Maybe you’re recovering from a domestic violence situation, or you’re working up to leaving an abusive partner. Either way, you might be experiencing a blow to your self-esteem. It’s not your fault—batterers often use callous and devious tactics to rob survivors of their confidence in order to maintain power and control over their partners.
Low self-esteem is a major cause of depression. It can show itself in many ways, such as defeating self-talk (“I’m a failure at everything I try. I don’t deserve to be happy.”), jumping to negative conclusions (“I haven’t heard from my friend all week so she must hate me now.”) and negating any positives in your life (“I only got this job because the company was desperate to hire someone.”).
Would you say these statements to a friend? Hopefully not — the way we speak to ourselves is often so much more harsh than how we’d ever talk to someone we care about. If these things sound familiar, it’s time to give your self-esteem a lift so you can feel good about yourself and your place in life again. Why not resolve to try one of these confidence boosters each week for eight weeks? At the end, take stock of how you’re talking to yourself. Hopefully, it’s gentler and with more kindness.
- Wake up with gratitude. Each morning, before getting out of bed, name 10 things you’re grateful for. This could be as meaningful as, “I’m grateful I’m alive” or as simple as, “I’m thankful for coffee.”
- Accept compliments. Allow someone to compliment you without dismissing it. Take in the compliment and let yourself celebrate what was said.
- Take on a challenge. Achievements can play a big part in boosting your self-esteem. Challenge yourself to hike a mountain, cook a difficult meal or learn how to speak a new language.
- Add to your closet. Clothes can actually do wonders for your self-esteem. You don’t have to invest thousands in designer duds—just buying a few new pieces that make you feel good will do. Then, take your clothes that remind you of your former life and donate them.
- Take care of your body. Moving every day is about more than buying smaller pants—regular exercise can reduce stress and improve your mood. If you haven’t worked out before, start with a walk in the morning and afternoon, or sign up for a yoga class.
- Surround yourself with happy people. This one’s pretty much self-explanatory. Nix the negative Nellies in your life and only spend time with people who make you feel good about yourself. Need a new group? Search for people of similar interests on a site like Meetup.com.
- Be positively affirming. Every day, give yourself a positive affirmation pep talk. I am doing awesome. I am brave. I am smart enough to figure this out.
- Do something you enjoy. Schedule time each day to do something for you that you truly enjoy. Take a bike ride, indulge in a cupcake, take an extra long bubble bath or go to the movies.
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