Isn’t it sad how much time we spend putting ourselves down?
If we had a nickel for every time we felt inferior, stupid, unattractive, or unworthy, most of us would be millionaires.
We land on this Earth full of exuberance and wonder. All we need is a little food, a little comfort, and a clean bottom. But if we are deprived of those things, or if later on we are told we don’t measure up in some way, we learn to feel “less than.”
With enough negative reinforcement from others and ourselves, we become trained to see only our flaws and failures. Everything else fades into the background or has just a fleeting positive impact on our self-esteem.
If we’ve become trained to feel bad about ourselves, is it possible to retrain ourselves to feel good? Can we unlearn old beliefs and refocus our attention to see our own beauty and worthiness?
Yes, yes, yes!
It is not only possible, it’s imperative for our mental and physical health. Our well-being and happiness hinge on our ability to have positive self-esteem.
We desperately long for for an exit ramp out of the land of self-loathing.
Fortunately, our minds and hearts are malleable, and we can learn to love and accept ourselves. It is exhausting to live up to illusory expectations and disappointments. But with a combination of positive thought and positive action, you can lead yourself out of the dark side and into the light.
As with any new skill or new habit, you must start small and practice regularly. It may feel unnatural at first, but as you change your thoughts and actions, your feelings will follow.
You don’t have to wait to start feeling good about yourself. You can start with small, simple life actions every day that will help you see yourself for the awesome and amazing person you are.
Want some ideas? Here are 99 ways to feel good about yourself right now:
1. Call your mother. For most of us, this is the person who loves us the most and has our back. Ask her for some positive words. If not mom, then call that someone who is your support person.
2. Look in the mirror. Instead of finding your physical flaws, look at your best features. Your eyes? Your hair? Your smile? Focus on that for a minute and be grateful for it.
3. Write a love note. Let someone you care about know how you feel. Spill your guts. Be mushy. Sharing your love makes you feel lovable.
4. List your accomplishments. Go on, write them down. Everything from winning the spelling bee to completing a project on time. Write down anything you can think of that you feel proud about. Look at you!
5. Clear your desk. It clears your brain. It helps you think and opens the creative channels. Now you’re buzzing. And you have a nice clean desk.
6. Do 5 minutes of exercise. Yes, 5 minutes. It’s not intimidating, but it will get the ball rolling. Even a little bit of exercise will boost your energy and could be the start of a routine for you.
7. Meditate or pray. Go within. Let your ego drop away. Just be and step outside of self-judgement for a few minutes.
8. Fix your hair and make-up. Darn if it doesn’t make you feel better. When you look your best, you see yourself differently.
9. Apologize. If you’ve done something wrong, apologize. Guilt and shame are such unhealthy emotions. Take care of this right away.
10. Find something to give away. If you have something you don’t need or use, and it might be something someone else might need or use, give it to them. It feels good — like good Karma.
11. Lift someone’s spirits. You can turn around bad feelings about yourself right away when you channel your energy into making someone feel good about themselves. It’s crazy how that works.
12. Change one thing. If there’s something really bothering you about yourself, then pick one small action to change it and do that now. Go ahead. Just a little thing.
13. Write an affirmation. Find the thing that makes you feel really lousy about yourself. Now turn it around and state the opposite. There IS truth in the opposite. So write that down and repeat it until you believe it. Carry it around with you.
14. Dance in front of a mirror. How can you feel bad about yourself when you are dancing in front of the mirror? I mean really, just look at yourself.
15. Phone a friend. What are friends but walking, talking antidepressants? One dose of friend a day, and you are good to go!
16. Talk to yourself (like a friend). No friends home? Then be your own friend. How would a friend talk to you about your perceived faults? Have that conversation with yourself, and be a really loving supportive friend.
17. Follow through with a promise. If you’ve made a commitment, do it today. Get it off your plate. It feels good to be reliable.
18. Compare yourself. Look around you. You have more than most. You have many good things. Much of the world lives in abject poverty and suffering.
19. Don’t compare yourself. But don’t compare yourself to the 1% of the population (or less) than might have more or look better or seem smarter. Focus on your full cup.
20. Write a vision. If you want to feel good about yourself every day for the rest of your life, then write out a plan for that. What is your life vision? Start writing it down.
21. Relive your best memory. Pull up a wonderful, happy memory and take a few minutes to dwell on it. Go through all of the details and feel the feelings you had then. Now there’s a little boost for you.
22. Feed the birds. Go get a piece of bread and walk outside and feed those birdies. They will love you. You will be their little birdie god. They will sing your praises. It’s nice to be a bird deity.
23. Make your bed. You have a neat bed. It makes your room look neat. You are a neat person. So feel good about that.
24. Praise your children. Sometimes when we feel bad about ourselves, we take it out on our children. Don’t do that. Lift them up. Tell them everything you wanted to hear as a child.
25. Hug someone. Hugs are magical feel-good potions that infuse us with joy. If you have time, hug someone for the entire day. If not, just once will do.
26. Smile. Just the act of smiling tells your brain you are happy. Really. Try it.
27. Visualize loving kindness. This is a Buddhist meditation that helps you have compassion and selfless love for yourself and others.
28. Turn of the computer and connect. It’s hard to feel warm fuzzies about yourself when your only companion is a computer screen. Go find a living, breathing person and interact with them. They may say something nice to you.
29. Give just a bit more today. Today, go above and beyond. Do just a bit more with something at work or at home. Give more than is expected.
30. Adjust your expectations. You don’t have to be perfect or near perfect. You can screw up and still be just fine.
31. Let someone else decide. Relinquish responsibility to someone else every now and then. They can be right or in the spotlight, and you can let them. That’s OK.
32. Offer your seat. Isn’t it nice to see someone do that for a lady, or an elderly person, or a pregnant woman? Doesn’t it seem gracious and kind? Do it if you have the chance.
33. Sow peace. Find a way today to create peace. Negativity is all around. Sprinkle peace over it.
34. Hold your tongue. Don’t say it. You may want to. You may have the right to. But just smile instead.
35. Change your self-talk. Be a detached observer of the things you are saying to yourself.Change your words to words of loving kindness.
36. Pretend. Don’t feel great about yourself? Pretend that you do. Act like you do. Pretty soon you really will.
37. Plan a party. Parties are fun. People like parties. People like the people who throw parties. It doesn’t have to be a big one. Just get fun people together.
38. Balance your checkbook. I know, yuck. But it’s important, so get it out of the way, and you’ll feel better.
39. Choose healthy. If you have a choice between healthy and unhealthy today, choose healthy. That’s a positive thing.
40. Define your integrity. What does integrity mean to you? Write it down. Are you living in it?
41. Do something out of the box. Shake things up a bit. Change your routine. Try something new. It will make you feel like a mover and shaker.
42. Appreciate beauty. It’s all around you. Just look for it. When you see it on the outside, you may feel it on the inside. Beauty is catching.
43. Show humility. Bask in just knowing your own greatness inside without the need to have it reinforced publicly.
44. Share some wisdom. Your life experiences have taught you many things. Share what you’ve learned with others in a way that is useful.
45. Read something uplifting. Divert your mind from negative thinking. Find a great book that will inspire and uplift you.
46. Surprise someone. Do something fun and unexpected for someone you care about. Just planning this will life your spirits.
47. Have empathy. Go beyond sympathy for someone. Put yourself in their shoes and see the situation through their eyes. Empathy breeds compassion, and compassion sows the seeds of love and healing.
48. Go out of your way. Do something a little extra, even if you don’t really want to or feel like it. It will make you feel good.
49. Simplify. A complicated, task-oriented, stuff-filled life will not make you happy or provide long-lasting self-esteem. Give yourself the time and space to live within your authentic value system.
50. Make amends. If you are on the outs with someone, even if you are not at fault, extend the olive branch. Open yourself for healing.
51. Find a mentor. Find someone whose life or work you aspire to emulate. Watch and learn. Then copy.
52. Be a mentor. Be that person for someone in your life — someone who could really use your guidance and example.
53. Put family first. In the end, what else really matters? Every single day, connect with them through your time, love, and attention.
54. Put yourself first. Part of putting your family first is treating yourself with loving kindness. Give enough to yourself so you have energy for them.
55. Say no. Don’t allow yourself to be bullied, guilted, or shamed into doing anything. Say no when you mean no.
56. Say yes. Say yes to life, to new adventures, to new friends, to creativity, to spontaneity. Don’t say no when you long for yes.
57. Start a new habit. Pick one habit you’ve wanted to accomplish. Start very small. Set up accountability. Don’t think ahead.
58. Breathe deeply. Learn proper breathing techniques. It is healing for the body and mind.
59. Ask for a back rub. A loving touch reminds you that you are connected to others and that your physical happiness is important.
60. Be present right now. Get out of your head. Stop dwelling on the past or worrying about the future. This “right now” is all you really own. So shift your entire focus on it.
61. Be kind to your spouse. Just be kind. Kindness goes a long way in a relationship.
62. Hang up your clothes. Clean up your space. Take care of yourself and your environment. Respect the time and money it took to purchase what you wear.
63. Pay those bills. If you have outstanding bills, do what needs to be done to get them paid. The energy and stress of them hanging over your head will pull you into a hole.
64. Make the appointment. If you need to go to the doctor, the therapist, a coach, a lawyer, an accountant, whatever — stop stalling and make the appointment. Today.
65. Don’t give up. Whatever it is, hang in there just a little longer. Find the strength, the emotional or mental reserve. Ask for help if you need it.
66. Release tension. If you feel it building up, stop what you are doing and go release it. Exercise, sing, scream, beat a pillow. Get it out in a healthy way before you do something to get yourself arrested.
67. Bake cookies. Freshly baked cookies are the salve for anything that ails you. Try it, you’ll see what I mean.
68. Remind yourself, it will be OK. It usually is. In spite of all of your fretting and worry, most of the time things work out.
69. Let the universe catch you. Just give in and let circumstances unfold as they may. Fall back and let the universe catch you.
70. Embrace frailty. Feeling weak, scared, alone, and like a failure is part of the human condition. We all experience frailty in mind and spirit. Embrace it so that you can overcome it for now. And embrace it the next time, and the next . . .
71. Get out of your head and do something. Stop thinking and act. Action moves you forward. Thinking keeps you stuck.
72. Watch a funny video. You can’t be laughing and feel bad about yourself at the same time. Watch something funny. Like this video.
73. Step away from your work. Sometimes just a break from the stress of your job, even for 10-15 minutes, can rejuvenate you and make you realize that there is so much more to life than the goings-on of your job.
74. Don’t drink too much. Alcohol is a depressant. If you are feeling bad about yourself, too much will make you feel worse.
75. Eat something healthy. Sometimes when you feel bad, you are missing nutrients and/or energy. Eat foods that will sustain your body and mind.
76. Drink water. Lots and lots of it. Just increasing your water intake is a good habit. Good habits make you feel good about yourself.
77. Take the steps. Break it down. Start small. One at a time. Now take the first one. That’s all. It’s a start. Good for you.
78. Hire a coach. A coach will work with you to go farther, to stretch yourself, to get there faster, to discover more of your own greatness.
79. Scale back. Spend less. Save. Do without some unnecessary things. Un-complicate your life.
80. Journal. Get it out on paper. Release the thoughts and worries bottled up inside. It will feel freeing.
81. Have a cup of tea. Sit quietly and sip your tea. Just enjoy this experience for what it is. Pleasant and soothing.
82. Play with your pet. Your pets love you unconditionally. Bask in that love and attention.
83. Dress up. Reflect a put-together, attractive person on the outside and you may begin to feel it on the inside.
84. Plan your day. Have 2-3 things you know you want to accomplish. Plan those in the morning or the night before. Not a huge list, but just 2-3. You may accomplish more, but if you check off those 2-3, it will feel great.
85. Reveal yourself. Don’t hide behind your fears or false expectations of yourself. Be real, flaws and all. A real person is much more attractive.
86. Compliment someone. Just say something nice. Make someone’s day with your words, and it will make yours.
87. Give yourself gold stars. It’s amazing how satisfying it is to line up gold stars for a task accomplished or a new habit.
89. Work on your flexibility. Stretching reduces pain, increases blood flow, improves your posture, and protects you from injury.
90. Add one more serving of veggies. You probably don’t get enough, so add one more today. Choose something with micro-nutrients like spinach, kale, or bok choy.
91. Start a dollar a day savings jar. Just put one dollar a day in a jar. Throw in some change for fun every now and then. Watch it grow.
92. Surround yourself with light. Visualize yourself surrounded by a white, peaceful, loving light.
93. Plan an adventure. Come up with a fun trip or weekend getaway that is new and exciting. Just planning it makes you feel good.
94. Send a funny text. Make someone else laugh with a surprise message.
95. Examine your intentions. Look carefully at why you are doing something. Do your intentions match your values? If not, reconsider.
96. Learn a new word. Improve your vocabulary and impress yourself with your acumen with the lexicon!
97. Create a sacred space. Create a special place in your home for meditation, prayer, journaling, reading, and reflection.
98. Rest for ten minutes. Just rest. Do nothing. Allow yourself to just be in the moment.
99. Know you are loved. You are . . . and sometimes that’s all you need to know to remember how wonderful you are.