10 ways to overcome low self-esteem [using mindfulness]
Low self-esteem is seeing yourself as inadequate, unacceptable, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent.
These beliefs create negative, self-critical thoughts that affect your behaviour and your life choices, often lowering your self-esteem even further. Using the tools of mindfulness, you can learn to look at situations, other people and yourself objectively, without the negative influence of the past and with the awareness that you always have a choice.
- Live in the moment
- When you are focused on the moment, you can choose your actions consciously and wisely, unaffected by the hurts of your past and unconcerned by worries or hopes about the future.
- Develop awareness
- When we’re aware, we can recognise how we are responding and reacting to our own fears, creating a moment between our emotions and our actions. We can then choose to respond in a healthier way.
- Write in a journal
- Many of our thoughts and feelings are locked in our subconscious mind and writing can help to bring them into our awareness.
- Writing about the way we feel and think can help to separate negative ideas about ourselves from the truth of who we really are.
- Be non-judgmental
- When we approach our lives non-judgmentally, we simply accept ourselves, our experiences, our failures and successes and other people just as they are, neither good or bad, without pride or shame.
- Stay connected to yourself
- Mindfulness can help you to develop a sense of connection to yourself and reduce your people-pleasing ways by allowing you to stop the autopilot thinking and behaviour that keeps you jumping to please others without thinking of your own needs.
- Practice mindful meditation
- Meditation just means letting go of the racing thoughts in your mind and accepting that those thoughts, feelings and beliefs are transient, rather than parts of yourself. Take a few moments every day to simply be still, focus on your breathing and watch your worries drift away like clouds.
- Participate in your own life
- Mindfulness encourages us to become active and assertive in creating our own lives.
- Awareness of your thoughts and choosing your responses to them enables you to take action and participate in your own life.
- Develop a beginner’s mind
- When you have a beginner’s mind, you look at things as if you are seeing them for the first time, with openness, eagerness and freedom from expectation.
- You can see things in a new light, rather than automatically responding with the same old patterns of behaviour.
- Let go
- Non-attachment, or letting go, is the goal of mindfulness.
- When you let go of what you think you should do or who you should be, you can trust yourself and choose what’s right for you.
- Show compassion toward yourself
- You deserve love as much as anyone else.
- Self-compassion simply means providing yourself with the love, safety and acceptance you need.
Source: Ward, D. 2015.