Humans are inherently social beings that thrive on positive feedback from their peers. We are naturally concerned with what others think about us and strive for others to validate us – it can be difficult to retain self-esteem when we feel rejected by the outside world. However, having intrinsic self-worth is essential to our wellbeing. Throughout life, we will face many rejections that have the capacity to affect our self-perception. For example, we may go through relationship breakups, friendship conflict, or job rejections that can leave us feeling inadequate, unintelligent, or unlovable.
Here are some tips to help you validate yourself:
1) Keep a Diary Where You Note Down Your Strengths
You could have a notes section on your phone or a physical diary to hand. Every time you notice a strength in yourself, write it down. Whenever your confidence is low, you can refer to this list. Over time, you may become more resilient as you will realise any character flaws or failures are in the context of a multitude of strengths.
2) Remember That Everyone Has Strengths and Weaknesses
Humans love to compare themselves and when our self-esteem is low, it’s easy to see other people in black-and-white. For example, we may see some people as ‘above’ us. This perception is distorted because we forget that everybody has strengths and weaknesses. Taking opportunities to get closer to others may help you see them in a more realistic light.
3) Invest Time in Personal Projects and Hobbies
The more time and energy we invest in ourselves, the more we will subconsciously view ourselves as important. That is why spending time doing things we love as well as investing in causes that matter to us help bring us a sense of purpose and self-worth.
4) Plan and Implement Your Goals
Low self-worth is often driven by a sense of powerlessness over our own fate. We may even start to feel jealous of others’ lives. The antidote is self-empowerment – to remember that you have the power to achieve almost anything you want. Start off by getting inspired. Spend time thinking about what would truly make you happy. Look through Pinterest or make a collage. Then plan out some yearly, monthly and daily goals. Be realistic but dream big! With each goal, write out a step-by-step plan of exactly how you are going to achieve it. The more you achieve, the more your self-worth will increase.
5) Develop an Exercise Routine
Exercise has been shown to increase self-esteem because it improves our body image, overall sense of wellbeing and releases endorphins which make us happy. To help you stick with it, find an exercise routine that’s fun, like dancing or a team sport. Doing exercise with a friend can also help you to commit.
6) Focus on Self-Care
When we don’t love ourselves, it can be hard to make the best decisions for us. We end up self-sabotaging because it feels more comfortably familiar to fail and feel bad about ourselves. This is where you will need to take a leap of faith and do things that you know are good for you, even if you don’t feel like you deserve them just yet. For example, planning out your workload so you are not overloaded with stress on any one day is a form of self-care. So is setting boundaries in friendships and relationships. Over time, if you treat yourself well, your mind will catch up and your self-esteem will improve. Read at our top 16 things to do for self-care here.
Remember that you do not need anyone else to validate you. Nobody is inherently better than you. Keep reminding yourself of your strengths and focus on fulfilling your potential.
All clinicians at Oxford CBT are Cognitive Behavioural Therapists or Psychologists, offering evidence-based interventions and support for a range of issues for both young people and adults. If you would like to book an appointment you can do so on our online booking portal. If you have a question please get in touch via our online contact form or call us on 01865 920077.