Gaining knowledge and skills and doing activities can help build self esteem. Pursue things that are related to your interests, not just to impress others or cuz you think that’s what other people expect of you. Doing things for the latter two reasons can build resentment and leech enjoyment out of those things.
If you’re not sure what you’re interested in, it’s okay to dabble with a lot of different things till you find something that clicks. If you try many things, and nothing clicks, that could be a sign of a mental health issue, such as depression, so it may be a sign to talk to a professional.
Pursue things that you can measure your progress in so that you can see how far you’ve come. For example, on my blog, I can keep track of how many posts I’ve written. Even leveling up my Pokemon in my 3DS games gives me a little boost. For more abstract knowledge, you can measure things like the number of books you’ve read about that topic. Since I’ve started reading again several months ago, I’ve read six books about psychology and subtopics within it, such as communication and the therapy process, and I feel good about how my knowledge has been building with each book I’ve completed. Whatever your interest is, it’s okay to set small goals. Sometimes I read a children’s nonfiction book or a For Dummies or Complete Idiot’s Guide book to start digging into a new topic.
There are lots of how to videos/books/etc to help with building skills. Good old practice helps, too. Learning something or getting better at something can take a lot of time and effort, so be patient with yourself.
I’ve learned more about writing over time as I’ve been working on Oasis Charm. For example, I’ve realized on my own that it’s nice to have a little wrap up at the end of a post instead of letting it trail off at a random sentence.
These kinds of things help with building self esteem cuz they can give one a sense of direction, accomplishment, and even mastery. What knowledge, skills, or activities make you feel good about yourself?
Part of having compassion for yourself is taking good care of yourself. Taking carer of yourself is an investment in yourself. It’s how you show yourself that you matter.
When I shower, I don’t have to worry as much that other people will think that I stink and not wanna be around me cuz of it. That peace of mind is good for my self esteem.
When you get enough sleep, you’re able to think more clearly, which can help you combat doubts and insecurities.
Making time for leisure activities can remind you that you don’t always have to be productive or be serving others; enjoying life for your own sake is important, too (Finch, “You Can Care About Social Justice and Care About Your Own Happiness, Too”).
Treat yourself like a friend. You wouldn’t want a friend to go hungry, so if you’re hungry, get something to eat that you like. This might sound too obvious to some people, but honestly, there have been times that I’ve been depressed enough to let myself go hungry, which is something that I’m working on.
Over time, I’ve been getting better about taking care of myself. Getting it together gives me feel like I’m in control of my life, not that my life is in control of me.
Taking care of yourself will help you feel good about yourself.
Finch, Sam Dylan. “You Can Care About Social Justice and Care About Your Own Happiness, Too.” Let’s Queer Things Up, 11 Nov 2017, https://letsqueerthingsup.com/2017/11/11/you-can-care-about-social-justice-and-care-about-your-own-happiness-too/. Accessed 11 Nov 2017.
As I’ve talked about in other posts, I’ve learned a lot lately about conflict resolution skills. I’ve made a commitment to myself to use them from now on when I’m dealing with conflicts, but I’ve slipped up a few times along the way. I was telling my therapist how much I regret that.
She said something that helped me forgive myself and move forward: “Do you expect a kindergartner to be able to write a 12th grade paper?” Now I see myself as a student working to master a subject. I realize now that it’s okay to need some practice at a skill before mastering it. If you’re trying to learn to get better at something, keep in mind what my therapist said about the kindergartner. Since you’d be understanding of the kindergartner, extend the same understanding to yourself.
When I talked to my therapist last, I told her that I’m worried about the logistics of going back to school after my mental health improves to that point. She pointed out that that’s way in the future and I should focus more on my shorter term goals, such as finding a place and going through a program that helps people with psychiatric disabilities get ready for college. I learned that worrying about the future takes up energy that would be better spent on things closer to the present. It’s not that long term goals aren’t important, but shorter term ones are more urgent. Also, short term goals serve as stepping stones to the long term ones. It’s important to consider them all together in the big picture.