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Low self-esteem is a problem that affects most, if not all, of us. It’s common to feel insecure about something. Whether it be your appearance, social skills, or professional success, it will happen to all of us at one point in our lives. A big problem with insecurity and low self-esteem is that it can become a vicious cycle of making yourself feel worse and worse about who you are. In turn, when people give you critique or make mean comments, it feels a lot more like a personal attack. I’ve been working lately on bettering my self-esteem and trying to find my worth both as a person and as a professional. Here are some things I’ve been doing and thinking about that have helped.


  1. Talk back

As kids we are taught that talking back is rude and disrespectful, which in certain cases is definitely true. However, I think it’s important to learn how to talk back to people in the right way so you don’t get taken advantage of (especially in relationships and professional contexts). If a person you know is disrespecting you in any way, call them out. This will both validate your emotions (even if it’s just for you) and reveal where their priorities lie, depending on their reaction . We often don’t do this enough and this leads to us justifying other people’s aggressions.


2. Take the time to make yourself feel pretty for you

Personally, my physical appearance and how its perceived by others is a big factor in how my self esteem is doing (which definitely makes me feel less than at times, and is something I’m working through). However, I think this applies to a vast majority of people. Taking the time to dress up how I want or make my skin look detoxed and glowey when I’m feeling down gives me the confidence to do other things, like speak up in class or continue being productive.


3. Surround yourself with people who build you up

This is a tricky one, because especially for someone who doesn’t know their full worth yet, it’s easy to get used to toxic friends or people who bring you down. It’s important to know that there are people out there who will live to see you thrive, help you do it, comment on your insta selfies and hype you up in the process. If you aren’t feeling this, take your time and evaluate if your social circle is making you feel more or less secure.


4. Curate your social media

As somebody who inhabits a not-skinny body, it does make me feel insecure when my feed is constantly models who have defined abs and no rolls. I’ve noticed that since I unfollowed these models (all praise to them), I’ve felt a lot better about myself. Not only that- following curvy and plus size models has changed my perception of beauty slowly.


5. Hype up other people!

Feeling insecure can manifest itself in projecting those feelings and fears onto other people in a negative way. I realized I was doing this not necessarily because I felt jealous, but because I was forcing myself to hang out with people I didn’t really like being around. Forcing myself to stay by them and then allowing this to turn into negative comments really decreased my self esteem because I felt like a mean person. But frankly, it’s not mean to just not get along with someone as long as you don’t bring them down. Again, surrounding yourself with people who you genuinely like and who make your life better will bring up your self esteem.


Writer, student of Visual and Critical Studies, artist in various mediums. Representing (and missing) Ecuador from Chicago. Believes in feminism, social activism and taking care of our planet.
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