Promoting self-esteem requires an individual to investigate what is causing the reduction in feelings of self-worth. Most people do not come into life with low self-esteem, which means that promoting self-esteem involves counteracting the negative influences in a person's life. For some people, promoting self-esteem may simply require reordering thought processes, but for others the problem may be deeper and might include major life changes. It is important to note, however, that certain individuals who suffer from depression or other serious disorders may require medication in order to regain self-esteem.
One of the easiest ways to improve self-esteem is to reorder one's thoughts and focus on successes rather than failures. This is not always easy or straightforward, as a person with low self-esteem is often not able to see his or her positive traits. For this reason, promoting self-esteem is often much easier in group settings or among friends. Having friends point out positive qualities about an individual can greatly lift that person's self-esteem, but it is up to the individual to continue to focus on these positive traits.
Many groups suggest specific exercises that are thought to be helpful when promoting self-esteem in an individual setting. Writing down positive traits, taking time for one's self, and listening to self-help tapes are all good ways to improve self-esteem. These exercises, however, are only guidelines and will not be effective for all people. A good strategy when looking for specific exercises is to try a broad variety of activities from a number of different schools of thought, allowing maximum exposure to the many ways in which self-esteem can be improved. A person never knows which discipline will be the most successful, and the only way to find out is to be adventurous and try new things.
The idea of promoting self-esteem is in some ways quite flawed, because people who have low self-esteem are typically suffering from that problem for a specific reason. People who are dissatisfied in some way often suffer from this problem, and no exercise will ever overcome their basic life situation. For this reason, therapy and counseling can be very important when trying to promote self-esteem. Getting to the root of the problem can result in long-term healing.
Parents often wish to promote a child's self-esteem, which is a very different process than improving their own perceptions of self-worth. When working with children, praise is typically less important than teaching the skills required to maintain positive self-evaluation independently. Getting the child involved in activities about which he or she can be proud is a great way to improve self-esteem. Listening and being a good role model for the child is also important, though each parent must decide what strategy to use depending on the child's personality.