When we think about self-esteem, often we think in terms of how to change the way we feel about ourselves. But my favorite fast-acting strategy to boost self-esteem takes an outside-in approach. If you want to experience higher self-esteem, do something that makes you feel strong, competent, compassionate, self-compassionate, brave, and upstanding. If you want self-esteem, do something esteemable.
Whatever the problem is—you want to be more confident at work, you’re worried that you’re coming off needy in a relationship, you’re feeling anxious, you’ve been feeling anxious all the time, you’re hungover—start by doing something that will make you feel like you’re in an upward spiral. The desired feelings may come sooner than you think.
10 “Esteemable” Things You Can Do Right Now:
- Take on a longstanding nagging task, finish the task, and scratch it off your mental to-do list
- Look up that local organization that you’ve been wanting to volunteer with, and actually take five minutes to call them and get the process started
- Call an elderly relative to talk
- Text a younger cousin who could use a good grown up, just letting them know that you’re thinking of them
- Make a conscious effort to be friendly and warm hearted with literally every person you interact with today
- Go to the drive-thru—Starbucks, McDonald’s, whatever—and pay for the food for the car behind you in line
- Offer to give a coworker a hand if he or she seems swamped, even if you could totally get away with kicking back and playing on your phone right now
- Reach out to a professional you’ve recently met who is new to your industry or younger than you and offer yourself as a resource to them for career advice
- Catch up on email. Get as close as you can to hitting inbox zero.
- Sit down and read a book in print. If it’s not something you do regularly, reading will make you feel like an owl wearing glasses and a graduation cap.
What “esteemable” things could you do today?