Acknowledge your awesomeness. I had to combat those negative voices with positive talk from myself – basically, I had to learn to say nice things about myself to myself. I realized that even though there were areas in which I could improve, that didn’t make me a bad person. I was a great person and I had to tell myself that every day. For example, the biggest challenge area that affected my self-esteem was definitely body image. So instead of speaking negatively about my body, I forced myself to say five nice things about my body. This was really hard at first. But, by forcing myself to do it daily, I started to see myself in a more positive light.
One formula for optimistic thinking is to set achievable goals. If you are anything like me, your goals are always grandiose. I never wanted to lose five pounds in a month, I always wanted to lose 20 pounds or so a month, which was unrealistic. Then I would fail and feel bad about myself, which impacted my self-esteem. Through therapy, I learned to set more modest goals that were achievable, and learned to establish realistic time frames. When I hit these modest goals, I celebrated each success and gained confidence and trust in myself. This process can work for you too.
You are perfectly you now. I bet if I asked you to tell me five of your weaknesses, you would rattle them off to me with no problem, but if I asked for five of your strengths you would probably have to think about them. It is absolutely crucial to know your strengths and write them down. I know when I first heard this I felt like writing my strengths would make me seem arrogant, but it doesn’t. If you can’t articulate your strengths, how will anyone else see them?