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9 Ways to Develop True Self Esteem

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Choose Your Heroes Carefully

Don’t let the television determine who your mentors are.  Think for yourself and make your own choices.  I think we are too passive about letting the media choose our idols or heroes.  Beyonce, Brad Pitt, Kobe Bryant and Paris Hilton may be famous and may have millions of dollars, but are they really people we want to learn about life from?  Personally I don’t find that I have learned anything from them or find their stories or words inspiring.  I’m much more enlightened by the stories told by Aimee Mullins, a double amputee who runs track.  While training for a race she realized she was having trouble with one of her prosthetics.  She went to her coach, a tough old guy from Brooklyn and asked to be excused from the race.  She was afraid if she continued running her leg might come off in the middle of the race.  His response?

“Aimee, so what if your leg falls off?  You pick it up, you put the damn thing back on and you finish the God-damned race.”

She handed him her fear and he responded not with pity, but with humor.  And he handed her back courage.

See “Aimee Mullins on Running” to hear her story in her own words.  Turn off “reality TV” and listen to Ted.com for words and ideas that will inspire and enlighten you.  Read the biography of someone you truly admire.  Feed your mind.

Choose Your Relationships Carefully

Choose your family

Yes, you can choose whether or not to have a relationship with family members.  Just because you are blood kin does not mean you have to allow yourself to be in unhealthy relationships with them.  If you have a family member who is demeaning or abusive consider what keeps you in a relationship with them.  You may need to make some tough choices.

Choose your friends

You can also make choices about your friends.  If you surround yourself with negative, hypercritical friends this cannot help your self esteem.  I’m not suggesting that you surround yourself with people who won’t tell you the truth and give you nothing but positive feedback – that’s false.  I don’t consider that a friend.  In my opinion a friend is someone who will give you honest feedback when you ask for it, but do it with compassion and kindness.  They tell you the truth, but they don’t attack or belittle you.  They don’t bring you down, just keep you real.  Look at who you spend the most time with and how your interactions with them affect you.  You might need to make some changes.

Choose your partners

If you are in a relationship that is unhealthy you may need to take some time to work on it and make a clear decision to leave.  You cannot lift your self esteem while being disparaged on a daily basis.  Many people stay in relationships which are unhealthy out of a fear of being alone.  It may be necessary to turn and face this fear before you can feel better about yourself.

You may also want to look at the patterns in your relationships.  Do you always pick partners who are needy?  Dependent?  Partners with substance abuse problems?  Abusive partners?  See if there is a pattern to your picking and find what is behind it.  You may need to work with a counselor to learn how to make different choices.

Find Your Passion

If you haven’t found what excites you, explore.  We spend an awful lot of our lives working.  If your work is not your passion, if it is only for the money, if it is only because your family expects it of you - think again.  Work that is depressing or unfulfilling sucks an awful lot of energy out of your life.  You spend all day at this.  Choose carefully.  Change if you need to.

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Read more: Mental Wellness, Self-Help, Spirit, ,

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132 comments

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6:09PM PDT on Jun 16, 2014

Thanks for Sharing.

1:34AM PDT on Aug 1, 2013

Thank you :)

12:57PM PDT on Nov 1, 2011

Thank you for this - I'm keeping it!

2:45AM PDT on Oct 31, 2011

Good article, but I disagree about work needing to be something you love doing. I've had jobs that were engaging and fulfilling, but had pay that was too low to live on and/or had toxic environments, and I've had jobs where I really didn't like the job (didn't completely hate it, but disliked it), but had a good environment and paid a living wage. In all cases, I've been happier at the job I disliked. In fact, those are the only times when I've been happy and optimistic about my life.

I believe that there are some people, like myself, who need security and a positive work environment more than they need fulfilling work. Sure, it would be great to have all three, but that's just not possible for everyone.

9:12AM PDT on Jul 25, 2011

Keep on trying! That's it and change something for the better as often as possible!

11:06PM PST on Mar 10, 2011

Ek weet niet waarom

1:08PM PST on Mar 10, 2011

Aw what a beautiful article :) thank you

12:26PM PST on Feb 20, 2011

i've been battling with this all my life, and i recently tried writing positive things in dry-erase marker on my mirror, so when i wake up i'm "forced" to read something nice about myself. :)

8:41PM PST on Feb 19, 2011

Thank you

1:13PM PST on Feb 19, 2011

Great stuff, learning to care/love yourself is very important

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