Many, many of us (myself included) suffer from low self-esteem, which can affect nearly every part of our lives. It can make us feel like we're not good enough or we're bad people. Low self-esteem often leads to depression, which is something that can be very hard to cope with.

There are lots of reasons people have low self-esteem - among them, the way we were raised, our personalities, and the way we've been treated. The causes are less important than knowing how to fight the problem and boost our self-confidence.

Here are some ways you can combat low self-esteem.

1) Avoid pessimism, which can turn into a self-fulfilling prophesy. Rather than think "I'm going to fail," think "This is hard, but I can handle it."

2) Forgive yourself for not being perfect. No one is perfect, and making mistakes doesn't make you a bad person.

3) Don't use "I should," "I must," or "I'd better," when talking to yourself because these statements can really place some unreasonable expectations on yourself, making you feel like a failure when you're unable to meet them.

4) Make a list - or have a friend help you - of things you've done well and the positive traits you have. These can be as simple as "I'm a good mother" or "I am great at staying organized." This list can help to combat the "always" and "never" statements, such as "I always fail" or "I never follow through."

5) Listen - really listen - when people compliment you rather than brushing it off or assuming they're just being nice.

6) Focus on all your good qualities rather than the ones that aren't so good.

7) Negative self-talk ("I always fail") is your mind's way of lying to you. Just because your brain thinks it doesn't mean it's true.

8) Remind yourself that the person who is most important to please is you. Yes, you. You'll never please everyone else, so it's best to give up trying.

9) Don't base your self-worth on what others think or say about you. Not everyone will approve of your choices or life, but you owe it to you to make yourself happy.

10) Use negative feedback as a way of growing and learning rather than allowing it to beat you down and make you feel worse about yourself.

11) Dump any unreasonable guilt - even though you'll probably never be able to dump ALL the guilt, it's important to remind yourself that you don't need to beat yourself up every time you feel like you're failing.

12) Look for the positive in even the most negative situations. If you're struggling, make a list of the reasons something happened and what you're learning from it.

13) Don't call yourself names. Instead of saying "I suck at life," say "I'm not perfect, but that's okay because no one is," or "I'm just doing the best I can."

14) Lighten up some. Life isn't always such serious business and it's very important to remember that humor can do a lot to change your perspective.

15) Allow yourself to relish the small victories and celebrate them. Every time you have even the smallest of victories, this can help you lead to bigger victories down the road.

How do you combat low self-esteem?


Image via DanaK~WaterPenny/Flickr