You can improve your self esteem by using positive affirmations.
In this article, you will learn more about the practice of affirmations and the science behind it. You will also receive a list of positive affirmations for self esteem you can begin using right now. You’ll also learn what to do if you struggle with using certain affirmations right now which is entirely understandable.
Finally, you will be provided an opportunity to create your own positive affirmations which best resonate with you.
Positive Affirmations are a Simple and Smart Way to Increase Self-Esteem
Using positive affirmations is a wise way to work on increasing your sense of self. Saying affirmations to improve your perspective on yourself is a smart technique for a variety of reasons including:
- They’re completely free,
- You can personalize your affirmations,
- You are able to use them anywhere you go,
- There’s no barrier to entry – you can start this practice right now,
- Positive affirmations can be updated and evolved as your self-esteem improves,
- You can use this in any place by stating them in your mind,
- There are many free resources to support your use of positive affirmations such as this video, Reprogram Your Mind (While You Sleep) Self Love Affirmations and Reiki ASMR
How Positive Affirmations Improve Your Self Esteem
One powerful way positive affirmations improve self-esteem is how they shift your focus on where you get your value. For many people, for instance, prior to broadening their sense of self-worth their body and weight provide a consistent source of angst. If they’re body or weight is “good,” then they may feel confident. Yet, when they’re body or weight is “bad,” then feelings of insecurity may escalate.
If you’ve ever experienced this vicious trap of equating your worth to your body or weight, you know how painful and overwhelming it can be.
Fortunately, researchers found that positive affirmations helped teenage girls shift away from seeing their body and weight as a source of self-worth (or lack thereof). Affirming their other positive qualities helped them see themselves with more balance and feel better about their bodies as well.
Your Self-Esteem Influences the Choices You Make
The way you feel about yourself absolutely impacts the choices you make. For example, if you don’t feel “good enough,” you may neglect to self-care.
Related article: Is Self Care Important? 4 Reasons Why It Is
Or if you don’t feel “worthy” of a loving relationship, you may choose partners that hurt or reject you. (This is supported by social verification theory).
Fortunately, positive affirmations can interrupt this pattern effectively!
You Make Better Decisions by Using Positive Affirmations
Researchers discovered that self-affirmation truly activates powerful brain changes in the valuation network. This network when appropriately activated supports you in making choices that benefit you long-term. For instance, when you are feeling tired after work, this part of your brain can remind you that you want to feel good in the morning so you choose to eat a light meal and go to bed rather than snacking all night watching shows.
When you use positive affirmations, you are laying a positive foundation to make choices in your life that reflect you truly are a worthwhile person who deserves respect and care!
Your Self Esteem Impacts Your Relationships
Your relationship with yourself naturally impacts the relationships you have with others.
As Kristin Neff, author of Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself, points out a pattern of self-criticism negatively impacts those you love. It naturally follows that if you are judgmental of yourself, you naturally will judge those you love – even if you don’t want to. Furthermore, Neff reveals that highly self-critical people are less happy in their relationships because they assume their partner is judging them as harshly as they judge themselves.
Positive Affirmations Improve Your Relationships with Others
When a person with low self-esteem is in a relationship, they have a natural tendency to shut down and withdraw from the relationship when they fear their partner is upset with them. This is called “defensive distancing” and it makes sense when you notice they are probably believing their partner will be as harsh towards them as they are towards themselves!
Fortunately, positive affirmations can help with this. Researchers discovered positive affirmations reduced the tendency people with low self-esteem have to defensively distance. They had a more balanced view of themselves which helped them tolerate this discomfort in their relationship better. Of course, this positively impacts the relationship as you can only repair problems and improve your relationship when you show up and communicate together.
10 Positive Self-Esteem Affirmations
The best way to use positive affirmations for self-esteem is to find the ones that seem possible to believe and which resonate with your deepest values.
Here are 10 positive affirmations for self-esteem you can start to use right now:
- I love myself (or I’m learning to love myself),
- I’m a brave and courageous person,
- I am worthy,
- My intuition is wise and trustworthy,
- I trust myself,
- My authenticity is a gift in this world as there is no one exactly like me,
- I have the right to protect myself with healthy boundaries,
- I belong here,
- My life has a positive ripple effect, and
- I am capable (of healing, of learning to love myself, etc.)
How to Make Your Own Affirmations that Resonate with Your Deeply
You are free and welcome to use any affirmations you read here or elsewhere which resonate with you. Or you may prefer to create your own which deeply resonate with how you want to see yourself and feel.
A simple way to create a positive affirmation which resonates with you for your own self-love journey is to consider your authentic values. These are the things that truly matter to you instead of the things you’ve been told you “should” value. For example, maybe you value kindness instead of competition or sensitivity instead of grit.
When you identify a value, you can create a positive affirmation to live into the knowing this is who you really are. Some examples of values based affirmations are:
- I am strong,
- I am creative and passionate,
- I am confident,
- I am courageous,
- I have an intelligent and curious mind,
- I am wise,
- I have a loving, compassionate heart,
- I am always connected to my Higher Power (or God),
- I’m kind,
- I’m powerful,
- My sensitivity is a superpower,
- I’m breaking patterns of generational abuse and trauma,
- I have a special bond with animals,
- I am brave,
- I’m insightful,
- I am multi-dimensional and this is worth celebrating
Tips for Saying the Affirmations
While you can’t use positive affirmations in the wrong way, there are ways you can best support yourself with this practice.
Here are some helpful tips for using affirmations for your self-esteem:
- Commit to repeating one affirmation at a time that best resonates with you,
- Find a time at least once a day (2-3 is even better) to repeat this affirmation,
- Repeat the affirmation 10 times per round,
- Say the affirmation aloud while looking in the mirror (this helps you see yourself more clearly and takes advantage of how you probably already see others in your life through a loving lens), and
- Imagine what it will “feel” like in your life when you believe this affirmation completely (this future self visualization can help you picture this)
What to Do if You Struggle to Believe the Affirmation
If you find it difficult to positively affirm yourself, please know you’re not alone and there’s nothing wrong with you. It’s quite common before you love yourself fully to struggle to tell yourself kind things. That’s ok.
To show yourself kindness, it’s helpful to honor where you are and pick an affirmation that helps bridge what you want to believe with where you are now. For example, instead of “I am good enough,” you may affirm, “I’m learning that I’m good enough just by existing.”
I speak further about this bridge affirmation concept in my book, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle. In the next section, I’ll provide this excerpt.
Excerpt on Bridge Affirmations
Many of us are familiar with the concept of positive affirmation to replace negative self-talk, but I understand this process as a bridge. While our eventual goal may be to fully belief the statement, “I love myself,” we start incrementally. What’s a small way we can challenge our negative beliefs? To use myself as an example, in my early 20s I didn’t like myself. I felt invisible. The idea of claiming to love myself felt offensive, as I believed it was fundamentally untrue. I started with something more simple: “I exist.” I would stare in the mirror to reinforce this. From there, I was able to say, “I want to like myself” and “I’m working on loving myself.” Finally, after taking this measured and honest approach, I now can say “I love myself” with ease.The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle, p. 60
You Get to Grow into Fully Loving Yourself
As you use positive affirmations to improve your self-esteem, it’s helpful to honor where you are now. There is absolutely now shame in creating a bridge affirmation for yourself.
Then as you begin to believe your affirmation, you can update it to reflect your progress. For example, today you may say, “I want to be an authentic and confident person.” Then as you believe this is true, you can say “I’m learning to see the beauty in my authenticity and feel confident in it.” Later you may affirm, “My authenticity is powerful. I’m naturally confident because of it. I love myself.”
Related article: How to Like Yourself Better: 3 Practical Ways from a Therapist
Improving Self-Esteem is a Journey
Whatever you feel about yourself today, know that the most important thing is you are here learning to show yourself more love and respect!
This practice of using positive affirmations will improve your self-esteem over time. With commitment, and practice, you will one day wake up fully believing in your worth, lovability and value. You will feel this so profoundly you will feel compassionate uncertainty as to how you ever doubted your worth!
About The Author
Krystal Mazzola Wood, LMFT is a practicing relationship therapist with over a decade of experience. Currently, Krystal sees clients at her private practice, The Healthy Relationship Foundation. She has dedicated her entire career to empowering people to heal from unhealthy relationship processes. She does this by teaching the skills and tools necessary to have a life filled with healthy and loving relationships.
This passion led her to write her best-selling books and create courses. Her books, The Codependency Recovery Plan: A 5-Step Guide to Understand, Accept, and Break Free from the Codependent Cycle and The Codependency Workbook: Simple Practices for Developing and Maintaining Your Independence have helped many people heal.
Her third book, Therapy Within Reach: Setting Boundaries, will be released September, 2023.
If you have any personal dating or relationship questions, Krystal is happy to provide advice using her expertise and compassion. If you feel comfortable, feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post. Otherwise, you may send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on Instagram. Your name and any other identifying information will always be kept confidential.