10 Things To Do Now To Boost Your Self-Esteem

When I was in college, my roommate and I watched True Romance at the tiny campus movie theater, and from this unlikely source sprung a new game that packed a powerful punch to boost self-esteem: The "You're So Cool" game. We loved the film's tagline, "You're so cool," which Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette would casually toss back and forth to each other in the midst of being badasses and being madly in love. "You're so cool," my roommate and I would call to each other across the green. "You're so cool!" we'd squeal a spot dubbed "the end of the world," where a field dipped steeply into a valley and fireflies lit up at night.

One night when I was feeling low, she invented the game. "You're so cool because you have the biggest collection of alligator shirts I've ever seen in my life," she said. "Now, your turn. Say, 'I'm so cool because . . .'" It felt really weird at first, to toot my own horn like that. I probably said something like, "I'm so cool because I like grilled cheese?" And I probably ended the sentence with a question mark. Then she said something else, something deeper about my personality, along the lines of, "You're so cool because you have the ability to have a conversation with anyone." And I thought of something else. And back and forth until I felt better.

We all have rough patches when little hits of self-esteem work wonders. But even in the best of times, self-confidence is important, and I'd wager that just about everyone could stand to remind themselves of their own amazingness now and then. Whether you're newly single and want to do some work on yourself, in a relationship and want to remind yourself of your self-worth or just plain having a bad day, here are 10 ways to tell yourself, "You're so cool."

1. Make A "You" List With Friend(s)

Ask a few friends to make a list of things they love about you. Respond by writing down five things you love about yourself, and send it to your friends. Have your pals write five more things they love about you. Repeat ad infinitum. I started this recently with my best friend, who went through a breakup last month. We were talking about things she loves in her personality one day, and she was like, "I should write some of these things down." Later that night, I did just that: I took five minutes to jot down five things about her that I love in an email, and sent it over. Don't be shy to ask friends to help in this endeavor — and you can repay the favor too.

2. Ask Yourself Questions To Make A List Of Your Best Attributes

Perhaps you're feeling so down in the dumps that you can't even think of five things you love about yourself. It happens! So, as a precursor to the last suggestion, ask yourself questions about your character to yield a list of your most special qualities. They don't have to be insanely remarkable: The fact that you make a killer apple pie is just as important as your ability to make even the grumpiest old curmudgeon smile. Give yourself queries such as "What have people complimented me on in the past?" "What are my talents?" "What do I feel happiest doing?" This is a great way to think of your loveliest traits, but also a good exercise in and of itself: Self-discovery is vital in the quest for higher confidence.

3. To Gain Self-Esteem, Do Estimable Acts

Someone once related this adage to me, and it stuck with me. If you're gloomy, do something to raise your opinion of yourself — and your spirits. Volunteer at a soup kitchen, help a friend move, pay your mother a visit, ask what you can do to help someone else. It'll get your mind off yourself, and produce more self-respect in the process.

4. Go On Dates

If you're single, dates can be wonderful self-esteem boosters. That is, if you look at them in the right light. Don't expect second dates — just see the dates themselves as fun and validating. Someone thinks you're worthy of an hour (or three) of their time. You think the same of them. This is a nice agreement in mutual interestingness. If it goes further than that, cool. But most first dates aren't followed by repeat events, and that's totally cool.

If you're in a relationship, putting on your favorite clothes and going on a fun adventure with your love is a great way to get a little self-esteem kick. Not only does dressing your best make you feel better about yourself, intimacy and human connection always feels good — and if you plan the date and treat your partner, you'll feel awesome about yourself afterward.

5. Masturdate

Get your mind out of the gutter: I said "masturdate," and it's a great way to do something nice for yourself, which'll make yourself feel loved and important. Masturdating is just a fun way of referring to a solo date. Whether you take yourself to the movies, eat at your favorite restaurant or go to the beach, alone time is necessary. Plus, a masturdate is just for you, and it reinforces the idea that you're valuable. Hello, self-esteem uplift!

6. Take Sexy Photographs Of Yourself

Optional: Send them to your friends (AKA "frexting"). Even if you just put them in the vault, taking a few minutes to loll about your bedroom in various states of undress in an impromptu photo shoot is a great way to remind yourself of your own beauty — and hotness. Even if you don't love the photos at the time, you might look back sometime in the future and appreciate them more.

7. Have A Solo Dance Party

Nothing raises the mood like blasting Beyoncé or whomever to yourself. Plus, endorphins always make a gal feel good about herself. Extra self-esteem points if you listen to anything on this list.

8. Treat Yo Self

In the eternal words of Tom and Donna on Parks and Recreation, "treat yo'self." Whether it's a day at the spa, the jeans you've been coveting or just a long afternoon curled up with a book, let yourself enjoy something deeply. By performing little acts of kindness for yourself, you're underlining the idea that you're important and to be cherished.

9. One Word: Affirmations

I know they are mad cheesy, but they work. Tell yourself you love yourself in the mirror. If you can't do it with a straight face, keep doing it. One day, you'll say it without cringing or laughing — and mean it.

10. Obviously, Play The "You're So Cool" Game

"You're so cool because you make the most amazing pizza." "I'm so cool because I always remember my friends' birthdays." "You're so cool because your smile is highly infectious." Etc., etc., etc. This game is so cool because it's guaranteed to make you feel better about yourself — and because it's the best.

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