It can be common to experience lowered self-esteem around Valentine’s Day, in particular. Based on your past experiences and what you have learned to emphasize on your life, you have certain aspects of life that you value and which heavily impact self-esteem. For many young women, appearance and being seen as desirable or being in a relationship both strongly influence self-esteem. This is not necessarily a bad thing, but it can put you at the mercy of others and at risk of feeling terrible simply if the wind blows the wrong way, so to speak. Even if those aren’t the most important areas from which you derive your sense of self-worth, the barrage of Valentine’s Day commercialization and media will take a hit on you. After all, how can you read and watch and hear about relationships being the be all end all and not be affected? It is certainly possible to overcome this, but you must be aware that it is happening. If it is happening for you then you may want to consider making some changes to how you think about your sense of self-worth that way it can be both more stable and more in your control as opposed to in others'.
6 Tips for Boosting Your Self-Esteem Right Now
1. Take some time to make a list of the factors that play a role in your self-esteem, such as being seen as desirable by others, being accomplished at work, being physically fit, being a good friend, being a good partner, or whatever else may be there. Be honest with yourself. If how much money you have or how much recognition you get at work is really important, that is necessary information to know. Once you have outlined the factors influencing your self-esteem, note the following things: you do not want it to be all coming from one place. Remember the adage “don’t put all your eggs in one basket.” If you do that, then if one area of your life goes wrong, you will have a major problem and your self-esteem will actually be quite flimsy. Try to think about other factors, factors that are within you, and well within your control, that you value, such as being knowledgeable about world events or having a healthy relationship with food. Emphasize building up those areas in your life.
2. Try to think about other things you value like education or health or having fun. The more the better. And then come up with some measurable and realistic, small ways to move toward those goals. If you are all about physical fitness, make a specific goal for yourself. Next, give yourself credit! Having a sense of accomplishment can go a long way and chances are you do many things each day that you could give yourself a pat on the back for, and which you do not. Look for things that you would give others credit for doing. That can give you some of the distance you may need to see just how much you are doing.
3. Notice negative self-talk and thoughts and be skeptical of it/them. Even just acknowledging that this is your negative self-talk speaking and is not necessarily true can be very helpful. Of course, the goal is to replace the thought with something more accurate and more adaptive, but that can come later.
4. Self-validation is key. Notice how you’re feeling and validate why that might be. Tell yourself that it make perfect sense that x, y, and z. Self care carries implicit self-validation so it is important to focus on that at any time when your self-esteem could use a boost. Some examples might be getting a massage, taking time for you, journaling, taking a relaxing shower or bath and making that a priority, or getting plenty of sleep.
5. Limit your exposure to social media and media outlets that emphasize appearance and relationships. Try to dial down the time on social media during the weeks leading up to Valentine’s Day. What good will it do to reach everyone’s mushy love note status updates on Facebook and pictures on Instagram. The same goes for limiting unhelpful magazines, shows, or movies. Romantic comedies may not be the way to go here, but rather, if you know of a comedy that doesn’t revolve around a relationship or a feel good movie about self-empowerment, take some time to give that a look.
6. Spend extra time with friends and reach out for support. If you tell others you are struggling then you already are one step closer to feeling better. It can be helpful to get into a regular habit of checking in with friends instead of putting on a facade all the time that everything is ok.