How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Liz Nord

Photographed by my five-year-old daughter, Olivia.

I’ve been thinking about self-esteem and confidence lately. Over all, I am a confident person. I feel confident about my capabilities and my ability to succeed at reaching my goals. I think I’m intelligent, loving, strong, brave, adventurous, fun, athletic, organized, a good writer, a great mom, and I am competent in many other areas. But, sometimes I let fear of failure hold me back from setting new goals or moving forward. I think it’s a lingering self-esteem issue from my childhood. At times, I forget my own self-worth and I start doubting myself. Now that I’ve realized what has been holding me back, I’m going to work hard to not let that happen anymore. 

I want to set a good example for my daughters. I want them to be confident, love themselves, and feel a strong sense of self-worth. Most importantly, I want to be the best and happiest that I can be, for me. I think we all do. Now that I have decided to consciously set that goal, I know that I will reach it.

Many women struggle with self-esteem or confidence issues so I asked therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Patricia Born, MS, to share a list of things women can do to build self-esteem and confidence. The below list was created by Patricia. The list is not verbatim because we were having a discussion and direct quotes would take away from the essence of our conversation. Here is the list:

  • Deal with any baggage or demons from your past that influences your future happiness. You may need a mentor or therapist to work through the muck.
  • Nurturing is a wonderful thing, but not if you are nurturing or doing something for someone so that they will like you. We cannot get our value from what other people think of us. We must value ourselves for who we are without the need for outside approval.
  • Always treat yourself with respect.
  • Meet your basic needs. This may seem obvious, but sometimes it’s not, and we all need to be reminded to take care of ourselves. I see that more clearly now looking back at the early days and sleepless nights of raising my daughters.
  • Allow yourself to express yourself in the ways that you are gifted. Give yourself permission to write, draw, sing, work, run, dance, create, or do whatever helps you express your gifts whether or not someone else finds them valuable.
  • Tend to your spiritual development and expression.
  • Always talk positive to yourself. You can analyze yourself in a healthy way without critiquing or being negative, judgmental, and condemning.
  • Figure out what your basic values are so that you can try to live your life consistent with that.
  • Be humble. When we talked about what the definition of humble means to us, it was not the textbook version. It was doing things not because you are trying to earn accolades or praise, but doing something just because that is simply what you want to do. It’s being yourself without needing approval or acclaim from others.
  • Have a voice and believe in it.
  • Remember that how you feel is always valid. Trust yourself and your feelings.
  • Love yourself for who you are right now! We are all a work in progress.

There is so much more to say on this topic, but this is a good start. This is a great list to print out or share with your friends. What would you add to the list? What do you think it takes to have healthy self-esteem and confidence? When you are feeling less than, how do you pick yourself up? How do you help your children develop healthy self-esteem and confidence?

*Thank you for your insightful words of wisdom, Patricia!

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10 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Liz Nord (via Secrets of Moms Who Dare To Tell All) « Letter2Self
  2. Ryan McConnell
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 08:07:13

    All of these are so very true! I think I doubt myself much less than many other people I know and I wish we could all come together and really make an effort to remember that we are all amazing women!


    • Liz
      Feb 01, 2011 @ 15:52:39

      I completely agree that people should come together to lift each other up! I hope this blog will be a place where people will do that. Thanks for your comment. =)


  3. whathappensafter5
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 10:16:57

    Very well said.

    Thanks for stopping by my blog – hope you’ll come back soon!


  4. Coach Karen
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 11:50:04

    Thank you, Liz! We all have our moments are self-doubt. It’s how we move through these moments that count.

    My bought with self-esteem and confidence came when I realized (after more than 16 years at the same job) that I was ready to become a life coach. Could I really do this on my own? Could I leave a company I’ve been a part of for 16 years? Would people really pay to listen to how I could help them? Could I really help people?

    To add to your list, here were a few things that helped me get through these moments of self-doubt:
    * Support Group: I was part of a group of women going through similar life-changing shifts. We were (and still are) able to support and guide each other.
    * Kudos: Over the last 20 years, I’ve check a file of letters and cards, and an electronic file of emails of appreciation and kudos. I relied back on these files when I looked for testimonials and recommendations for my web site. The biggest impact was just reminding myself of my worth through other’s eyes.
    * Focusing: “Focus on what you DO want to do, NOT on what you DON’T want to do.” I came across a version of this phrase in a book I was reading the night before I finally decided to resign from my previous job. I also use it with my clients. It’s a matter of shifting perspective. Where do I choose to focus my energy and attention?

    Thanks again for the list, Liz! It’s a great reminder for all of us!


  5. 1 Funky Woman
    Feb 01, 2011 @ 13:30:14

    I think for me it is something that can come and go. I feel like I am confident with who I am and my beliefs. I doubt myself when if comes to being a good mother though probably because my daughter is having a tough time reading. She is 6 and the expectations are hard. I know she will get it and I am doing what I can for her. I will never be that soccer mom or head of the pta, actually I don’t want to be. Society is hard and the standards are quite high. I just want my daughter and son to like who they are and believe in themselves. That is what we should all try to do!



    • Liz
      Feb 01, 2011 @ 16:05:51

      Hi Megan,

      I remember while on vacation, when my oldest daughter wasn’t reading yet, another mom telling me that her “four-year old was reading and that was so easy to teach her”. It really bothered me at the time because I felt like I must be doing something wrong or not pushing my daughter hard enough. I quickly got over it and realized that kids all have different temperaments, styles of learning, and pace at which they learn—and that is okay! Once I took pressure off my daughter and myself, I felt much better. And, of course, she did learn to read and in fact, is a great avid reader now!

      Also, I think it’s great that you know what you do and don’t want to be and that you are being your authentic self. Way to blaze your own trail!


  6. Franck
    Oct 18, 2011 @ 00:39:02

    This post is fantastic !


  7. Self Esteem master
    Nov 25, 2011 @ 09:29:35

    this post is awesome and tbh the woman in the pic is kinda cute .


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