Tips & Resources > Increase Self-esteem for Girls
Tips for Girls to Increase Self-esteem
1. MINING THE MIND AND MINDING THE BODY: SELF-ESTEEM ROCKS!
Self-esteem is like a muscle, the more you use it, the stronger it gets. Developing self-esteem involves knowing yourself, identifying and expressing feelings, tending to your physical needs, and maintaining meaningful relationships. Having others reflect and guide you in this process is important. It helps to take the sting and fear out of disappointments and challenges. Surround yourself with people who care about you who are and how you feel, no matter who you're with or how you look. Practice developing “confidence in your competence.” Rock your world!
2. WHAT’S UP?
Something bugging you? Some problems will be easier to solve than others. But when you feel badly, figure our what’s going on in your life that might be causing it. Once you understand the problem, you can begin to deal with it. Ask yourself if your problem is about one of the following issues:
- Problems with another person, like an argument with a friend
- Changes in your life, like moving to a new school, divorce in the family, or puberty
- Deficits, such as feeling like you're missing something in your life
3. STINKIN’ THINKIN’
Do you ever notice yourself using these words to describe how you feel: always, never, everyone, and no one? Do the thoughts, “Everyone at school thinks I'm a loser,” or, “No one is ever going to like me,” ever enter your mind? Stinkin' thinkin’ includes catastrophizing or overgeneralizing from one situation to all situations. Instead of thinking in black and white, try viewing situations “in living color.” When we put things in their proper perspective, we have more options for solutions. Instead of thinking, “She’ll never be my friend again,” try saying to yourself, “Her feelings are hurt right now, and we need to work this out.”
4. GOING FORWARD
How do you solve problems once you identify them? First, write down all the ways to approach the problem (even write down the ridiculous ways). Next, decide which strategy is the best—the one that has the most going for it with the fewest consequences. Then, make a plan for how to change the situation, and act on it. Remember, sometimes when we can't change a problem, what we can change is the way we deal with the problem.
5. BODY TALK
During our teens, our bodies change almost as much as our moods! Some girls feel their bodies betray them, and the “bad body blues” become their theme song. If they talked to their friends like they talk to their bodies, they wouldn't have any friends. Your body was “custom sized” just for you. Try seeing yourself with new eyes. Look through the lens of your heart. Speak to yourself with loving language—sing those blues away!
6. CHALLENGE PERFECTIONISM
View mistakes as necessary feedback for the learning process; focus on your gradual mastery of a new task. Remember, there is no way you can learn any task or skill without errors. This process is called “successive approximation” and it means getting closer and closer to successful performance through the feedback provided by the mistakes you make. Every error tells you what you need to correct. Relax, stay focused on the strength that comes from gradual mastery of a new task.
Stressed out? Pumped up? Feel like you're going to blow? Better find out how to relax! Here are some tips to try. Count to 10—or to 100, if you're really wired! Take deep, slow breaths. Take a “time-out.” Leave the aggravating situation: take a walk, go to a safe space. If you have a hard time with certain transitions (like coming home from school or going to bed), come up with a plan, a ritual, which will help you make the transition from one zone to another.
8. DEAR ABBY, FROM I.M. BORED
In Western culture, boredom and loneliness are uncomfortable. However, in the Eastern view, boredom and emptiness are part of the fabric of life. Learn to tolerate and celebrate boredom. Sit with it—develop the capacity to move through it. Stay with it, experience it, become familiar with it, and incorporate it into who you are. You will grow stronger by mastering boredom.
9. THINKING OUTSIDE THE BOX
Stuck in a rut? Sometimes we get into habits, and it’s hard for us to see new ways to approach our lives. Start thinking outside of the box—what can you do when you're upset that's different from the old ways? What new ways can you view your body in a positive manner? Explore new ways to old problems and see what options arise just because you thought outside of the box!
10. MY BODY, MY BUSINESS!
You are bombarded with messages about how you “should” be, look, and feel in order to be popular or accepted. Advertisements in magazines and on television are designed to sell products and convince you that what they offer will make you cool! Be your own Sherlock Holmes and investigate what’s behind the media messages—are they trying to make money at the expense of your self-esteem? Create your own definitions of beauty that include who you are, how you feel, what you do, and how your body looks naturally. Stop doubting yourself and buy into the best investment you'll ever make—the real you!
11. PUTTING YOUR MIND IN YOUR MUSCLE
Exercise has physical benefits like strengthening your heart and other muscles, decreasing stress, and improving overall energy. While exercising, you are also treating yourself to the emotional benefits of feeling strong, setting and achieving goals, accepting the challenges of winning and defeat, and testing the limits of your physical potential. Remember what it felt like the first time you rode your bike without training wheels? Now, imagine what it would feel like to hike up a 5,000-foot mountain and have a picnic at its peak! What a feast for your mind, body, and spirit! Put your mind where your muscle is and create opportunities to discover the magnificent world at your fingertips.
12. FLEXIBLE STRENGTH
What does it mean to be strong? Does that mean big muscles? Having an attitude? Always being right? Flexible strength means being able to take charge, but also knowing when not to. So, you'll be strong when you're in a competition like a track race, but you'll also be strong when you know when not to compete. Strength can come in the form of cooperation, like helping out a younger sibling, or deciding to “go with the flow” and not bother trying to get your way. Explore many aspects of your inner flexible strength!
13. SELF CARE IS SACRED
This means learning about your body and your mind—what they need and what will harm them. Find out what foods you need, what kind of exercise is helpful to you, and what to avoid. Drugs, tobacco, and alcohol are harmful in very specific ways. Get enough sleep and learn as much as you can about the world around you.
14. BEST FRIENDS 4-EVER (?)
To have a friend, you must be a friend. You have to take an interest in others, listen, and support your friend. You have to be courageous and speak up when you're not comfortable with something that has gone on between the two of you. You have to be willing to negotiate solutions that both of you can live with and understand that in healthy relationships where both people have a voice, conflicts will occur—working through them leads to a closer relationship.
15. “HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM!”
Do you ever feel so close to someone that you wonder where you end and your friend begins? The answer has to do with what’s called “boundaries.” Everyone has his or her own needs, wants, and feelings. Healthy relationship boundaries give both people room to heave their own experience, even if it’s different or in conflict with the other. In fact, working out problems and sharing differences is what strengthens relationships. Try writing a job description of the qualities and values you'd like to have in a friend. How do your current friendships match up?
16. THE CRITICAL NATURE OF CRITICAL THINKING
Thinking critically isn’t the same as being critical. Critical thinking means to formulate something in your mind that you have carefully analyzed. It means the exact opposite of agreeing with everything for the sake of agreeing. Knowing how you think, liking what you believe in and what you'll stand up to, is a key to building self-confidence and assertiveness.
17. NEGOTIATING WORKS!
In healthy relationships where both people are stating what they want, there will be conflict at times. It is important to learn how to negotiate with each other. The goal is not for you to get your way all the time or to give in to the other, but to learn how to state what you want, listen to what the other person wants, and to creatively come up with a compromise you can both live with.
18. BE THE MASTER OF YOUR OWN DOMAIN!
Having self-esteem is a beginning, not an end. Take seriously what you need, want, and feel, and DO things to become your own best version of yourself. Taking risks, making changes, and doing new things, creates a sense of mastery of your life. Even your muscles have a memory; growth requires change. “If you keep doing what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always got.” Who else but you can do the best at becoming who you are?
19. “YOUR MISSION, IF YOU SHOULD AGREE TO ACCEPT IT…”
Living with intention means being purposeful about setting and obtaining goals. You must dream the dream before you can live it. Think about what you want for your future and write a mission statement that will help map out the directions you'll need to go to reach your goals. Sharing your mission statement with a trusted friend can be a way to hold yourself more accountable and to get support for your efforts. Remember, mistakes are feedback, not failure. Today’s choices become tomorrow’s reality—dream on!
20. PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT
Want to form a new habit? Get ready to train! Lasting changes require long-term practice, like training to run a 5K race. If we keep working on the changes, over time, a shift takes place. Be deliberate about developing a lifestyle that increases your chances of reaching your goals. Practice! Practice! Practice!
21. MAKING IT REAL
One of the best ways to make healthy changes in your life is to find a mentor. A mentor is someone (usually older than yourself) who has experience in what you want or need help with. You can find mentors in many places: teachers, counselors, coaches, older friends, parents, neighbors, spiritual leaders, or people who you meet through classes and programs that you take. To help you make the healthy changes you've learned about, think of people who have shown you that they've been successful in the following ways: coping with stress; maintaining a positive body image; having healthy relationships; and setting goals. Find someone whom you admire, get to know them, and ask their advice. That's what mentors are for!