Life & Spirituality

How to Build Self-Esteem: A Comprehensive Guide to Confidence

Your self-esteem plays a huge role in determining the amount of success you achieve in life. That’s why it’s so important to know how to build self-esteem and develop unshakeable confidence in your ability to survive life’s ups and downs and achieve your goals and dreams. 

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“Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford

Your self-esteem plays a huge role in determining the amount of success you achieve in life. That’s why it’s so important to know how to build self-esteem and develop unshakeable confidence in your ability to survive life’s ups and downs and achieve your goals and dreams. 

When you have faith in your ability to succeed, the obstacles you encounter won’t stop you from achieving your dreams. They won’t lead to negative thinking or cause you to view them as “proof” you’re not meant to make it.

Instead, you’ll be able to shake off your setbacks with ease and see them as valuable learning opportunities that give you important information you need to succeed.

Not only that – your healthy self-esteem and confidence will make it easier for you to attract the resources and people you need to do so!

There’s no better time than now to cultivate higher self-esteem and confidence – so you can launch into the months ahead equipped with the unstoppable mindset you need to achieve great things.

Let’s get started!   

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With Your FREE Guide For Everyday Positive Thinking.

What is Self-Esteem?

Self-esteem is your belief in your inherent worth as a human being. People with good self-esteem and self-confidence have a positive sense of who they are and what they’re capable of achieving. 

They embrace challenging and difficult situations as opportunities for growth, tend to have a higher level of self-compassion and compassion for others and find it easier to build positive relationships with the people in their lives.

People with low self-esteem, on the other hand, tend to be overly self-critical and often neglect their emotional health and mental and physical well-being. 

They struggle to find confidence and are constantly comparing themselves to others, which makes them feel bad and leads to higher levels of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Main Causes of Low-Self Esteem

Every day we are bombarded by negative messages that can lead to poor self-esteem and impact our mental health.

TV, movies, and social media perpetuate a beauty standard that is nearly impossible for most regular people to attain.

Our parents – imperfect people as we all are – plant ideas in our heads about what we “can” and “cannot” do. (Raise your hand if the “inner critic” in your head often sounds like your mother or father!)

And modern society with its ideas of who should be considered “worthy” and “powerful” grossly twists our understanding of who we need to become to be considered a valued member of society.

The good news is, once you become aware of the signs and impacts of low self-esteem, it becomes so much easier for you to improve your self-esteem – and do the mental well-being work necessary to free yourself from their hold over you and feel confident in your ability to create the life you want!

Recognizing the Signs of Low Self-Esteem

Negative Self-Talk

You know you have an issue with low self-esteem if you often find yourself having negative thoughts like, “I’m so stupid/weak/lazy/careless/untrustworthy,” or if your immediate response when hearing about an opportunity for growth is, “I can’t do it! There’s no way I’ll ever succeed.”

Self-Doubt and Fear of Failure

Another sign of low esteem is shying away from new and unfamiliar experiences and refusing to take any sort of risk because you are convinced you’ll perform poorly and things will end badly for you.

Difficulty Accepting Compliments

When someone gives you a compliment, what is your automatic reaction? Do you say thank you – or do you try to negate or diminish it by pointing out all of the ways in which the compliment giver is mistaken?

If your default setting is disbelieving compliments and doubting your ability to succeed in either your professional or personal life, congratulations! You have low self-esteem.

You’re certainly not alone if so… Most people struggle with poor self-esteem issues. The good news is, there are simple steps you can take today to improve your self-esteem and feel confident in your ability to accomplish your goals and thrive.

8 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem

  1. Identify Negative Beliefs Around You

Spending a lot of time around negative people whose comments and beliefs encourage you to think badly about yourself and the world around you will have a damaging impact on your self-esteem and mental health.

Remember that you can’t change what other people say or do, or the events that happen in your life. But you CAN change how you react to them!

That’s why I encourage you to avoid negative people and places that darken your outlook and cause you to think negative thoughts. The universe responds to the energy you put out into the world – so if you are sending out negative vibes, you will attract negative people, experiences, and energy in return. 

  1. Use the Power of Positive Thinking

A positive mindset isn’t something you’re born with – it’s something you can consciously cultivate. This is important to know if you struggle with low self-esteem and want to improve your mental health! 

Positive affirmations are a great tool to improve self-esteem and self-worth. They’re a powerful way to overcome negative thinking or any other low self-esteem issues you might be struggling with. 

So, what is a positive affirmation? Simply put, it’s a statement that you repeat to yourself several times a day to activate your subconscious mind to assist in creating the reality you want to experience.

For example, if you want to visualize yourself as a person who is capable of achieving your goals, you say something like, “I am so happy and grateful that I have [achieved this goal] and am [having this experience].” 

After only a few days, you will begin to believe what you are telling yourself and will cultivate the high self-esteem you need to make your affirmations a reality! 

  1. Challenge Yourself

The best way to convince yourself that you are capable of achieving success is to actually achieve it! In other words, set doable goals for yourself and then accomplish those goals. 

It’s okay to start small and work your way up to bigger goals. The important thing is for you to say “I am going to do this thing,” and then DO that thing so you can see yourself as someone who commits to a goal and then achieves it! 

When you successfully take on new risks, you will become a more confident person and will be inspired to take on even BIGGER risks. And the bigger the risk, the bigger the reward you will experience! This is another incredibly powerful tool for building self-esteem.

  1. Take Care of Your Well-Being

When you feel good in your mind, body, and spirit, it’s much easier to feel positive about yourself and your capacity to achieve your goals in life. That’s why it’s so important to take good care of yourself! 

This means getting enough sleep so you have the mental sharpness to make good decisions and the energy to get stuff done. It also means eating right and getting enough physical activity to keep your body healthy and strong – and doing what you need to do to feel spiritually connected to others and the world around you. 

All of these things will increase your self-esteem and sense of self-worth so you are able to believe in your ability to achieve anything you can imagine. 

  1. Develop Positive Habits and Routines

Positivity is the antidote for negativity! If you want to build your self-esteem, focus more time and energy on things that make you feel good about yourself.

Set an alarm and get up at the time you set for yourself. Go for walks or engage in some other form of physical exercise several days a week. Make your bed every day. Do yoga or some other form of stretching. Commit yourself to taking five concrete actions toward achieving your goals in life – and then hold yourself accountable for taking those actions!

That’s how you improve self-esteem and replace your negative thoughts with positive ones: by proving to yourself that YOU are someone who takes action and gets results.

  1. It’s Okay to Say ‘No’

One of the reasons we suffer from low self-esteem is that we overcommit ourselves and then fail to complete the tasks and responsibilities we offered to take on, simply because we couldn’t say “no.”

But the fact is, NO ONE is capable of “doing it all.” And taking on more than you can handle is a surefire way to feel overburdened, resentful, angry, and depressed.
So don’t be afraid to say “no!” Your first responsibility is to yourself and your mental health.

  1. Surround Yourself with Positive People

If you find yourself spending a lot of time with people who are constantly negative or don’t support your dreams and vision, find new people to hang out with!

This means online as well as off. Look for people who have an optimistic outlook and are motivated to make an impact on the world. They will inspire you to feel better about yourself and the world around you and look for ways you can show up in a more impactful way as well!

  1. Acknowledge Your Success

We, humans, tend to obsess over our mistakes and forget about all of the incredible things we achieve, experience, and survive in our lives. 

But if you’re wanting to grow your self-esteem and improve your mental health, it’s critical that you take time regularly to review and acknowledge all of your past successes. 

When you remember everything you’ve accomplished and endured, it allows you to see yourself as someone who is capable of achieving big things and increases your willingness to take on new challenges. And that, in turn, will boost your self-confidence and sense of self-worth.

Take on New Challenge

Boost Your Self-Esteem in the Months Ahead

What do you want the months ahead to look like for you? What are you hoping to accomplish? And do you have an unshakeable belief in your ability to achieve those goals? 

If your answer to that last question isn’t an unequivocal “yes!” I strongly encourage you to focus on cultivating self-esteem and growing your belief in yourself. It’s only when you believe that you are capable of achieving your goals that you will ACTUALLY become capable of achieving them!

The good news is, I’m here to help!

My free Positive Thinking Guide is designed to help you grow your self-esteem and train your brain to believe in your ability to accomplish anything you set your mind to. 

Overcome Negative Thoughts and Feelings 


With Your FREE Guide For Everyday Positive Thinking.

Meet Jack Canfield

For over 40 years, he has been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to create the life they desire.

As the beloved originator of the Chicken Soup for the Soul(r) series, he's taught millions of individuals his modernized formulas for success, and has trained and certified over 2,700 students to teach his content and methodology in 107 countries around the world.