Steps to Better Self-Esteem

“The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.”
C.G. Jung

As adults, we can choose the messages we accept or reject. No one can make you feel inferior without your permission. The building of a high self-esteem is a continuing process, not something that can be developed overnight. From my experience of working with numerous clients, every person has the capacity for high self-esteem.

12 Steps to Get Started

The only question is, are you ready to make the commitment necessary to increase your self-esteem?
If your answer is yes, here are 12 steps to get you started:

Step 1 – Stop comparing yourself with others.
There will always be some people who have more than you and some who have less. You are unique and your purpose is to express your uniqueness. Who can do that better than you?

Step 2 – Stop diminishing yourself with negative judgments
You can’t develop high self-esteem if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.

Step 3 – Avoid perfectionism
Perfectionism paralyzes you and keeps you from accomplishing your goals.

Step 4 – Surround yourself with positive, supportive people
When you are surrounded by negative people who constantly put you down, your self-esteem is diminished.

Step 5 – Acknowledge yourself
Get yourself a beautiful booklet and write in it every night, before going to sleep, 20 things you did well during the day. They can be big or small, doesn’t matter, as long as you allow yourself to feel acknowledged.

Step 6 – Give more of yourself to those around you

When you do things for others, you are making positive contribution and subsequently begin to feel more valuable, which, in turn, lifts your spirits and raises your own self-esteem.

Step 7 – Get involved in the work and activities that inspire you.
It’s hard to feel good about yourself if your days are spent in work you detest. Even if you cannot leave your present work situation immediately, you can devote leisure time to hobbies and activities which you find stimulating and enjoyable.

Step 8 – Be true to yourself
Live your own life – not the life others have decided is best for you. If you’re making decisions based on getting approval from friends or relatives, you aren’t being true to yourself and your self-esteem will suffer as a direct consequence.

Step 9 – Solve problems
Don’t avoid problems and don’t complain about them. Treat them as challenges and opportunities for growth

Step 10 – Respect your needs

Recognize and take care of your own needs and wants first. Identify what really if fulfilling for you – not just immediate gratifications. Respecting your deeper needs will increase your sense of worth and well-being.

Step 11- Free yourself from the “should”

Live your life on the basis of what is possible for you and what feels right to you instead of what others think you “should” do. Discover what you want and what you are good at and take actions designed to fulfil your potential.

• Step 12 – Take action

You won’t develop high self-esteem if you sit on the sidelines and avoid challenges. When you take action – regardless of the result – you’ll feel better about yourself. When you fail to move forward because of fear and anxiety, you create frustration and dissatisfaction within yourself.


The real you is a magnificent, unique being with enormous potential and capacity for experiencing self-love and extending that love to others.

As your self-esteem grows, this “real you” emerges. You begin to take more risks without fear of failure. You are no longer preoccupied with obtaining approval from others; your relationships are much more rewarding; you pursue activities that bring you both joy and satisfaction; and you will make a positive contribution to the world.

Most importantly high self-esteem brings you peace of mind. When you’re alone – you truly appreciate the person you’re with – yourself.

“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.”
Gautama Buddha

Happy woman photo available from Shutterstock

Steps to Better Self-Esteem

Steve Greenman, MA, LPC, NCC

Steve Greenman, MA, LPC, NCC is a licensed professional counselor (LPC) in northern Michigan who has a passion for reading, writing, music and helping others. He specializes in counseling complex family situations, substance abuse, and parenting. Steve’s counseling philosophy is holistic, approaching each issue on its own merit and evaluating influences to help overcome life’s dilemmas.


APA Reference
Greenman, S. (2015). Steps to Better Self-Esteem. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 30, 2020, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Nov 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Nov 2015
Published on All rights reserved.