5 Gentle Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem by Being Kind to Yourself

Are you kind to yourself?

  • When you’re sad, do you give yourself the mental equivalent of a hug - or do you tell yourself to buck up and get on with it?
  • When you’re tired, do you give yourself a break and have a lie-in at the weekend - or do you keep pushing yourself to do more until you’re exhausted?
  • When you make a mistake, do you make yourself a hot chocolate and put it into perspective - or do you critique all the other things you’ve done wrong that week?

In today’s uber-productive world, we’re under constant pressure to fit more in, get more done, make more happen.

And when we don’t, or can’t? We’re down on ourselves, and our self-esteem suffers.

Message from Guided Mind: Use our Self-Esteem meditation to significantly increase your self esteem.

You can’t do everything. Sometimes you need to give yourself a break and show yourself a little love.

Here’s how to be gentle to yourself and to increase self esteem.

1. Set Healthy Boundaries.

If you’re always saying yes to other people’s requests, you can feel like you never have any time for yourself.

But every yes is a no to something else - including your own needs.

If you’re someone who usually put others’ needs before your own, then for today, when someone asks you to do something for them, try out this short phrase to give yourself a bit of space: “Can I get back to you?

It’s more a holding technique than a direct no, but it will give you time to think of an appropriate reply, and to really consider whether their request is something you want to accommodate.

2. Let Go of Perfect.

That critical voice in your head’s a nag. Always telling you what you’ve done wrong, that you’re not meeting appropriate standards, that you could and should do more.

But perfection’s a myth. And not one of the good ones with rainbows and unicorns, but one with monsters like anxiety, stress and disappointment playing a key role


Mistakes are part of being human - everyone makes them. Really. Everyone.

Ease yourself into this one gently. Embrace the fact that it’s not only OK to be imperfect, but it actually makes you more likeable. More human. Watch Brene Brown’s talk on vulnerability to explore this further.

3. Pay the Negative Thoughts a Little Mindful Attention.

Mindfulness is about paying attention to the present moment. It might seem like odd advice to pay attention to whatever horrible things you’re thinking about yourself, but there’s a trick to it.

Just acknowledge the thought by saying “I’m having the thought that…” Paying attention doesn’t mean buying into the thought, or believing it’s true.

Putting a little bit of distance between you and the thought, and acknowledging that you are not your thoughts, is a powerful way of reminding yourself that you are not your thoughts.

4. Know Yourself.

In order to treat yourself kindly, you need to know what it is that makes you feel warm inside.

  1. What brings you joy, or makes you laugh? The deeper you understand yourself, the easier it becomes to meet those needs yourself.
  2. Write a list of as many things as you can that make you feel loved and nurtured. Think about the physical, the emotional, the mental and the spiritual. Cover as wide a range of activities as possible.
  3. Put them into action a little at a time. Use your list as a guide, and pick off one thing each day, even if it’s just for five minutes, to show yourself a little love.

5. Use Your Behaviour to Show Yourself a Little Love.

Our thoughts, emotions and behaviour are intimately connected. One influences the other. When we’re sad, our body hunches, our face falls, and we might cry.

But our behaviour can also influence our thought and emotions.

One unusual way that you can use your behaviour to change how you feel is through your internal self-soothing system, which you can activate by gentle and loving touch. You could stroke your own arm, or wrap your arms around yourself in a hug. It sounds strange - but it works!

Also read: 7 More Ways to Increase Your Esteem.

Being Kind to Yourself Will Improve Your Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem.

Many people have the belief that self-care, or self-compassion, is somehow selfish. That we don’t deserve to spend time on our own needs.

And their subconscious takes it on board, and their self-esteem and self-confidence suffers.

But this belief isn’t true.

As they say on airplanes, you have to put on your own oxygen mask first.

Being kind to others is a wonderful thing - but if you burn out, you’ll be no good to anyone.

Instead, show yourself a little love, and reap the benefits of knowing you’re as worthy as anyone else in this world.

Ellen Bard’s mission is to help you shine more brightly in business and life. She has a fancy degree, works with those who are too tough on themselves, and loves all things that sparkle. In her spare time she writes fun paranormal romance with magic based on the chakras.

For a free cheat sheet on being kind to yourself, click over to EllenBard.com.