"If stupidity got us into this mess, then why can't it get us out?" Will Rogers
Question #92253 posted on 06/02/2019 9:48 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How can I improve my self esteem?

-My Name Here

A:

Dear Aziraphale,

I heavily recommend therapy. You don't need to have an actual mental illness to still legitimately see, and benefit from a therapist. 

Therapy aside, here are a couple other suggestions that have helped me:

  • Develop new hobbies. When I can see myself making progress in something that's new to me, it really boosts my self esteem. Even if the thing itself isn't important, it makes me feel more capable and interesting as a person. Particularly voice lessons and yoga are the hobbies that have had the biggest impact on my self esteem.
  • Compliment yourself. This one can be hard when you don't have much self esteem in the first place. I think the trick to it is constantly consciously looking for things you do well on. If you do anything well, make a mental note and congratulate yourself. Hopefully it will help you realize that you're better than you feel.

Good luck, my friend,

~Anathema

A:

Dear friend, 

I don't know what specifically you struggle with and what you may want/need to focus on, but here's Board Question #92120, which will help get you started. Board Question #4835 is good too. I might also suggest perusing our "Self Improvement" Category for anything that strikes your fancy. You can get there by clicking the box at the top of this question that contains the category tag. 

Remember, we love you!

Cheers, 

Guesthouse

A:

Dear My Name Here,

Your question reminded me of the fourth question I ever answered on the Board and the one that really started the Black Sheep brand, if you will. I'd answer it a little differently now, but for old time's sake I refer you to Board Question #48289. Holy cannoli, it's been over 10 years.

Self esteem can be tricky if you are trying to build it out of nowhere. I have a great appreciation for that fact. It is helpful for me to remember that, mathematically and logically speaking, my emotions and needs matter just as much as anyone else's. Then I try to act like it. It's hard and it's scary and I often feel like I'm just being an overwrought mess, but that doesn't stop it from being okay.

Building self esteem, like anything else, has to be an active effort. You have to actually do something about it. It is not a thought exercise alone. If other people are worthy, you are too. You just are, inherently. Go convince yourself. You absolutely can.

Oh, and (say it with me) go to therapy.

- The Black Sheep

A:

Hey you!

This is a subject close to my heart.

My sister and I have made “have more confidence” our New Year’s resolution for the past…. six years now? Maybe more. Over the years I’ve told people this was our goal, and I’ve loved learning what other people do to grow confidence.

The things that have really changed the way I think about myself may seem trivial and superficial. And some are! But they’re also easy to do, and have legitimately turned me into a happier, more-confident person. Here are some things that have worked:

  • Buy outfits you like on other people that you think ~aren’t your style~ and wear them until they feel like the norm

    • Can also be an out-of-the-norm lipstick color or hairdo, or even better: a combo of all

  • Show up. I used to not attend events or parties if I only knew one person or wasn’t sure if it was a pity invite. Just showing up and having fun with whoever is there, even if you didn’t know them previously, is a game changer. And you’ll slowly realize how much your presence is valued.

  • Give out compliments like it’s your job. You’ll start noticing qualities in others and yourself that you value and can work on.

  • Practice a hobby until you’re good at it. Show it off.

  • Stop weighing yourself. Throw the scale into a dumpster.

  • Have daily goals. Make lists you can cross things off.

  • Send those risky texts--not risque texts, though I support those too. But I mean don’t worry about if you’re being too forward or clingy or weird. I have a few close friends now that I would never have gotten close with if I hadn’t sent a text like “hey I saw this thing that is related to what we talked about before,” even though we’d only hung out once.

  • Apply for jobs you want that you think you’re not qualified for.

  • Let people do things for you. This is the most difficult of them all for me; I was raised being told that showing imperfections is weak and embarrassing, never to be done. But my 2019 has been rough, and nothing made me feel as worthwhile as when a friend told me that she was coming over, made me dinner, and just sat and talked all night with me. Accepting help makes you realize that you're worth other people's time. It's big.

As you implement little specific things like this, track! your! progress! If you have somebody to text, do that, but if not, you can write in your journal or blog or email me. Just make sure you have a way to look back at the little things that seemed so difficult at the start. They won't feel impossible for much longer. 

Good luck!

-Ace