In a world and society that creates unrealistic beauty standards, that puts more value on how someone looks on the outside than what they are on the inside, it can be easy to feel inadequate, not good enough, and overall have low self-esteem. In these moments, a voice begins to speak inside our head, telling us that we’re not good enough, making us wish we were prettier, cooler, better. But that voice must be silenced – because what does it know? We need to learn how to talk to ourselves in a kinder voice, in a voice that accepts us for who we are.
But how can we cultivate confidence, learn to end this negative self-criticism and begin to talk to ourselves in a kinder way? Here are 10 ways to help boost your self-esteem:
1. Look good, feel good
Low self-esteem doesn’t mean that your appearance should be neglected. The Prophet (SAW) said in a hadith, “Allah (SWT) is beautiful and He loves beauty.” (Muslim) When you care for your appearance, you project an outward image of confidence even if you don’t feel that way. By making that little extra effort to look your best, you will start to feel better.
2. Read something inspirational
Read books and articles that uplift you and make you feel positive. Stay away from negative television programs, websites, advertising, or anything that reinforces a poor self-image.
3. Acknowledge failures
See failures as a necessary part of growth and learning. Failures are evidence of effort and you always learn something from them. Also, avoid setting unrealistic expectations for yourself because you will just be disappointed and feel low again.
4. Be creative
Focus on your talents and passions. Creativity is a wonderful feel-good therapy and finding something that you’re good at makes you feel happy and confident.
5. Embrace healthy habits
In Islam, we are encouraged to look after ourselves and practice healthy eating, sleeping, and exercise patterns. Look after your body which is an Amanah entrusted to you by Allah (SWT). Being healthy also induces a positive mindset.
6. Don’t use a magnifying mirror (both in the literal and figurative sense)
If you don’t notice tiny imperfections, chances are others won’t notice them either so don’t scrutinize yourself and go looking for physical or character flaws that are invisible to the naked eye, as you’ll just end up feeling insecure.
7. Don’t compare yourself to others
Competing and comparing with others is a fool’s game that no one ever wins because it’s a never-ending cycle. There will always be someone who is more sophisticated or better at something. Everyone is blessed in a different way, but that’s what makes us unique.
8. Use hopeful statements
Treat yourself with kindness and encouragement, because we become what we tell ourselves. Remember that as believers we are encouraged to be optimistic and positive.
9. Forgive yourself
Everyone makes mistakes but mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person. Tell yourself, “I made a mistake, but that doesn’t make me a bad person.” Find ways to fix your mistakes if you can but don’t be too hard on yourself.
Everyone makes mistakes, but mistakes aren’t permanent reflections on you as a person.
10. Focus on the positive
Think about the good parts of your life. Remind yourself of things that have gone well recently. Consider the skills you’ve used to cope with challenging situations. Encompass your positive qualities. Make a list of things that make you feel good about yourself or keep an affirmation journal. Reminding yourself of all your assets is a sure confidence booster.
Written by Rafeeah Laher, originally posted on sistermagazine.com