What does it mean to have healthy self-esteem?

Some people think it means you are OK with how you look. Other people think you must accomplish something big in your life to have good self-esteem.

The reality is, having a healthy self-esteem means you like and appreciate yourself – faults and all. A good self-esteem can be the difference between being a happy, resilient individual able to face life’s challenges head-on, and someone who suffers from depression and anxiety and is often overwhelmed with life.

Many people make the critical mistake of believing the need to FEEL self-confident or have a high self-esteem before they can do the things in life they desire. The reality is, the actions come first, then the feelings.

If you struggle with self-confidence or self-esteem issues, there are some things you can do to give it a much-needed boost.

Face the REAL reality

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Stop buying the lies your mind has to sell you. Just because they’re on sale every day, doesn’t mean it’s a good deal.

Are you someone that generalizes your lack of self-esteem? Do you make statements about yourself such as, “I’m an idiot” or “I’m not good enough?” The truth is, we all act like dumb-dumbs from time to time (and some more than others ????), and most people can find someone who is smarter, more attractive or more successful than they are.

If you’re going to work on your self-esteem, you need to first recognize that you are simply lying to yourself with these generalities. It may be a very convincing from your point of you, but it’s still a lie.

Make a list of 10 of your strengths and 10 weaknesses. If you have a hard time coming up with strengths, think about what others have said about you in the past: you’re a good listener, you’re thoughtful, you cook the best Thanksgiving dinners.

When you’re done making this list, you’ll see there are plenty of things you are really good at. And, some of the weaknesses may be things you can absolutely change over time with some effort.

Forget about perfection

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Stop chasing perfection. It doesn’t exist.

Perfection doesn’t exist. I should know, I spent the majority of my life trying to pursue it. ????

You may think all the actors on TV and the people you follow on social media have the perfect life and have it all figured out, but they are airbrushed, photoshopped and pay lots of people lots of money to make them look that way.

The reality is, every single one of them is struggling with something.

Stop spending your energy trying to have the perfect face, body, bank account, career, children or relationships. None of that exists. Focus your energy on achieving attainable goals like obtaining your degree, enjoying hobbies, losing that stubborn extra 10 pounds, learning a new skill, or connecting more deeply with those in your life.

Get to know your authentic self

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Do you really even know yourself. Chances are not. So why just settle for the “I’m not good enough” story?

We spend so much of our lives comparing ourselves to others that we don’t really take time to get to know ourselves. Beyond just strengths and weaknesses, who are you as a person? What makes you happy or excites you? What hobbies do you enjoy? What kind of person do you want to be? What do you want to be in this world?

The more you know about yourself the more chances that you’ll find things out you really like.

Life is too short to spend it struggling with self-confidence or self-esteem. Find an awesome therapist you like and trust to help you be the best version of you.

James Killian, LPC is the Principal Therapist & Owner of Arcadian Counseling in New Haven, CT where they specialize in helping over-thinkers, high achievers, and perfectionists reduce stress, increase fulfillment and enhance performance so they can move From Surviving To Thriving.