Below are a few ways how to boost your self-esteem and become more confident.

Identify (and heal) the root cause
Low self-esteem has deep roots, which require a commitment to becoming self-aware. Addressing it requires getting real with yourself to learn what’s making you feel less confident and change those thought patterns. It’s important to explore cognitions and the messages learned that initially created the negative core beliefs. Understanding how low self-esteem evolves as a result of past internalized messages and cognitive processing can help create new ways of perceiving the world around you.

Set small goals
People with low self-esteem often feel like failures and develop learned helplessness. Creating small, achievable goals can help build competence and consequently confidence. A great first goal is to notice when you witness examples of poor self-esteem showing up in your life. Then, you can take action. For example, maybe you’ll try to stop making self-deprecating jokes in front of others or compliment yourself the next time you look in the mirror. These little goals will eventually add up to create bigger change.

Be kind to yourself
Low self-esteem can cause us to be unfairly hard on ourselves. Remember to be gentle with yourself as you unlearn harmful messages and conditioning. It’s not about pushing yourself harder or beating yourself up. It just doesn’t go away with positive thinking and pretending you feel better about yourself than you really do. Instead of brushing it off or shaming yourself for your experience, try to accept yourself and work toward positive change.

Practice self-love
Self-love is the foundation of self-esteem, so, when you don’t love yourself, you’ll likely have low self-esteem. It’s a good idea to pursue healthy habits, like eating nutritious meals, moving your body, sleeping well and taking care of your mental health. This could also mean learning more about yourself, including what you enjoy, and accepting your flaws and imperfections. Positive thinking can help you adjust your way of thinking, too. Consider all your great personality traits and the ways in which you thrive rather than dwelling on your faults or undesirable traits. Also repeat positive affirmations, like “I am worthy of happiness” or “I am confident.”

In Summary
How we perceive and value ourselves directly affects the ways in which we navigate life. Understanding the signs of low self-esteem and recognizing when those patterns show up for you is a great step toward creating positive change. Low self-esteem shows up in various ways. Examples include lacking boundaries, people-pleasing, talking badly about yourself and feeling unworthy. If you relate to any of these, you may have low self-esteem. But if you have poor self-image, there’s no reason to feel worse about it. You can figure out the causes, practice self-love and learn how to improve how you see yourself and the world around you. It can take time and hard work, but boosting your confidence is possible and can help you live a more fulfilled life.