50 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Self-Esteem

I was talking with a friend this weekend who is suffering from low self-esteem.

After hearing the way this lovely young woman was talking about herself, so blind to her own beauty, intelligence, and talents, I blurted out, “You must begin to love yourself. You have so much to offer.”

She looked at me with defeated eyes and said, “How do I just love myself? What does that mean?”

When your self-esteem is low, the concept of loving yourself is completely foreign. You see yourself as lacking and unworthy and feel there’s nothing to love. In fact, there seems to be far more reason to loathe yourself than love yourself.

Low self-esteem is a self-fulfilling prophecy. The worse you feel about yourself, the less energy and motivation you have to do what it takes to build your self-esteem around. Your self-esteem continues to plummet as your brain locks in on negative and circular thinking, further entrenching you in beliefs that have little or no basis in reality.

Self-esteem improves by changing both your thoughts and behaviors. You must practice new thoughts and behaviors until you begin to turn the tide of your feelings about yourself. And you must continue practicing them to maintain a healthy love for yourself.

Here are 50 actions for how to improve your self-esteem and self-worth.

1. Become proficient at something

When you practice and become skilled at something you enjoy, your increasing competency and the discipline of practice will be a source of pride and fulfillment for you.

2. Reclaim your integrity

If you are living outside of your integrity, you will feel disoriented, guilty, and drained. Define what integrity means for you, and make the necessary changes to live in accordance with it.

3. Exercise

Exercise makes you feel better physically, mentally, and emotionally. It provides a sense of control over your health and vitality.

4. Volunteer

When we serve and support other people, we feel uplifted and valued. We have found a way to show empathy and connection through service.

5. Take care of a pet

Pets offer unconditional love and fulfill our longing for attention and affection. Pets teach us compassion and responsibility, taking the focus off of our own problems.

6. Care about your appearance

When you look your best, you feel better. You project an outward image of self-esteem and confidence — even if you don’t feel that way. But when you act “as if” you have self-esteem, eventually your feelings will catch up.

7. Do something creative

Creative endeavors put you in the “flow” state in which you are intently engaged in what you are doing. It stimulates the brain and potentially leads you to a passion or avocation.

8. Heal past wounds

Past issues and traumas can keep you trapped in low self-esteem. Seek the support of a trained counselor to help you heal the wounds of the past.

9. Plan something exciting

Plan for a trip or adventure so that you have something exciting to look forward to. Just the planning process with make you feel engaged and purposeful.

10. Have a change of scenery

Actually going on a trip, working from another location, or spending time out of your house will give you a boost of energy and motivation.

11. Spend time with a friend

Good friends accept us as we are, love us for who we are, and provide an outlet for fun and companionship. Our best friends are a reflection of the good in ourselves.

12. Get clear on your values

Determine your core values in life, the principles around which you want your life centered. Examine your life to see where you are not in alignment with the values and make the necessary changes to fix that.

13. Write down your accomplishments

Think back through your life to all that you’ve accomplished as a youth and adult. List everything you have done that you feel proud of.

14. Read something inspirational

Read books and articles that uplift you and make you feel positive. Stay away from negative television programs, web sites, advertising or anything that reinforces a poor self-image.

15. Stretch yourself

Step outside of your comfort zone in some way. Stretch yourself to try something new, meet different people, or approach a situation in an unconventional way.

16. Take care of your relationships

Focus your love, time, and attention on the people you care about most. Nurture your relationships and find ways to communicate fully and enjoy a richer experience with your loved ones.

17. Teach someone

You have skills and abilities to share with others. Teach someone who is interested in learning. Offer your knowledge and experience as a gift.

18. Practice affirmations

Keep an affirmation journal in which you write positive, loving statements about yourself. Repeat those affirmations daily when you awaken and before you go to sleep.

19. Challenge limiting beliefs

When you catch yourself thinking negatively about your self-worth, challenge the beliefs with evidence to the contrary. Find reasons why your limiting beliefs are untrue — or at least not completely true.

20. Seek your life passion

If you have not found your life passion, make time in your life to seek it out. The process of having a goal to find it will give your life a sense of purpose.

21. Give and receive affection

Offer and receive physical affection from family and friends. Physical touch supports bonding between people, reduces anxiety, improves your mood, and creates connections.

22. Increase your standards

Begin to demand more of yourself in various areas of your life. Challenge yourself to do a bit better, go a bit farther, behave more lovingly than you have in the past. Set the bar higher, and you will feel proud of who you are.

23. Have a purpose

Start considering what your life purpose might be. Why are you here? What could be your legacy and how can you make that a centerpiece of your life?

24. Live in the right place

Are you living in a community or city that makes you feel comfortable and at home? Or are you living somewhere that doesn’t reflect your values and ideal lifestyle?

25. Let go of draining people

If there are people in your life who put you down, drain you of energy, or take advantage of you, begin to gently let them slip from your life. Surround yourself with loving and supportive people who value you.

26. Network

Expand your network of friends and associates to broaden your horizons and create new life and career opportunities.

27. Ask for forgiveness

If you have wronged someone, don’t live with guilt or shame. Apologize, make it right, and ask for forgiveness.

28. Pay off your debts

Living with debt can drain your self-esteem and cause on-going anxiety. Pay off your debts  and begin to live within your means.

29. Don’t smoke, drink too much, or use recreational drugs

All of these excesses are unhealthy, make you feel bad physically and make you feel undisciplined and dependent on substances to soothe your emotions.

30. Create personal boundaries

Know what your personal boundaries are and how you will react when people cross them. Don’t allow others to take advantage of you or manipulate you.

31. Be a mentor

Be there for someone who needs support, leadership, and guidance. Their respect will add to your self-respect.

32. Slow down and simplify

An over-scheduled and complicated life will lead to stress and overwhelm. You have no time to make positive changes in your life that help build self-esteem. Begin to clear things off your to-do list and simplify all areas of your life.

33. Detach from the opinion of others

When you worry about what others will think of you, you never feel free to be yourself completely. Begin making choices and decisions based on what you want, not what you think others want for you.

34. Stop gossiping

Gossip may be momentarily powerful and thrilling, but it leaves you with a residue of distaste for yourself. Make a point to stop gossiping.

35. Be an initiator

Don’t wait for others to make the plans, call the shops, or come up with the ideas. Be the initiator, the first responder, the one who takes charge. Practice this even if it feels uncomfortable at first.

36. Learn to manage anger

Anger is often a response to feelings of low self-worth and despair. Find appropriate outlets for your feelings. Express them to a supportive person before they turn to anger.

37. Embrace failure as part of growth

Shift your thinking about perceived failures. See them as a necessary part of growth and learning. Failures are evidence of effort, and you always learn something from them.

38. Stop over-thinking

Jump off the gerbil wheel of repetitive thoughts that percolate constantly in your brain. Instead, take some kind of positive action that is distracting and worthwhile.

39. Eliminate time-wasting behaviors

Find productive, creative, life-affirming ways to spend your time, rather than watching endless hours of TV, surfing the net, or playing video games.

40. Be willing to ask for help

Asking for help and support isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of determination and courage. Asking for help means you are ready for positive change.

41. Be honest with yourself and others

If you are living a lie, telling yourself or others stories about who you are and how you feel, you are entrapping yourself in unhappiness. You must be authentic and accepting to open your heart to self-love.

42. Stay focused on the present moment

It is the only reality. When the past and the future feel painful, focus on the task at hand and do it with your full engagement.

43. Practice gratitude

Every day, write down encouraging words and all that you feel grateful for, all of your blessings, all of the people whose lives have touched you in a positive way.

44. Shift from an inferiority mentality to an equality  mentality

Stop comparing yourself to others and measuring your worth against what they might have and you don’t. View everyone you encounter as your equal and your potential friend, regardless of their station in life, appearance, or intelligence.

45. Keep learning

View yourself as a life-long learner and approach all things with a beginner’s mentality — open, eager, and willing to learn.

46. Re-frame fear

Begin to shift the feelings of fear to energy for change. When you feel fear, use this powerful emotion to take action on something positive and forward-moving.

47. Redefine success

What is success for you? Is it wealth, power, or possessions? Begin to view success in terms of fulfilling experiences, loving relationships, and meaningful work.

48. Set small goals

Every day, set one or two small goals for yourself that are non-negotiable. At the end of a year, you will have achieved more than you ever expected.

49. Study personal evolution

Become a forever student of personal growth and self-improvement. Read, listen, study, and learn about how to live with emotional intelligence and maturity. See personal evolution as a life-long journey.

50. Give away love

Never hesitate to show your love, even if you’ve been hurt by love in the past. The move love you give away, the more it comes back to you. Start with yourself. Begin to love yourself the way you would love your best friend or sibling.

Self-esteem often takes practice and commitment. You must value the importance of feeling good about yourself, having self-worth and being comfortable with who you are. The alternative is staying stuck in depression, unhappiness, and negative thoughts.

Begin to practice self-esteem fostering thoughts and behaviors. Start acting as though you believe in yourself and love who you are even if your feelings haven’t caught up. Give yourself legitimate reasons to feel proud, accomplished, and worthwhile through learning, personal growth, goal-setting and achievement.

Once you accept the unique perfection of who you are and what you offer the world, you will find that you are more deserving than anyone of your own love and affection.

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85 thoughts on “50 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Self-Esteem”

    • M suffering from depression. Acne scars have worsen my skin n texture……
      Suicidal tendencies have also cropped at times in my mind…..I hve lost interetst in every thing I likes….just living just for the sake of it….M low in confidence in meeting ppl….N do not look at myself in the mirrion at all.

  1. Living with low self-esteem is living in self created hell. I have experienced the joy of doing what I love and trying to understand who I am and the sense of permanent happiness it brings.

    • That is a great way to put it Rehasana — a self-created hell. I’m so glad you have found joy in who you are and what you do. That’s wonderful.

    • Hey!
      Just loved your article. Thanks for sharing it. Exercise helped me more to get rid of this! I wish to talk even more to you regarding all this.

      Blessing of love and luck!

  2. Barrie,
    I love this post. I take special notice of these five items in particular:
    12. Get clear on your values
    14. Read something inspirational
    25. Let go of draining people
    39. Eliminate time-wasting behaviors
    43. Practice gratitude
    Using these intentionally has allowed me to leave an unsatisfying career and pursue my dreams. I love what I do now and I love helping others achieve the same results. Thank you for your efforts; we are helping the world one reader at a time.
    With love,
    Trent Hand

    • Thank you so much Trent. What a lovely comment. I am so thrilled you found a way to move from your career to something you love. I’m sure you are an inspiration to many people too!

  3. Hey Barrie!

    Possessing AND maintaining healthy self-esteem can, for some be like shooting at a moving target. It seems to me that someone with a fragile, or low level of self-esteem may have to take a giant leap in order to even take the first steps to achieving healthy self-esteem.

    This post should be printed out and used daily as a study guide for those who sincerely desire to make real change in how they view themselves. Amen! 🙂

    Be well,


    • I agree John. Really low self-esteem is a sign of something deeper that needs to be resolved. And I think those who are suffering from it consistently should seek the help of a good counselor — as well as taking small actions to support the esteem work they are doing.

    • How wonderful to have a reminder of the positive enlightenment that lifts our souls and others. I’m honored to have found this list and I will.do my part to share this gift..
      Jennifer baia
      Jeniphoria we are surrounded by love and light!!

  4. When I started reading your post I wondered how come I never had low self-esteem. Then I continued reading and realized that maybe that is because I do most of the points you discribed.
    Great post!

    • That’s great Ani! And hopefully you had supportive and loving parents and positive role models in your life to reinforce all that is worthy and wonderful about you. 🙂

    • After reading your post I understand why i never had low self esteem. I was amazed how I follow almost all your tips about increasing and building confidence and self esteem. Thank you so much for posting such a great post

  5. I am new to your blog. What a great place to be. Great vibes. I loved your article. Thank you for sharing. The one that stood out to me to work on, is to write down my accomplishments.

    Blessings of love and light!

    • Hi Elaine,
      Thank you so much for your kind comments. I’m so glad you found me! Writing down accomplishments is a great exercise. We forget all of the things we’ve done and succeeded at over the months and years. It is a confidence-booster to see it on paper.

  6. Thanks for sharing all these ideas! I do believe that all activities related to helping someone else and giving some of your time are the best solutions for increasing self-esteem

    • You are so welcome Clay. Serving others does provide self-esteem and contributes to happiness. There is a happiness researcher who wrote a book called The How of Happiness, and she sites helping others as one of the top ways to increase happiness.

  7. thanks for this post. it has really opened up my thoughts. i have been quite stuck and need to move on but had no idea. Now I have. thanks once more and God bless you.

  8. I love this list so so much. The one thing that spoke to me was paying off debt. This is so important for your overall wellbeing, but especially for your self-confidence. There’s nothing more freeing and empowering than knowing you’re your own master. 🙂

  9. Hi Barrie,
    I love your list! It’s simple, practical and inspiring. Thanks for the vast of tips you have here, I will surely come back for more inspiration.

    ~Sophie kay ~

  10. Barrie, this is very well written article and you covered almost everything one can do to improve self esteem. My short cut to improve self esteem is just living in the present moment and disconnect yourself from past memories and future worries.

  11. Great ideas – thank you! Here’s one more – when you talk to yourself – pretend you are talking to your best friend. No more putting yourself down! Encourage yourself, Support yourself. Be kind to yourself – just they way you would when talking to your best friend….

    • I like that idea Kristen, a lot! After all, the way we see ourselves affects how we see others. Hence the familiar, Love yourself first. Kind of like putting the oxygen mask on yourself before you can help anyone else.

  12. I feel as if you knew me before writing this article. I am so sick of having to live with low self-esteem and i want to change. The points you have enumerated above will surely assist me. I will start by getting rid of parasites and users. They have destroyed my life. Thanks so much for sharing great tips.

  13. Am greatful to God for the wisdom he has given you to write this,this is one of my greatest challenge now(low self-esteem)people call me great,they admire me but i dont admire myself i always see other as they are better than me,some respect me but within me i fear them,i have now known that what you believe is what you become,if you dont believe there is something good in you,you will not work hard to become better

  14. Love this post! What a great collection of tangible ‘to do’s’ to get one on track!! I especially love the idea of taking care of a pet. What a wonderful example of peacefulness and play 🙂 I also appreciate that you mention to simplify. I often catch myself thinking ‘I should do X, but it’s going to cause me a lot of stress’. I usually realize its a ‘should’ I learned growing up, rather than what I actually want to do. I also have to give a shout out to the folks at ‘FreeThinkingRenagades’ (an online mentoring site). They really helped me realize the values that were mine, and the ones I internalized from other sources. Great post. I’ll start with tip one and work my way down to fifty! God bless!!

  15. Thank you somuch and God bless you loads… Just what I needed… I’m feeling so good about myself now.. Copied many points down:-)

  16. Reason why above poiints works
    When somone is self confident they will naturally do above things . And opposite is also true which means if someone will do the above things intentionally (consciouslly ) their self confidence will improve. This is infact applicable for all our life things .


  17. This was very encouraging I have LSE let me correct that had LSE I am choosing change Thank you for giving us the ways of helping us to have a renewed mind

  18. Hi, great post there. I thought I had seen good posts on boosting self esteem until I got to your post. You have compiled a comprehensive list that anyone can benefit from. I’m a fan of self-help content and I liked the 50th tip. When you give the universe anything, it will return it to you doubled. So, think twice. I’ve also learned that we live with lies that nurture our low self confidence. I must share your post.

  19. Dear Barrie Davenport,

    Thanks for this nice article, it is very inspiring and helping me in boosting my self-esteem and building a confidence.

    Thanks and regards.

  20. I was always used to fight and blame myself just because I was not satisfied in everything do. I was comparing myself to other people and was always disappointed in myself till through your website, I found myself not doing most of what you said. Now through you, I am gtting a better self esteem. Thank you very much.

  21. Positive Affirmations are quiet simply short and powerful statements that you read aloud to your self on a daily basis, similar to positive thoughts, affirmations will slowly re-program the subconscious part of the mind and relay a new positive can do attitude to the conscious part of the mind.

  22. Really i Began to control my anger since 2009, but now i don’t regrate!. Cause its the beautiful caring life am living in today without disorganising others. Thanks to u all if u do control your anger.

  23. For a month, continually say to yourself ” I love and accept myself as I am .” When I poke a contrary thought , do not give importance and resume the sentence.

    If we do not have what we need , if it seems that life denies us our aspirations and needs, although apparently fight for satisfying them, it is likely that this occurs because subconsciously we do not feel deserving of success, because we feel unworthy of be happy, because, from a low self-esteem and a lack of love for ourselves, unconsciously seek failure.

    Type in a list: “I deserve to have (or be ) … and I accept it now.” Write each merit several times , paying attention to what happens in your body. Ask yourself if you believe what he says or if , on the contrary , it still feels unworthy.

    If your body transmits any negative feelings , claiming : ” I renounce the party, in my conscience , is creating resistance to my own good ,” and repeat : ” I deserve … ”
    learn how to be happy and have what you want ….
    look at this video here : http://tinyurl.com/qxglhyy

  24. Hello I am Dam
    I want to tell my experience with a book I read
    Manifestation Miracle not only gives you proven tools for success, it guides you step-by-step on how to manifest anything you want into your life.
    With Manifestation Miracle, I became more effective in helping my clients manifest their dream marriage & relationship they were desperately after, even ones on the brink of divorce. It truly works!

  25. I’m trying to change my ways, but I’m a practical minded person and a self confessed pessimist. I think about trying to love myself and how I have achieved things in my life etc, but then I always come back to the negative, I don’t feel that I have done anything good with my life and I’d even go so far as to say that I have wasted it.
    How do I force my mind to change from thinking about these facts, to thinking about possibilities and good things ?

  26. Great post! Thank you.

    40. Be willing to ask for help

    Asking for help and support isn’t a sign of weakness. It’s a sign of determination and courage. Asking for help means you are ready for positive change.

    I’m going to ask 5 people for help today and see what happens 🙂

    Keep up the good work
    Steve x

  27. Hi Barrie…just want to say..Alot of ur advice is on point..And I will practice ur remedies…I thk GOD I bumbed into this advice…Hopefully , itlle make me clear thoughted..Thk u again ..n God Bless u

  28. hello…I spend a lot of time on the internet searching for answers on how to help myself.I get depressed a lot and I feel deep inside me I am lively,I really need help to get that liveliness out.things like inferiority complex bother me.i’m 21yrs old and I don’t want to spend the rest of my life like this.help pls


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