These four tips can help your self-esteem to flourish:

1. Tune into your self-perception
Self-esteem relates to your perception of who you are, so it may help to consider what you think of yourself. A more thorough exploration of your self-perception can help you begin to develop your self-esteem. As a start, you might take some quiet time for deep thought or journalling to unpack this question. Digging into your beliefs about yourself can help you learn more about who you are and where your self-esteem may need a bit of gentle tending. Maybe you feel extremely good when you succeed at work and extremely bad when you don’t. From there, you might ask why your self-perception depends on your work performance. What beliefs about work have you come to adopt over the years? Does any evidence support them?

2. Build healthy relationships
Relationships, especially familial relationships, play a major role in the development of self-esteem. Once you become an adult, the people around you may either reinforce low self-esteem or help boost it. Building positive connections, with new people or people you already know, could go a long way toward helpling reinforce your self-esteem. Higher self-esteem, in turn, can help you maintain those relationships. Wondering what makes a relationship healthy? As a general rule, you’ll:

  • feel comfortable discussing your thoughts and feelings
  • offer each other mutual emotional support
  • handle conflict with kindness and respect

3. Practice positive self-talk
Paying attention to how you talk with yourself can also make a difference. To check your self-talk, you might ask yourself if you use words that build you up — or bring you down. Would you feel comfortable if someone spoke to your best friend the way you speak to yourself? Negative self-talk can warp your view of yourself, which may, in turn, have an impact on both your mental health and your relationships with others. To curb negative self-talk, you can:

  1. Notice when it happens and name the thought: For example, “I’m useless because I messed up my presentation at work” or “This dinner is a complete failure. Why did I even bother? I can’t do anything right.”
  2. Challenge the thought with logic: For example, “Everybody makes mistakes — this doesn’t mean I’m a bad worker. Presenting may not be my strong point, but I have plenty of other skills.” Or “So I was a little ambitious with my cooking plans, but I can probably salvage this. And if not, we can always laugh about it and order a pizza.”
  3. Repeat: When the thought comes up again, respond with the same logic.

It is importance to treat yourself with kindness, which might involve recognizing and recording your strengths and achievements. This doesn’t mean overpraising yourself with gushing and false enthusiasm, but simply noticing — in a journal or freewriting exercise, for instance — what you’re realistically good at.

4. Cultivate a growth mindset
If you have a fixed mindset, you may feel reluctant to try new things. You may prefer to play it safe by sticking with what you know you can do — since you believe trying and failing would mean you, yourself, are a failure. But when you have a growth mindset you realize you can grow and learn, and you may feel more ready to take on new challenges. When you focus on growth, in short, you aim to learn and do your best. This mindset can also help you learn not to internalize your mistakes or use them to bolster negative perceptions of yourself. Rather, you’ll more than likely build resilience and feel more comfortable with new experiences.