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  • Writer's pictureKirsti Gwynn

2 Actionable Ways to Build Self-Esteem

We’ve all heard it a hundred times: we need to love ourselves first, before we can truly love anyone else, or before we can let anyone else love us as we deserve.

But how exactly do we go about learning to develop self-love and self-respect?

In this blog, I’m going to be sharing two actionable ways that you can go about showing yourself more love, respect and compassion – and in doing so, boost your self-esteem.

A lot of people experience some resistance when it comes to the idea of self-love.

Maybe you feel that if you “really loved yourself” you’d lose your sense of humility, that you’d become arrogant, or that you might lose sight of your flaws.

If you’re like me, you never want to fall into the trap of thinking you’re perfect. It’s important to you to remain aware of where you may need to grow and improve, and you want to acknowledge it when you’ve done something wrong.

But real self-love has nothing to do with arrogance. True self-love is grounded. It’s about having enough self-esteem to face yourself authentically: with respect, compassion and love – and the strength to see your weaknesses.

Showing yourself love and respect simply means responding to yourself the way you would respond to others.

1) When you’re hurting, respond with kindness.

Let’s imagine that you’re upset. Let’s go a step further and say that you’re upset because of something you did wrong – you forgot to follow through on a promise you made at work, for example. There were repercussions.

If you reached out to a good friend at this time, it’s likely that they’d lean in. You’ve reached out for support, and they offer you kindness, compassion and understanding. They listen. They care.

So why are we so hard on ourselves in the same situation?

When things go wrong, maybe you find yourself in a spiral of self-criticism. You might put yourself down or even tell yourself you’re not good enough.

When things go wrong, do you speak to yourself in ways you would never dream of speaking to others?

The truth is, when you’ve made a mistake or done something you regret, what you most need in that moment is self-love and compassion. If you went to a friend, that’s what they would give you.

And yet in that same moment, when we most need to be loved and accepted, we reject ourselves!


The first key to building your self-esteem is to make sure that the way you treat yourself is at least as well as you treat others.

Ask yourself: “What would a friend say to me right now? What would I say to a friend if she or he was in this situation?”

You can still be accountable and be kind. You can acknowledge your mistake while also respecting the fact that you’re human. You may not be perfect (none of us are), but that doesn’t mean you don’t deserve respect, love and kindness from yourself in your less-than-perfect moments, too.

2) When you’re thriving, celebrate yourself.

When a friend tells you they’ve achieved something great, you’re happy for them. You’re excited and you celebrate their success with them.

Similarly, if you tell a friend that you’ve experienced success in some way, they’re going to acknowledge the effort that brought you there and rejoice in your joy.

But when it comes to yourself, do you celebrate what you’ve achieved?

Giving yourself a pat on the back can be uncomfortable, and all too often it’s tempting to skip over our successes, barely slowing down enough to enjoy them before setting the next goal.

Maybe you even feel like it’s still not good enough. Many of us set the bar so high that it’s almost impossible for us to reach our own standards.

The second key to building your self-esteem is to give yourself the acknowledgement you deserve when you experience success.

Again, this has nothing to do with arrogance. This is about authentically and honestly acknowledging what you’ve achieved, rather than dismissing it or diminishing its value.

Look back over this past day, week or month and ask yourself, “What have I done well?”

Maybe you worked hard on your personal growth, you received a compliment on your work, or you were there for your friends. Give yourself credit where its due, even for the small wins.

Then, consider how you can celebrate yourself, as you might celebrate a friend.

Are you going to watch an episode of your favourite series, plan a day out you know you’ll enjoy, or cook your favourite meal?

You deserve it.

Whether your success is small or big. Whether you’ve done everything right, or you’re an imperfect human like the rest of us.


30 Days to Wellbeing During Covid-19 (9)
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