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Gaining self-esteem: simplified.

Young people are inundated with messages of ‘be yourself’ but how are we to be ourselves if we don’t like who we really are. We should be told to ‘love yourself’. From that point, happiness is magnetised. 

Throughout my teens, I was fixated with the idea that my life would be perfect if I just had that one more thing. If I have that body type I’ll be worthy; if I have that social status I’ll be worthy; If I have that grade I’ll be worthy. Recognising the fact that happiness comes from within, is only something I have truly been able to grasp in the last few years. It’s a resolution that everyone will come to at their own time. However, if you’re reading this, it looks like you’re there. 

So, where on earth do you start? I’m sorry to say that posting fire selfies on Instagram and waiting for ‘FITTIE 😍’ isn’t it. Neither is the validation you feel from your crush replying. Self-esteem is all about yourself, therefore you cannot get it from other people's perceptions of you. Here are the four keys to building your self-esteem, and in a healthy way.

  • It’s time to spend time with yourself. In 2020, you may think you’ve done a lot of it. But have you really? Spending time with yourself is not the same as spending time messaging your friends, spending time scrolling on social media, or spending time thinking about the people you love. Instead, take the time to acknowledge that you are perfect and complete without the need for distractions. For a few hours, stop thinking about others and their problems. Take yourself on a date. Let yourself be unproductive. Stop and smell the roses. This will help reinforce that you are worthy in your present self. You don’t need more than you already are to enjoy life. 

  • Gratitude Romanticising your life is something you can start right now. I could talk about the benefits of romanticising your life all day long. It is time to be the main character of your own coming-of-age film. Find or create that playlist on Spotify that would be the soundtrack (I love Spotify’s Get Home Happy). On your self-love date, listen. Literally, smell the roses. Any lows you are going through are part of your character progression. All the highs go into the amazing montage. I also recommend making a board of aesthetic images that could represent your current life. This could be on pinterest, vsco, or even in physical form. You can look back on this, and see how glorious you and your life is in the present. Here is a snippet from mine…

  • Execute Accomplishing tasks will also help boost your self-esteem. This may seem obvious, but it genuinely works. Having something to show for your day, week, month, will make you feel like you’re making moves in life. It can be anything though. You don’t need to be running a marathon or getting a new job. In lockdown, I found making clothes was the task that boosted my self-esteem; time flew, I had something physical to show for my work, and I gained a new skill. Others will feel the same with exercise or levelling up in Duolingo. Importantly, these tasks should be just for you, and not stem from trying to impress others.

  • Detox Finally, it’s time to look at your social circles. Are all of these people cheering you on? Do they all want you to flourish? If not, and you are able to, cut them out. You are deserving of people who want you to grow and be happy. Sometimes it can be hard to see if people have ‘Tall Poppy Syndrome’ (Where someone cuts down a ‘tall poppy’ to keep all the other flowers’ height uniform). If you are hearing ‘you’ve changed’ in a negative way, noticing everything being a competition, or you’re reluctant to share your successes, take a closer look. They could be stalling your progression in gaining self-esteem.

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