Self-esteem derives from one’s self-image, social support, personal achievements, and
challenges that have been faced and overcome in life. In psychology, the term self-esteem is used
to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. Your self-esteem can
fluctuate throughout the day and can change in certain contexts and situations. For example, you
may have higher self-esteem at work, perhaps because you’re good at what you do, or maybe
because feedback feels less personal in a professional setting.
A person with low self-esteem may be more vulnerable to emotional insecurities while a person
with higher self-esteem can bounce back more quickly from adverse life experiences. While we
understand having high self-esteem benefits a person’s overall wellbeing, it is no easy task. How
can you build your self-esteem in order to overcome insecurities?
Accept compliments: One way to boost self-esteem is to learn how to accept compliments. When
you feel bad about yourself, it is easy to negate any positive impressions that someone has about
you. Compliments may feel uncomfortable, but try to tolerate them rather than denying them,
even if you initially disagree.
Consider what you are good at: You may find it easy to compare yourself to others and their
strengths, but we all have different talents and interests. What are you good at? If you enjoy
painting, consider sharing your talent with friends by gifting them a work of art. If you play an
instrument, share your knowledge and teach a friend. Find opportunities to celebrate and develop
Practice positive affirmations: Another effective way is to practice positive affirmations
regularly. Positive affirmations such as “I will be very successful” are encouraging but may be
contrary to your beliefs. Try phrases such as “I am going to keep trying until I succeed.”
Consider using this art therapy directive to practice positive affirmation skills. Reflect, draw or
write a few affirmations that you will consider to be true. Examples include:
I am a good listener.
I am unique. There is no one like me.
I will make today a better day than yesterday.
I am in control of my own choices.
I am open to learning.
I can do better next time. I can try again.
Ask yourself: how does it feel to create these affirmations? What are your strengths? How does it
feel when others give you compliments? Put these affirmations into a container that you can
open or close as needed, such as an envelope, metal tin, jewelry box, etc. Try to read one aloud
each day. It may feel silly at first and it may take some time, but these can become second nature
when implemented into your daily routine.
Wrote by: Erica Savello
Creative Arts Therapy Intern