The ABC’s Of Positive Self Esteem

Photo of author
Written By Muhammad Saad

I'm a psychologist dedicated to evidence-based research in psychology, covering diverse aspects of the field.

Get ready to boost your self-esteem with the ABC’s of positive vibes. We’re breakin’ it down in simple language so you can level up your confidence game. No fancy stuff here—just easy tips to help you feel awesome about yourself! 🌟🚀

Self-esteem is so important for our well-being and happiness. but why? It’s how much we value ourselves and believe in our own worth. I think its important for everyone. Developing positive self-esteem takes time and conscious effort. Let’s i break it down into simple steps following the “ABC’s”:

A – Accept yourself 

The first step to positive self-esteem is accepting yourself fully for who you are. As psychologist Carl Rogers writes in On Becoming a Person, we must offer ourselves “unconditional positive regard” (1961). Rather than judging ourselves harshly, we should appreciate both our strengths and weaknesses with compassion. Self-help author Wayne Dyer also stresses self-acceptance in Your Erroneous Zones, saying we inhibit our potential when refusing to accept who we are (1976). Learning to value yourself just as you are, flaws and all, builds the foundation for healthy self-esteem.

B – Believe in your abilities

Once accepting yourself, focus on believing in your abilities instead of doubting yourself. As Stanford psychologist Carol Dweck explains in Mindset, having a “growth mindset” where we believe our talents can be developed leads to greater achievement than a “fixed mindset” of thinking abilities are inborn (2006). Rather than saying “I can’t do this”, challenge negative self-talk by focusing on your past successes and believing in continued improvement. With effort, you have the power to accomplish more than you realize. 

C – Celebrate your strengths  

Take time each evening to jot down three things you did well or are grateful for about yourself. By regularly focusing on and appreciating your talents, skills, personality and contributions, you boost your sense of self-worth tremendously over time.

D – Develop your interests 

When immersed in a hobby we enjoy, we access an optimal state of focus and fulfillment. Developing interests also gives us a sense of competence and purpose, building self-esteem. Even simple pleasures like listening to music, gardening or learning a skill can lift our mood and confidence.  

E – Express gratitude 

Research by Robert Emmons finds those who regularly practice gratitude by writing thank you notes see major mental health benefits including higher self-esteem (2007). Taking just a few minutes each evening to express appreciation for what we have, rather than always wanting more, shifts our mindset. It helps us feel positively about ourselves by counting our blessings rather than dwelling on what’s lacking.

F – Forgive yourself  

We must learn compassionate self-forgiveness for our inevitable mistakes, as advocated by Harriet Lerner in her book The Dance of Anger (1985). Beating ourselves up when we fall short serves no purpose other than harming our self-worth. Instead, acknowledge imperfections gently then let them go to move forward in a healthy manner. Self-acceptance includes not persisting in self-criticism and punishment.

G – Give yourself affirmations  

Speaking positively and encouragingly to ourselves each day through self-affirmations, as described by Louise Hay in You Can Heal Your Life, can reprogram our inner dialogue over time (1984). If we’re used to criticizing, replace negative thoughts with short, simple positive statements about our character and value. Soon this uplifting self-talk will start to feel more natural and true. 

H – Handle setbacks with resilience

Developing resilience in the face of setbacks, as studied by George Vaillant in Adaptation to Life, protects our self-esteem from being too dependent on external factors and success (1977). We all experience disappointments at times through no fault of our own. Work on accepting difficulties with equanimity rather than seeing them as a reflection of our worth, which builds inner strength and confidence.

I – Identify your values  

Clarifying our core values, as discussed by Viktor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning, orients us to life goals that are most meaningful (1959). Living aligned with our priorities enhances self-worth. Take time for self-reflection to define your guiding principles so you feel confident and driven in your choices. 

J – Journal your progress

Keeping a private journal to periodically log progress boosts self-esteem, according to research by James Pennebaker (1997). Note improvements in skills or relationships you’ve worked hard to achieve. Reviewing accomplishments reminds us of how far we’ve come and how capable we truly are.

K – Keep an “attitude of gratitude” 

Studies show people who more regularly experience gratitude are happier and have higher well-being, as highlighted in The How of Happiness by Sonja Lyubomirsky (2007). Going out of our way to express thanks not only benefits others, it lifts our mood and makes us feel positively about ourselves. 

L – Love yourself unconditionally

We must meet our deepest need to feel loved and accepted, as discussed by psychologists like Carl Rogers and Abraham Maslow. Self-compassion, shown through gentle, supportive self-talk and forgiveness, fulfills this crucial psychological requirement for well-being and confidence in who we are.

M – Motivate yourself intrinsically 

Focusing more on internal motivations makes us feel empowered and in control of our lives, according to research discussed in Drive by Daniel Pink (2009). Rather than relying on praise or rewards, find purpose and meaning that inspires you from within to stay determined.

N – Nurture your relationships

Positive social bonds and feeling supported boosts self-esteem significantly, as seen in studies by John Cacioppo (2002). Make time for those close to you and be there for others – we all need healthy relationships to feel grounded and valued as individuals. 

O – Own your power and potential

Believe in your ability to grow and change. As Frankl wrote, we find meaning through how we choose to respond to challenging situations, not by just reacting to conditions (1959). With effort and determination, you have power over your life direction and can achieve goals that may now seem far out of reach.

P – Practice self-care daily 

Taking good care of yourself through adequate sleep, nutrition, exercise and downtime as discussed in The Self-Care Solution by Nadia Narain improves how you feel mentally and physically (2018). Self-neglect harms self-esteem, while daily acts of self-care send the important message that you’re worth investing in.

Q – Question unhelpful thoughts

Learn cognitive-behavioral techniques to identify and reframe overly critical internal dialogues highlighted in Feeling Good by David Burns (1980). Not all thoughts are facts – question assumptions and replace distortions with realistic, compassionate self-talk. This changes harmful mindsets that undermine confidence.  

R – Risk trying new things  

Pushing our boundaries stretches our sense of what’s possible, as seen in research on flow states by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (1990). Stepping out of our comfort zone and trying activities we normally avoid exercising unused skills and shows our courage. This fuels greater self-belief.

S – Surround yourself with supporters  

Spend time with people who appreciate you for who you are rather than wanting you to be different, as advocated by Brené Brown in The Gifts of Imperfection (2010). Toxic relationships damage self-worth, while real friends lift us up during tough times and remind us of our best qualities. 

T – Track lifestyle changes 

Monitoring improvements over time, as discussed in The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg (2012), keeps us accountable and motivated on our self-esteem journey. Note enhanced confidence in situations where you would have previously doubted yourself to mark development.  

U – Understand your worth 

Despite flaws or insecurities, recognize your intrinsic value as a unique individual deserving of love and respect, as taught by authors like Louise Hay. This shift in perspective has profound effects on how you perceive and treat yourself long-term.

V – Value the present moment

Rather than worrying about past regrets or future what-ifs, focus on fully experiencing each day as it unfolds, as advocated by Eckhart Tolle in The Power of Now (1999). Appreciating life just as it is, without conditions, cultivates peace and gratitude – pillars of strong self-esteem.

X – eXpress gratitude daily 

Research shows those who practice daily gratitude have higher levels of well-being and life satisfaction over time. Take a moment each evening to write down or say aloud 3-5 things you’re grateful for from that day. This simple habit lifts your mood and makes you feel positively about your experiences.

Y – ou are enough

Remember that you, as a human being, have inherent worth simply due to your existence. You don’t need to achieve or obtain anything external to be deserving of love and respect. When you understand this at a core level, it allows you to fully accept yourself as complete.

Z – ero in on who you are 

Take periodic time for self-reflection to clarify your values, interests, strengths and goals. Understanding your authentic self better helps you feel confident in who you are rather than living to please others or meet uncertain expectations. You can then choose how to spend your energy in a purposeful manner aligned with your true self.

Leave a Comment