Building self-esteem for young adults: a journey to self-discovery

Navigating the ups and downs of being a young adult can be tough, and it's totally normal to feel like your self-esteem could use a boost. Between societal pressures and family expectations, it's easy to feel like you're not measuring up.

But here's the thing: you're not alone, and you can absolutely improve your self-esteem with the right tools. In this blog post, we'll share some practical tips to help you build your self-confidence as you figure out who you are and what you want out of life.

Understanding self-esteem

It’s important to understand what self-esteem is and how it affects your mental health. Self-esteem shapes your beliefs about yourself, your abilities, and your worthiness. It influences how you perceive and interact with the world around you, shaping your decisions, relationships, and overall well-being.

Boosting your self-esteem not only enhances your confidence and motivation but also enriches your relationships.

Embrace self-discovery

Building self-esteem begins with self-exploration. As you move into adulthood, it’s important to explore your interests, passions, and values. Once you have a better understanding of who you are, it becomes easier to build your confidence and self-esteem.

But self-confidence is something that can’t be taught. Confidence comes when you allow yourself to take risks and do things you thought you couldn’t. Take time to think about your strengths, accomplishments, and growth thus far- you've probably come farther than you think. It may sound cheesy to say, but embracing your uniqueness and progress helps lay the foundation for a strong sense of self-esteem.

Practice positive self-talk and affirmations

Putting yourself down with negative self-talk has a significant impact on your mental health. We all have moments when our inner critic can get the best of us, but it’s important to recognize when that happens and challenge those thoughts and ideas. Next time you’re experiencing negative self-talk, try replacing it with positive affirmations and compassionate self-talk. Instead of saying, “I can’t do this, it’s too hard” try telling yourself, “This is tough, but I’m trying my best, and I can do it.” Being your own coach can motivate you to try new things, and you’ll often find yourself with a new sense of confidence after doing something you thought you couldn’t.

When faced with negative self-talk, shift your perspective and speak to yourself as you would to a dear friend or cherished family member. Extend the same empathy and kindness to yourself that you would naturally offer to a loved one.

Be mindful of social media

Social media plays a huge role in the lives of young adults. While social media isn’t inherently bad, it’s important to be mindful of how it affects your mental health. People post their best moments online, and it can be easy to compare yourself to others. It’s important to remember that a lot of what you’re seeing isn’t the whole picture. Your peers and the influencers you follow don’t have this picture-perfect life all the time- there are moments where they probably struggle just like you. If you’re noticing that social media is affecting how you feel about yourself, take a closer look at who you follow. Keep the accounts that make you feel positive and unfollow the ones that cause feelings of self-doubt.

Set boundaries

As you chart your own course in life, it's essential to establish boundaries that protect your well-being and prioritize your needs, even when facing external pressures. It's common to feel pressured to meet family expectations or conform to peer norms as you transition into adulthood. But your future is as you write it- you're in control and can change the story whenever you want. If someone is making you feel bad about the things you want, it may be time to set a boundary. Boundaries are there to protect you, so take some time to think about what you need and what’s important for your well-being.

One of the challenges people often find with placing boundaries is when the other person doesn’t respect the statement, and disregards what you’ve requested. Next time someone oversteps a boundary, try saying, “I hear what you’re saying, but this is how it affects me. Here’s what I’m going to ask, and if this continues, I’ll need to reinforce the boundary.” Sometimes that might mean walking away from the conversation, taking time for ourselves, or changing the conversation's focus. It’s important to remember that their response to your boundary is about them, not you. You can’t control how other people are going to act, but if you give in and let the boundary go, nothing will change.

As you continue to navigate adulthood, remember to show yourself kindness and compassion. There might be moments where you don’t get it right on the first try, and that’s okay- that's supposed to happen when you’re learning and growing! While this can be a challenging time, try to have fun and embrace the process. One day you’ll look back on this time and be proud of how far you’ve come. If you’re struggling with adulthood and self-esteem, we’re here to support you. Counselling can help you explore these topics further and give you the tools you need to live life confidently. Reach out to us today.

Information for this blog was provided by registered social worker, Anna Hemens. Learn more about our counsellors.

adminyoung adult, self esteem