How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Elizabeth 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 goals that I set. 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. Now that I’ve realized what has been holding me back, I’m not going to 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?

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


13 Responses to “How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Elizabeth Nord”

  1. rozwój i nauka…

    […]How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Elizabeth Nord « Plus-Size Models Unite[…]…

  2. viv, i know how you feel ever since i was a kid, my family would compare me to my sisters, who were super skinny, and i was chubbby. They would ridicule me for being bigger, for simply being myself. I hated myself then, and sometimes i struggle to accept who i am, still now. I just hope you know that your not alone, & that the most beautiful flower of all blooms in adversity. All the best viv 🙂 hang in there , and love who you are, because baby you were born this way 🙂

  3. […] Here is an article I wrote on How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Elizabeth Nord. I wrote this with the help of therapist and Licensed Mental Health Counselor, Patricia Born, […]

  4. Hi, I’m Viv.
    I work both with words and my body. Believe it or not, even
    if I’m a plus-size woman, companies hire me because of my
    I came home for Christmas and as my dad entered my sister’s
    house, he looked at me and simply said: “look at yourself.
    You’re so fat. You are a whale”.
    Here’s like a confident and witty young lady turns into a
    carpet, a lake of tears. 3 days passed by and still I cannot
    find the courage to put on some makeup. I feel the ugliest
    girl in the world and feel like the Grinch stole my freakin’
    Christmas. The worst side of this story is that he told me
    this in front of my nephew (who is 5 years old and considers
    me the most beautiful woman alive!) and we all know how kids
    love to repeat things. I live with the terror that he will
    say the same thing in one week or one month or one year.
    This is my defeat and everyone around me tries to minimize
    “He (my dad) says stupid things”, “He’s silly”, “He’s old
    and mad”… but I don’t care where the insult comes from. I
    need respect not because of my look but because I’m
    satisfied and happy with what I am. And I didn’t ask for a
    body evaluation.
    Why am I so sad? Because I feel alone and nobody knows how
    deeply and far goes a little silly word on Christmas. People
    look at me like I’m mad, but I know I’m not overreacting.

    Sorry for bothering you…


  5. Thank you for all of your wonderful comments! xx

  6. Liz –

    Thank you for sharing Patricia’s list. It is a list that could be read every morning, starting each day in a positive light.

  7. GREAT ideas, not only do they resonate with me, but I’m printing this article off and sharing it with my kids – especially my 12 year old daughter.

    Btw, great photo by your 5 yr old! My 5yr old is similar -steals my camera all the time, takes great shots that I don’t remember taking and then I finally figure it out because the shot is taken from such a low (short) perspective, lol.

  8. Mare Woggon Says:

    Good post, Bonnie.
    Living green and recycling really makes me feel GOOD about myself and others.

  9. Thanks for the fantastic insights!

  10. I love this so very well put! Thank you.

  11. […] How to Build Self-Esteem and Confidence by Elizabeth Nord « Plus … […]

  12. Good thoughts in your article, Liz! When my life began to unravel, sometimes my self-esteem unraveled as well. It helped to detach and observe. That perspective allowed me to realize so much of lack of self-esteem was due to the dysfunctions in our society. Such as our heavy emphasis on consumerism. Our society’s loss of “the village”. The lack of being connected to the natural world. So I would gravitate towards spending time outside, connecting with friends, and taking joy in “green” shopping – reduce/re-use/recycle. And my own self-worth was restored stronger than ever.

  13. Liz – you are such a talented writer, I love how your voice and personality come out in your writing. Patricia’s guide to better self-esteem is so insightful, I kept finding myself saying “oh, yah, that ones me” to several of them. I plan on printing this list out and keeping it close to remind me of the things I need to work on 🙂
    Thank you!

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