I Refuse to Have Low Self Esteem
I struggled with self esteem for years. Then I stopped caring--that's all it really takes to raise your self esteem--give your self permission to stop caring what others think. That is a big first step--it's really hard to say "I don't care" because what kind of person are you if you don't care? I care about others, I care about other's feelings, I just don't care about other's negative opinions. They are welcome to them, but I'm not going to accept them. So what if someone doesn't like me--even if it's because I screwed something up and looked like an idiot. Truly--it's not the end of the world. Even if I screw something up really badly and make lots of people mad, the sun will still come up tomorrow, life will still go on.
Along with giving yourself permission to stop caring what others think, you have to give yourself permission to like yourself, even with all your flaws. You can actually train your brain to stop thinking about all your flaws and mistakes. I'm trying to get a friend of mine to list 15 things he likes about himself. He is coming up with all of these excuses, like the only things he can come up with are shallow and he doesn't see the point, but he is just making excuses to avoid saying good things about himself. The only messages he has ever gotten about himself are negative ones, so the positive ones feel really uncomfortable. But the only way he is going to feel comfortable with the positive messages about himself, and learn to take a compliment, is to start telling himself good things about himself--did you know that it's OK to do that? Just list 15 good things about yourself, anything you can think of, just finish the list. Then look at it and recite it every morning when you get up and every night when you go to bed and every time in between that you are giving yourself negative messages about yourself.
It will feel bad at first, very uncomfortable, but like anything else, it takes practice. Feeling good takes lots and lots of practice, but if you are willing to put in the time an effort, it really is totally doable!