1. Know that there is something beautiful about you. Staci Eldredge put it like this: every woman at her creation was given an essence of beauty. We each show them in different ways. A woman may look her most beautiful modeling for a magazine, but another may look just as beautiful when she is dancing. We all possess a beauty to admire, and just because one girl shows it differently from another girl, doesn’t make it right or wrong. Find your beauty, let that shine, and don’t let anyone or anything else tell you otherwise.
2. Take down any negative images in your room. One of the best things I ever did to help boost my low self-esteem was taking down all the pictures of models and editorials on my bedroom wall. When I worked out, looking at them kept me motivated to get skinny. It was a disease to the soul. The day I decided to take them all down and put them in the rubbish was the day I felt most truly liberated from low self-esteem.
3. Don’t read trashy magazines. More often than not, those kind of magazines only fill you with garbage. We are told to be more of this, slim down to get that and buy a product to get the boy of your dreams. Stop buying those magazines altogether – your self-esteem will thank you kindly for it.
4. Sit in front of a mirror in your underwear. And say aloud everything that you love about your body. It’s time to train your mind and your eyes to focus on the things on your body that you love, not hate. Remember that God not only made you beautiful in spirit, but in body too. I promise that if you look hard enough, you will find something about your body that you can adore.
5. Write positive, self-loving notes and stick them on your mirror. I wrote down one of my favorite beauty verses and stuck it up on my mirror so that I would read it every morning. It was the Bible verse from 1 Peter 3:3-4: ‘Don’t be concerned about the outward beauty of fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should clothe yourselves instead with the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.’
6. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. So often we get caught up in the idea that there is only one kind of beautiful when they’re are so many types of beauty in the world. A daisy may be very different to a rose, yet they are both exquisite. The sound of the waves may have nothing in common with the way leaves fall during autumn, yet they both hold grace and wonder. Each girl is beautiful in her own way, and even though we may look different to the girls we admire, it does nothing to diminish the truth that you have a beauty too. Focus on what makes you beautiful, and share that with the world.
7. Understand that without inner beauty, outer beauty is meaningless. We can see the most gorgeous girl on the street, but if she is rude, unkind and judgmental, automatically her outward beauty would diminish. But if you are warm, kind and compassionate, you are beautiful and nothing and no one can take that away from you. No amount of make-up or clothes could ever contain the beauty of a heart of love. At the same time, no amount of make-up or clothes could ever hide an ugly heart either. Rest assured in knowing that a beautiful heart will always be the true and timeless winner – and walk in that kind of beauty.
8. Take care of your body. A great way to start boosting your low self-esteem is to take care of yourself not only mentally, but physically too. It’s a cliche but a truth that what you put in is what get out. Eat well and keep active. Listen to what your body needs. Rest when you need to rest. Play when you need to play. Take the best care of your body that you possibly can.
9. Enhance your best features. While there is nothing more comfortable than going make-up free, putting your hair up into a ponytail and wearing sweat pants on a Friday night, sometimes that extra boost of confidence can come from doing something nice for your appearance. Enhance your best features: if you have blue eyes, wear eyeshadow shades of gold. If you have full lips, wear bold and bright lipsticks. When you look great, you feel great.
10. Spend more time with people who lift you up. You can remain stagnant in low self-esteem if you surround yourself with people who are constantly putting you down, discouraging you or criticizing you. Choose to spend time only with people who truly love and accept you for who you are, who encourage you to become a better person, and who see the beautiful in you, even when you fail to see it in yourself.
11. Take care of your soul. Fill it with beautiful poetry, books, music and people. Nurture the garden in your heart so that flowers will bloom and grow and I promise, the beauty will radiate outward naturally.
12. Read something inspirational. Stay away from any websites, magazines, books or social media pages that promote an unhealthy and unrealistic body image. Looking at them constantly will only deplete your self-esteem and put you in a negative thought cycle that will get harder and harder to break out of. Instead, only allow anything that encourages you to be more self-loving, positive and help you create a life you love to live.
13. Practice self-loving affirmations. When you wake up and before you go to bed, make it a ritual to say slowly and meaningfully positive affirmations to yourself. It could be something like, ‘I am worthy of happiness, love and respect, from myself and others,’ and ‘I wake up to a new day to love and accept myself.’ The spoken word is powerful – what you think and say about yourself, your mind and body will follow.
14. Don’t attach yourself to people’s opinions. If a person says something mean or discouraging to you, do not let it sink in. Say to yourself instead, ‘I reject that,’ and let it roll right off your shoulder like water off a duck’s back. You have the power to accept or reject what is being said to you. You can either let comments like that hurt you or you can render it powerless over your life. Reject what is untruthful or nasty, and accept only what is uplifting and encouraging.
15. Write down five blessings everyday. A long time ago, I remember hearing Oprah talk about keeping a journal and writing down five blessings that happen to you everyday. Focusing on something outside of yourself and practicing gratefulness is a great way to boost your self-esteem because it will help you become more satisfied with what you already have instead of wanting more.
16. Set a higher standard for yourself. When you don’t believe in your self-worth, you tend to allow people to treat you badly, walk all over you or take advantage of you. It’s time for you to take back what was lost from people’s hands – your self-worth and your value – and place it in God’s hands where His love will make you realize just how precious and irreplaceable you really are. Walk in the truth that you deserve to be respected, celebrated and pursued.
17. Take time to write down everything you love about yourself. Look deep within yourself and think about everything you love about yourself. It could be something as simple as, ‘I am a good listener and people appreciate me for that,’ or ‘I am kind and love helping people without reward.’ Those things about you are worth celebrating! Whenever you feel like your self-esteem needs a boosting, hold onto those positive qualities about you and walk with your head high.
18. Encourage one another. When we as women lift and encourage each other from love, not tear each other down from fear, a beautiful thing happens. Eve flipped the world upside down when she decided to sin. And when we love each other as women, we are doing our part to flip the world the right way up again. Our sisterhood becomes more stronger, our world becomes more beauty-filled, and our women become more empowered.
19. Practice self-love. It’s true when they say that real beauty begins with self-love. The moment you truly love and accept yourself, you will start feeling more beautiful and being more beautiful. Do little things to celebrate who you are and the life that you are living, and remember that you deserve to be celebrated, cherished and loved for everything that is you, especially from yourself.
20. Write down compliments that were given to you. It may sound a little weird to some at first, but I love saving text messages, emails or notes of words of kindness from loved ones and even strangers. When I feel low, it uplifts me. I encourage you to do the same too, and on days when you need a self-esteem boost, reflect back on it. Never underestimate the power of a kind word – as one Japanese proverb says, it can warm you for three winter months.
21. Look to God as your mirror. Often, and unconsciously, we tend to ask the mirror in front of us if we are the fairest of them all. And more often than not, the mirror replies back, ‘No.’ Through a distorted eye, even the most beautiful girl can seem ugly to herself. But when we look into the mirror of the eyes of God, what we see reflected back would surprise us. We would see reflected back a thing of beauty, for we would not just see our physical self, but our inner self too. The girl looking back was made to be beautiful in body and soul. Look into that mirror more. Look into God more. He will always, always tell you the truth that you are indeed lovely and loved for everything that is you, more deeply than you can ever imagine.
“My mission, should I choose to accept it, is to find peace with exactly who and what I am. To take pride in my thoughts, my appearance, my talents, my flaws and to stop this incessant worrying that I can’t be loved as I am.”