Ways to Increase Self-Esteem
By Jamie Prisco-Rudolph, M.A., LPC-C
Edmond Family Counseling
In positive psychology, it has been theorized that individuals who know and utilize their personal strengths in their daily lives lead happier and more productive lives. This is because they have a higher level of self-esteem and are more likely to complete their goals successfully. For those with a low sense of self-esteem, it can be difficult to discover ways to increase feelings of self-worth and accomplishment. Increasing overall self-esteem starts with identifying individual strengths, creating a daily or weekly strengths and qualities checklist, and designing a strength-based plan in order to ensure strengths are and skills are being utilized to accomplish personal goals.
The first step to increasing self-esteem is to familiarize yourself with your personal strengths and capabilities, also known as strength-spotting. Begin the strength spotting activity by asking some questions such as “What am I good at?”, “What do I enjoy doing?”, and “What are some areas in my life where I feel successful?” This can be achieved by creating a list of activities that provide joy and fulfillment in daily life. This list may include activities such as playing basketball, cleaning, or painting. After identifying tasks that are enjoyable, consider what skills are needed to accomplish these tasks. If someone is good at basketball, that means that they are athletic and coordinated. Someone that likes to clean would be considered organized whereas someone that likes to paint would be considered creative. By identifying enjoyable tasks, it is easy to identify personal strengths.
Another way to increase self-esteem is to complete a daily or weekly strength and quality check-in. For a daily checklist, create a self-esteem journal using some prompts designed to focus on strengths and completing tasks. Each day, try and answer two or three of the prompts; this will help when working on the weekly check-in. Some daily prompts to answer include:
I felt proud today when…
Today I accomplished…
Something I did well today…
A positive thing I did for someone else was…
Today I had fun when…
I had a positive experience with…
For a weekly check-in, create a list to reflect on times during the week that personal strengths, skills, and qualities were utilized. Some examples of things to consider when making this list include:
Compliments I have received
Times I have helped others
Challenges I have overcome
Tasks I have completed at work/school or at home
Things I am good at
Times I felt happy or accomplished
When making this check-in list, try to think of at least three examples for each category. This will make it easier to identify the strengths and skills being used daily to accomplish tasks. Completing this daily and weekly list will serve as a reminder you are using your personal strengths to complete tasks, even if the tasks seem small or not that substantial.
Creating a strength-use plan is another way to increase personal self-esteem. In a strength-use plan, focus on how personal strengths impact personal relationships, tasks at school or work, and feelings of personal fulfillment. When picking which strengths to focus on, make sure to target strengths that are likely to be used throughout the week. Different strengths will help you in different areas of your life throughout the week! Once the strengths have been selected, identify two or three times where one of the selected strengths will help with personal relationships. If kindness is the selected strength, an example could be helping a friend move to a new apartment or talking to a friend after they had a bad day at work. Next, identify how another strength will help at a job or at school. If being organized is the chosen skill, an example could be updating a calendar with assignments that are due that week or cleaning out your inbox from your work email. At face value, these small tasks that are completed throughout the day may not seem like much, but remember, every goal that is accomplished serves as an example of your individual strengths and skills. At the end of the week, refer to the plan to see how many times you used your personal strengths to help you complete personal goals and tasks.
Increasing overall self-esteem can be achieved in a few simple steps. By assessing personal strengths, keeping up with a strength check list, and creating plans designed to enhance these strengths, a higher sense of self-esteem and self-worth is within your reach!
Jamie Prisco-Rudulph, M.A., LPC-C is a staff therapist and Intern Coordinator at Edmond Family Counseling. We may be reached at 405-341-3554 to schedule an appointment with one of our licensed professional counselors.