking them, made them more real and, after a while, I started to notice the arc of positive grow. Every day, I made a concerted effort to use kinder language to myself and unhealthy habits started to morph into healthy habits.

I hope that this helps you to take the first steps towards identifying where you stand with your self-esteem. Keep in mind that practice is key here.

If you have a difficult time treating yourself with more love and kindness, don’t worry: it takes time to develop any new skill. I ask that you be kind to yourself, even when you have a setback. Rome wasn’t built in a day and good things take time. You’re worth it though!

About the author

Collin Christine McShirley

She has a masters in clinical psychology, certified from the centre for dieting and eating disorders, and specializes in emotional eating, body image, mindful eating, and self-esteem. Visit her website to learn about her programs and specials.

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