Don’t stay down in the dumps. By Sasha Gonzales
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When bad stuff happens to us, it can take a toll on our self-esteem. Screwing up at work, being told off by the boss, getting into an argument with a friend or partner, and constantly comparing ourselves to others can all trigger doubts about the way we feel about ourselves.
But you don’t need something good to happen in order to start feeling positive about yourself again. Here are some easy and practical ways to turn the situation around.
1. Stop comparing yourself to others.
Constantly comparing yourself to your boyfriend’s ex, your sister or your best friend only highlights what you perceive to be flaws within yourself, and tricks you into believing that you’re not as worthy as others. It’s time to embrace your uniqueness. There is nobody else in the world like you – and that’s something to be proud of.
2. Cut yourself some slack.
While you should always set high standards of yourself, you shouldn’t beat yourself up if you fall short of those standards once in a while. Didn’t get that promotion? Find out why and resolve to get it next year. Feel bad that you don’t have enough time for your parents or friends? Look for other ways to make it up to them. When you think you’ve messed up, forgive yourself and move on.
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3. Celebrate even the smallest accomplishments.
Big successes are great, but many of us forget to congratulate ourselves for the little ones, too. Receiving praise from the boss, being able to go a whole week without eating junk food, sticking to your financial goals, completing your household chores on time – these are all small accomplishments you can and should be proud of.
4. Do things that you enjoy.
Make a list of all the activities that make you happy, and do them. It doesn’t have to be anything major – even curling up in your favourite chair with a good book counts, as long as it puts a smile on your face. The more you engage in these activities the more fulfilled you’ll feel and the more you’ll have to look forward to.
5. Focus on what you can change.
If there are certain aspects of your life that are not going too well, look at how you can change them so that you feel better about yourself overall. Whether it’s your health, lifestyle habits, financial status, relationship or job prospects, act now to prevent it from dragging you down any further.
6. Believe in your own competence.
Only you know what you’re capable of, so don’t feel that you have to perform to others’ expectations. Whatever you do, just make sure you do it to the best of your ability. That way, even if you fail, at least you’ll know that you gave it your best shot.
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7. Remind yourself of your successes.
If you struggle to feel competent at work, make a list of all the things you’ve achieved so far in your career. Place it somewhere prominent so you can look at it every day, especially when you’re having a rough time and need a lift.
8. Deal with your problems and mistakes in a positive way.
You can look at your problems and allow them to drag you down, or you can turn them into learning opportunities. The next time you’re up against a major challenge, don’t run away or allow yourself to feel defeated. Instead, confront it with a smile on your face and see how you can grow from the experience.
A version of this article first appeared on www.herworldplus.com.