Hey, how the hell do I improve my self-esteem? (And my personal self-esteem challenge!)

I'm writing this post because lately I've felt pretty shitty about myself. I don't know what's created these feelings inside of me - work, hormones, or just the daily grind. I think I've always been a little bit lacking on self-esteem, although no one would ever know it if they met me in person. I'm kind of a "fake it until you make it" person, and so I come across very confident. I'm outgoing, I have an opinion, I'm fairly funny in a self-depreciating way. No one would ever suspect that I wasn't very happy with myself on the inside.

I'm sure there are a lot of people like me out there. We read motivational Instagram quotes and briefly think, "Hell yeah! I'm awesome!" but then it's gone. We forget it. It disappears into a hole inside ourselves. A big black hole. That hole where all compliments go, where all those "I look nice in this outfit today!"s go. The hole where all our achievements are tossed aside.

Do I have the solution to this problem? Not really....or rather, not yet. However, I've been doing a lot of reading about it, because it's had such a bad effect on my relationship. It's hard on my boyfriend when he gives me a compliment and I counter it with, "You're my boyfriend. You're obligated to say that." It also leaves me feeling very hollow when he tells me he loves me, and I don't believe it because "Why would he? What's there to love?" It's a very dark and lonely place when you can't accept love from other people because you feel you don't deserve it.

These are the things I'm going to be trying the next four weeks. I -will- update afterwards, and tell you how it went and what things worked and what things flopped. Of course, if you have any suggestions or you've been struggling with this, please comment. I would love to get your feedback.

1. Three Positive Affirmations a Day

I'm going to be writing down three things I love/appreciate about myself in the morning (or on the subway.) I used to find positive affirmations really cheesy (and...I still do a bit...), but I've started to realize the merit to them. Sometimes it's hard to see the good inside of us unless we're forced to write it down. It will be good to look at what I've written and see that....yes, there a parts of me that are good. Big parts of me. Most of me.

2. Positive Journalling

I do this anyways....but, with one caveat, I only journal when I feel bad about myself. I'll write down all the ways I've screwed up, how I feel about it, and how I'm the worst human being ever (worse than Hitler!). I just wallow in it. I only feel creative when I'm talking about how shitty I am or how I've fucked up. So, for the next 4 weeks, I'm going to try to keep a positivity journal. It's going to be about all the things I love about myself, all the things that I love about my life and the world around me. 

3. Cut Out the Alcohol

I find that alcohol really brings out the worst in me, and it sets me up for depressive feelings the day after (like today!) I'm going to cut out alcohol for the next 4 weeks in a effort to get myself feeling better again. 

4. Stop the Negative Self-Talk

I have an ongoing conversation going on inside my head, and often it's just so pessimistic and dark and critical. I am -so- critical of myself sometimes. I can't ever give myself a break. So, I'm going to start to rebuild those pathways, by preventing those negative thoughts from breaking through or stopping them when they start. I think this will probably be the hardest goal for me to work through, because it's hard to catch those thoughts when they happen. They're just part of me at this point. It's also hard to quantify if I've succeeded in doing this.  Nonetheless, I think this is probably the most important goal.

5. Continue eating low-carb and exercising

Obviously a big part of having a healthy self-esteem starts by being healthy. Exercise makes me happy and makes me feel good about myself. Low-carb will help with the energy drops throughout the day that leave me to start procrastinating on things, have headaches, etc. Keeping a healthy, balanced lifestyle is important to my well-being and so I need to continue to make that a priority.

 

So, folks, there you go! I'm struggling a bit....but I have hope that things will improve in leaps and bounds once I start working on this. I think it's so vital to be happy with ourselves, and I can't remember the last time I really liked myself. Looking at it, it's such a waste to go through life disliking yourself. We only have one ride on the roller coaster, and it will be over before we know it. May as well enjoy the ride while you're on it, right?

If you want to join me on my little challenge, shoot me off a comment. I'd love to hear from you.