If you had a person standing over you all the time, calling you names, doubting your actions, judging your looks, and minimizing your successes, it would be pretty difficult to figure out how to boost your self-esteem. It would be almost impossible for you to walk around with your head up high. It would be pretty tough to celebrate the ways in which you matter and you make the world a better place. It would also be hard not to punch that person in the throat, if I'm being all the way real. But the truth is, many of us do have that person with us. We live with a constant bully we can't escape. It's ourselves.
If we really want to have healthy self-esteem, being nicer to ourselves is the number one, most essential thing that we need to master. It all starts from within.
The sad thing about that bully inside of us is that we become so used to it, we don't even challenge the garbage it fills our heads with. We let it tear us down and we don't even flinch. The voice destroys our self-esteem. It makes us believe things that aren't true. It keeps us trapped.
We would never treat someone we love the way we treat ourselves. Case in point, when I started writing this article, I decided to also start a tally of all of the good thoughts I had about myself and all of the negative thoughts I had about myself. It was bad thoughts 26, good thoughts 1.
We all do it, and we all need to stop. According to the Mayo Clinic, those negative thoughts we have are often inaccurate exaggerations, all-or-nothing thinking, or incorrect conclusions, and they erode our self-esteem. If we want to have healthy self-esteem, we must learn to filter out our negative thoughts and see ourselves through a more realistic and positive lens. We must be nice to ourselves.
Easier said than done right? I get it. But there's no healthy self-esteem without healthy self-talk. So I've put together a few resources that have really inspired me to pay attention to how I treat myself as I journey toward healthy self-esteem.
1. Talk To Your Self-Esteem
Take a look at this gem from BuzzFeed that hits the nail on the head when it comes to how we treat ourselves.
2. Meet Yourself
Niko Everett of Girls for Change shared her story about her journey toward self-esteem. She gave several good tips in this video for positive self-talk. She coached her girls to imagine turning up the volume on good thoughts and to imagine pressing delete on negative thoughts. She also made a rule aimed at letting good in from others: when someone gives you a compliment, simply say "thank you."
3. Do Some De-Programming
You weren't born saying mean things to yourself. You picked it up somewhere. One of the biggest influences on our self-esteem is the media, according to Jean Kilbourne's world-famous lecture series "Killing Us Softly." Positive self talk feels like activism once you realize that companies pump billions of dollars into making us feel inadequate so we'll buy products.
4. Practice Radical Self Love
Gala Darling, while writing about fashion and style, realized that what women were really craving wasn't the perfect outfit, but a way to love themselves. She's seen first-hand how practicing radical self-love helps people overcome eating disorders, leave abusive partners, start businesses, and go after the lives they want and deserve. One of her best tips for eliminating negative self talk is to create a journal that she calls a Radical Self Love Bible and fill it with things you love about yourself. She also recommends we write down every compliment we receive to shift our thinking from what's wrong with us to why we're amazing.
5. Don't Be A Mean Girl
Laci Green breaks it down as Laci Green always does. If you're trying to promote a whole vibe of self love and being nice to yourself, you can't really go around making other women feel like they suck. That doesn't help make the world an easier place for women to live in. Green recommends ditching girl hate for girl love and being a positive influence in the lives of other women. That means no more snarking on other women's outfits, hair, jobs, and so on. Let My Pale Skin take that message to your brain in another way:
You're damned if you do and you're damned if you don't, so you might as well turn the volume all the way down on other people's negative comments and work to accept your own truth.
If you stop being your own biggest bully, you'll see how much better you feel and how much more love you have to give to others. You're in charge of how you chose to see the world. Chose a world in which you're awesome.