Confidence is something that every man desires, yet few possess. If you’re short on self-esteem, now would be a good time to make an investment in yourself. The question is, which areas do you focus on in order to get the best possible return on your time and energy?
What is Self-Esteem and Why Does it Matter?
Self-esteem isn’t a term most men focus much energy on. It’s not something you sit around and discuss while watching football and drinking beer with your buddies. However, that doesn’t make it any less important. Because while it might fly under the radar, it’s something that impacts each of our lives.
In the field of psychology, self-esteem is a term used to describe an individual’s overall subjective sense of personal value or worth. It has very little to do with others. Instead, it’s all about how much you value and appreciate yourself.
While your level of self-esteem isn’t controlled by anyone or anything else, it is influenced by a number of factors. This may include any or all of the following:
- Self-confidence in your perceived talents and skills
- Feelings of security
- Personal identity
- Sense of belonging within your peer group
- Feelings of competence
Self-esteem is dynamic and constantly evolving. It’s not something that is set in stone at adolescence. It raises and lowers like the tide – up and down in relation to your emotions, feelings, and – most importantly – your interpretation of these emotions and feelings.
As Kendra Cherry writes for Very Well Mind, “Self-esteem tends to be lowest in childhood and increases during adolescence, as well as adulthood, eventually reaching a fairly stable and enduring level. This makes self-esteem similar to the stability of personality traits over time.”
Self-esteem is important for a number of reasons. The sooner you understand the role it plays in your overall health, the faster you can set yourself up for success. Here are a few specific reasons why self-esteem matters so much
- Self-esteem impacts your decision making. When you have high self-esteem, you possess the confidence needed to make challenging decisions. When you have low self-esteem, you’re more likely to retreat from these choices and miss out on potential benefits. (This is usually done as a protective measure, but typically causes more harm than good. For example, it could prevent you from applying for a job that would be really good for your career.)
- Self-esteem has a direct influence on your relationships. This includes both platonic and romantic relationships. When you have a high degree of self-esteem, you’re able to be yourself. This genuine approach to social interactions allows you to form relationships with people who care about you. When self-esteem is low, you’re much more likely to compromise and be someone you’re not. You’re also less likely to interact with people you don’t know, which hurts your ability to form new connections.
- Self-esteem impacts your happiness, confidence, and overall level of contentment with your life. As your self-esteem fluctuates, so does your satisfaction with your life. By maintaining high self-esteem, you can live a much more meaningful life.
If you’re feeling uncertain of your abilities, have a difficult time making decisions, and lack the motivation to try new things, you may be experiencing low self-esteem.
If you frequently over-estimate your skills, feel entitled to success, and view yourself on a pedestal, you might have excessively high self-esteem.
When self-esteem is viewed on a continuum, the goal is to land somewhere in the middle (or slightly on the higher side. But whatever you do, moving away from the lower portion of the spectrum is the goal.
4 Ways to Boost Your Self-Esteem as a Man
As a man, there are several ways you can boost your self-esteem and enjoy the benefits of being happier and more settled in your identity. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Take Care of Yourself
People who lack self-esteem often fail to take care of themselves. And when people fail to take care of themselves, self-esteem slips even lower. This gives way to an endless cycle that becomes increasingly difficult to escape.
If you want to increase or maintain a healthy level of self-esteem, begin by taking care of yourself. This means:
- Exercise daily. At least 30 minutes of physical activity – including running, lifting weights, yoga, or playing competitive sports – helps you stay in shape. It also helps release endorphins into the bloodstream, which makes you feel good.
- For millions of men, hair loss and balding lead to negative self-esteem. Address your thinning scalp with low level laser therapy (LLLT) and begin regrowing hair in a matter of weeks. You can learn more about how LLLT works here.
- Eat healthier (by eliminating processed foods), stay hydrated, and get at least seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
Sometimes small steps make the biggest difference. Pay attention to your physical needs and your mental health will usually follow.
2. Start Your Day Off Right
A good morning routine can set you up for a successful day. Try starting your day off with a gratitude journal. Spend 10 minutes and write down all of the things you’re thankful for in your life. Doing so will put you in the right frame of mind.
It’s almost impossible to have low self-esteem when you’re rooted in gratitude for all of the blessings in your life.
3. Spend Time With the Right People
People with low self-esteem typically fall into one of two social categories:
They self-isolate and refuse to spend time with other people; or
They spend time with people who are toxic and who speak down to them.
If you want to increase your self-esteem, you must avoid isolating and/or spending time with people who suppress you. Instead, find a social group of people who are kind and uplifting. Their confidence will rub off on you.
4. Do Things That Scare You
The final tip is to do things that scare you. While easier said than done, learning how to regularly do things that intimidate you will give you a greater sense of confidence on the back end. For example:
If skydiving scares you to your core, have a friend sign the two of you up for skydiving lessons.
If you’re deathly afraid of spiders, visit a nature center where they let you hold a tarantula.
If you hate mushrooms, order a mushroom burger next time you see one on the menu.
When you do something that scares you, it forces you out of your comfort zone. But even more than that, you end up realizing that the “thing” that scares you isn’t that scary at all. It doesn’t kill you and – in some cases – actually ends up being fun or rewarding. This flips your mindset from avoiding new things to embracing them, which gives you a much healthier level of self-confidence.
Set Yourself Up for Success
Boosting self-esteem isn’t the uphill battle that you might think it is. Sometimes all you need to do is adjust a few key areas of your life and you’ll start to see some fruit. As your self-esteem improves, you’ll see a positive impact in other areas of your life – including your career, relationships, and overall satisfaction.
All it takes is a small improvement and you can reap significant gains.