Some food for thought: accomplishments will make you far more confident than positive affirmations.
Although I’ve given you this link in the past, I thought it’s a study that makes an important point: if you’re down on yourself, simply telling yourself “I’m good enough, I’m smart enough, and doggone it, people like me” may not be enough to bring you out of a funk. Depressed people who repeated the phrase, “I am a lovable person,” actually felt worse about themselves as time went on. (Ironically, people who already felt good about themselves felt slightly better after repeating the phrase.)
Unfortunately, the title of the BBC story, “Self-help makes you worse,” is wrong. You can help yourself feel better about, um, yourself. But you can’t do it by talking — you do it by doing.
This is a topic I’ve covered before, and (I think) quite well, so I won’t belabor the point too much, but the most powerful way to boost your self-esteem is to actually have things you have accomplished that you can reflect on. Even to try, no matter whether you succeed, can give you a boost, although I would suggest that if you’re actually depressed you should start with simple accomplishments that represent one step towards a goal:
- If you’re feeling bad about your weight, take a brisk walk. Go to a scenic place and walk for as long as you have time.
- If you need to eat healthier, do it for one day. Plan your entire day and prepare the food or plan the menu items you’ll order.
- If you’re feeling like you need to make more friends, start by just saying “hello” to people. It doesn’t have to be complete strangers: you can even start with clerks and servers.
- Same with women: smile and say “hi” to a few.
- Be creative: write a one-page version of a story you’d like to write, go out and take some photos, or buy some art supplies and let your imagination be your guide.
Everyone can benefit from learning a new skill. It could be a sport, or a musical instrument, or a dance step — there are people who can help you do better at anything than you may have ever thought you’d be.
I hope this ignites a spark for some of you (there are 22 more spark-igniters here). Feel free to let me know your progress.