10 Ways to Build Self-Esteem as a Twenty-Something Year Old
Self-esteem, self-love, body positivity and confidence… All terms that are very popular right now. When ideas are put in the spot-light, they tend to be associated within a cheesy context. Because so many people are using the terms, they almost lose their power.
But I would argue that these term are popular right now because people are standing up, speaking out and fighting for something that is really important. It isn’t just because they are “trendy.” It’s because people are realizing the deeper need for the human population to realize their worth - their value - and their identity.
When our self-esteem reflects our true identity, our capacity for opportunity increases dramatically.
I remember being a teenager and all of the self-doubt, insecurity and awkwardness that accompanied me all those years. I remember feeling completely inadequate, purposeless and entirely confused about life. It’s at that time when comparison, competition, and judgement entered my life - *queue the identity crisis!
“Who am I? Am I good enough? What’s my purpose in life?”
When we are doubting our identity, it’s almost impossible to discover our purpose. And as I reflected on this statement last night, I realized that my life has expanded and I have grown as a result of knowing who I am as a person - knowing my worth, value and identity. Yes, some days I still have doubts and insecurities, but nothing compares to being an angsty teenager with raging hormones. Can I get an amen!?
As we exit our teenage years, it’s imperative that we continue to build our self-esteem.
Having a high self-esteem does not equate to being arrogant. Actually having a high self-esteem looks something like knowing who you are at the core and embracing every intricacy present. It means being confident in who you are - grasping your worth and value first, and from this place, bravely living out your purpose.
Doesn’t that sound amazing? I mean, there’s a reason why everyone is talking about it, searching for it and teaching people how to do it. Every human being is inherently valuable and worthy, and when we can realize that for ourself personally, we are able to not only be the best version of ourself but live out our destiny and purpose all at the same time.
Whether you’re a teenager, twenty-something year old or beyond, building self-esteem is always relevant. It’s something we can continue to work on throughout our entire life. The following are my favorite ways to build self-esteem as a twenty-something year old…
1| Shut out the noise - It’s too distracting!
When we’re building our self esteem, it’s imperative that we aren’t looking in the wrong places. Scrolling through Instagram, watching movies, taking in advertisements - there’s so many things trying to define us - trying to suggest that they know who we are and what we need to do to be a “better version of ourself.” I’m not saying ditch social media altogether, but I am suggesting that we monitor what we’re consuming. If something isn’t lifting us up and building our confidence, we shouldn’t give it our time.
2| Tell your past self “I forgive you.”
When we give ourselves the permission to fail, we give ourselves the ability to grow from our mistakes. But when we allow shame and insecurity to creep in as a result of our imperfections, we live in this endless cycle of never feeling good enough. So, instead of holding ourselves to a standard of complete perfection (which is unattainable and altogether impossible), let’s learn from our failure and grow from it.
3| Take care of your physical body - but don’t worry, you can still have the donut.
When we are taking care of our health, we naturally feel better. We feel more confident as a result. Why? Because it feels good to take care of your body. This doesn’t mean going on a strict vegan diet and working out 7 days a week (although if that’s your jam, go for it!). But it does mean finding balance. Have an extra 20 minutes after work? Maybe take a walk or do a quick ab session. You don’t have time to make dinner? Maybe grab a healthy alternative from the grocery store hot bar or fast food restaurant. Find balance and make healthy choices when you can.
4| Hang around supportive people.
Yeah, you’ve heard it a thousand times, and you’re probably tired of it. But it’s been engrained in me, and I’ve seen the evidence of its truth: “You are who you hang around.” We have to be conscious about who we spend our time with - Need support? Actively pursue supportive friends. Need a laugh? Actively pursue funny friends. Spend time with people who are going to build your confidence not tear it down.
5| Struggling with negative self talk? Leave yourself kind letters in fun places.
Our thought life is one of the greatest battles we can conquer - Why? Because this is where the quality of your life is founded. And our thought life is directly correlated with our self-talk which has a tremendous impact on our self-esteem. Write yourself kind affirmations on post-it notes and tape them around your room, in your car, on your desk, wherever you can think of! It sounds cheesy, but it’s all about constantly reminding yourself of who you really are.
6| Make those mental-compliments (you know, the ones you think in your head) verbal compliments.
Do you think the girl at the register has beautiful hair? Well, what would happen if you actually told her? Do you like your friend’s outfit? Tell them! Why not take every opportunity to spread kindness and positivity? In the process of building someone else’s confidence, you actually build your own.
7| Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Teamwork makes the dream work!
When we are struggling in any area, it’s so important to ask for help. When we choose to be vulnerable, we actually give our friends an opportunity to intentionally be supportive. Maybe your friend can check in on you throughout the week to see how you are doing. Maybe they can send you an uplifting text message a couple times a week. Unless we choose to be bravely vulnerable, our friends don’t know how they can help.
8| Stop trying to be anyone but yourself. Cause you are pretty dang awesome.
Yeah, comparison. It’s a real struggle. We all know it isn’t beneficial, but we all know that it’s a real problem most women face. In the midst of trying to be someone else, we deny the world an honest experience with our truest self. And what a shame is that? We are each unique and unlike anyone else that’s walked this earth. So, we’ve got to actively pursue being our truest self because no-one else can accurately live that out.
9| From perfectionist, to perfectionist - You’ve got to embrace the imperfections!
LIFE IS IMPERFECT. The world is imperfect, our friends are imperfect, our parents are imperfect, our pets are imperfect… And we are imperfect. What would happen if we extended the same grace to ourselves as we do for the rest of the world? I think we would forgive ourself a heck of a lot more and in turn be a much happier person for it. No one is perfect, so don’t hold yourself to that standard!
10| Smile a heck of a lot more - Optimism is sometimes the best medicine.
I’m not saying that we’ve got to fake it. If we’re having a bad day, it’s totally okay to grab that bowl of ice cream (and by bowl, I mean tub) and binge on Netflix. But I am saying that 9 times out of 10, we need to choose optimism. Put a smile on that face and bravely conquer the day because life is too short to have a pity party every time life doesn’t go our way. Smile, laugh and be kind - it’s contagious!
Like anything, building our self-esteem is totally a journey.
But it’s the beginning to knowing who we are and living out our greatest purpose in life. We are going to fail, but more importantly, we are going to get back up and bravely try again. We are each valuable and totally worthy - now we have to walk in that identity.
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What’s one way you actively build your self-esteem? Comment below and share your advice with us!