How to Build Your Self-Esteem

Most of us find it easy to see value in others, but difficult to find value in ourselves. We chastise, belittle and abuse ourselves in ways we’d never dream of treating others. So why do we value ourselves so little and how can we learn to see our true value through our self-hatred.

There is a good chance that over 60% of the people reading this sentence right now don’t like themselves very much. Most of us have something to degrade ourselves with, whether that’s our performance at work, our weight, our looks or our social life. Nothing we do or say is ever enough, so we chastise and berate ourselves to the point of exhaustion. 
We verbally and mentally abuse ourselves because we haven’t set any boundaries or standards for what treatment we consider acceptable. We want to think we wouldn’t allow someone to harm us, take advantage of us, abuse us or insult us and we’d like to believe we’d stand up for ourselves in certain circumstances. However, the reality is that if you’re someone who berates yourself, you’re very unlikely to stand up for yourself against others.

Setting Boundaries & Standards 

If you’ve ever wondered why so many people in your life have mistreated you, the simple answer is because you openly abuse yourself. How you treat yourself sets the standards that you accept in life, and people will meet those standards. If you have no respect for yourself, why would anyone else?
If you negatively talk about yourself and make unkind remarks about yourself, why would anyone else not pick up on those cues and view you as such, even in their subconscious?
This destructive, strange yet all-too-common method of devaluing ourselves in the hopes that another person will swoop in, raise us and value us is lazy, attention-seeking and disempowering.
No amount of external praise is going to pull you out of the hole you’ve dug for yourself; no one is going to convince you that you’re worthy and unique and not as pathetic and hopeless as you think you are. You don’t need to convince the world of your worth: you only need to convince yourself. 


Accepting Your Value

You need to accept that you are valuable just as you are, just for being alive, and then add more value to who you are by striving to become someone you are proud of and admire. The person you’re proud of being doesn’t need to look a certain way, have a specific job or income or have a particular car, house or level of fame. The person you should be proud of is one who makes a positive change in the world. 

Until you value yourself, you won’t value your time. Until you value your time, you will not do anything with it.

– M. Scott Peck


Increasing Your Value

The bitter truth about self-worth is that it grows when we give more rather than when we get more. To cultivate value, we need to give more than what we take from the world: more time, more energy, more thought, more care, more patience and more love. Like an invisible set of foundations, our self-worth underpins our self-esteem and seeing what value our life brings to others only strengthens it.
Next time you want to evaluate your value in life, ask yourself when the last time was that you did something which made a positive impact on someone else’s life, big or small. You are valuable when you take the time out of your day to listen to someone or when you let someone go ahead of you in line because they’re more stressed and you can spare an extra two minutes of waiting.
You are valuable when you work towards a project which aims to help other people or when you extend yourself to a stranger on the street who is in need. Your value accumulates the more you give out into the world, which begs the question: how can you raise your value today?
Kain Ramsay
[email protected]

As an established teacher of personal and professional growth principles, and a champion of mental well-being, Kain Ramsay is regarded as one of the world’s foremost thought leaders of modern applied psychology.