Strengthening self-esteem: a path to greater self-efficacy

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Our self-esteem can have a significant impact on our emotional well-being. It has an impact on how we deal with challenges and how we organise our lives. In this article, you can learn how to strengthen your self-esteem and, more importantly, how to deal with low self-esteem and recognise signs of impaired self-esteem.


What is self-esteem and how does it develop?


Your self-esteem is a complex web of beliefs, thoughts, experiences and feelings about yourself that has been formed over the course of your life and can also be subject to fluctuations. It can influence your decisions, your relationships and your general well-being. Recognising your self-worth as such enables you to learn to accept yourself, develop confidence in your abilities and tackle your goals.


Signs of low self-esteem


There are various signs that may indicate that your self-esteem is impaired. You may find that you are letting feelings of insecurity stop you from doing things that bring you joy or would be good for you. Your inner critic and doubts about your abilities could prevent you from developing further, taking on new challenges and achieving your goals. If you are not aware of these feelings, you will let them guide you in the auto-pilot.


How to strengthen your self-esteem


First, an important idea: an important part of your self-esteem is made up of your behaviour. If you deal rigidly with your feelings of insecurity and doubting beliefs and react by not doing things, this leaves you with a different feeling than if you deal flexibly with insecurity and self-criticism and still do the things that are important to you. In the latter case, your feeling that you are capable of making things happen is strengthened - you feel more self-effective, so you can strengthen your self-esteem.

There are various strategies that can help you to boost your self-esteem and build healthy self-confidence.


  • Self-acceptance: Learn to see and accept yourself, including your strengths and weaknesses. Recognise that nobody is perfect and that your quirks make you unique. Think about it: are self-confident people really anywhere near "perfect"? No. They know and recognise their weaknesses. It is helpful to get a comprehensive picture of your strengths and weaknesses.

    We often find it more difficult to reflect on our strengths rather than our weaknesses. Here are a few tips to help you do this:

    • What kind of characteristics or opinions do you have, that characterise you? These can be things like warm-heartedness, perseverance, fairness, diligence, openness and much more.

    • What are your skills? Are you good with money or solving difficult family problems? Are you good at throwing parties or solving technical tasks?

    • Which knowledge do you have? Do you perhaps speak many languages or are you good at woodworking? Or music, environmental protection or the internet?

    • Which experiences characterise you? Perhaps you have survived a difficult separation or lived abroad? Can you get by well with little money or endure long periods of being alone?

  • mindfulness: Practise mindfulness to improve your awareness about your thoughts and feelings, without judging them. This can help you, to break through negative self-judgements and thought spirals and become aware of how you evaluate yourself.
    Also notice how you go about your everyday life. For example, what physical posture do you adopt when you do things that you like to do? And what about things you don't like doing? What can you learn from this?

  • Support and goodwillFind a way to support yourself with kindness and warmth. You may want to spend some time in the evening reflecting on what went well for you that day. If you find yourself harshly criticising yourself, find a supportive and appreciative way of expressing your self-criticism.

  • Act: Take concrete steps towards your goals, even if they are small. Every positive action you take will boost your self-esteem and show you that you are capable of bringing about change. Always have the next small step in mind first. Interrupt procrastination and start acting

  • Emotional acceptance: Allow yourself to accept your unpleasant emotions without letting them overwhelm you. By accepting and understanding these emotions and not fighting against them (including those of fear and insecurity), they have less influence on you and you don't have to let them guide you.


There are times when the road out of self-doubt and dissatisfaction is rocky. If you find yourself at a dead end and have difficulty accepting and motivating yourself, professional support can be beneficial. As a psychologist, I can help you tackle your individual challenges and find your way to self-efficacy. If you would like to take the next step and would like support in doing so, I warmly invite you to contact me.


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