There’s no denying that the pandemic has caused a shift in so many people’s psyches. Relatively well-adjusted people found themselves dealing with massive changes in their lives. However, for people who were already struggling before the COVID-19 crisis hit, dealing with this new, abnormal challenge is the cherry on top of what was already a difficult life.
Now more than ever, we need to learn to love ourselves, believe in our capacity to beat the odds and find a sense of safety and affirmation in who we are if we want to thrive and not just survive. Here are some scientifically proven and expert-backed ways to boost our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-love because we need it now more than ever.
Get rid of negative self-talk and practice positive affirmation.
Multiple studies show that shifting the way we talk about ourselves and our circumstances can significantly change how we see ourselves and the world we live in. In particular, one study found that positive-self talk enhanced the psychological well-being and coping skills of breast cancer survivors. Negative self-talk, meanwhile, is the perfect way to sabotage ourselves. Here are some ways we can shift the way we talk to and about ourselves:
- “My life has been marked by failure; I’m a failure and nothing else” to “I failed this time, but I will not allow this incident to define me and my personhood, and I can always try again.”
- “I have to do all this work” to “I get to do this; what a privilege.”
- “I’m so fat and ugly” to “other people and society will not dictate how I see myself; I am beautiful and strong and healthy, and that is enough.”
Even doing something as simple as choosing kind words for ourselves can make a big difference in how we see ourselves and the circumstances we live in. Treat yourself, and talk to yourself, as you would other people. The Golden Rule applies in reverse, too.
Place a cap on social media use.
Research has proven time, and again that social media tends to push us to compare ourselves with others. But here’s the thing: Everyone on social media is only showing the highlight reel of their lives, much like when sports teams only show the best of their performances on the court or in the field. They never show the parts where they struggle to train and pretty much pour blood, sweat, and tears to be where they are today.
It’s the same way with social media and real-life—people only show the romantic candlelit dinner, but they never show the toxic fight that took place the night before. Tourists only show the most manicured areas of the places they visit, but they never take pictures of the alleyway where they got catcalled or when they got held up at the airport.
So if you find yourself being jealous of your newly-engaged social media acquaintance, log off Instagram. Just because they have something you don’t have right now, it doesn’t mean they are ahead in life or that they’re doing better than you. It just means you’re in a different chapter in your life as them.
Travel on your own.
A 2018 quantitative investigation into solo female travelers found a positive relationship between solo traveling and personal development, self-esteem, and authentic personality. Traveling alone paves the way for us to have more self-confidence and self-esteem because it allows us to learn more about other cultures, to rely on and believe in ourselves, and find solutions to problems. Traveling in the time of a pandemic is admittedly a bit more of a challenge, so here are some tips for staying healthy and safe as you journey alone:
- Follow your destination of choice’s quarantine rules and regulations.
- Wear your mask properly and keep a safe distance of at least six feet from other people.
- Make use of tracking apps to let someone you love and trust know where you are at all times, as an added safety precaution.
- Choose hostels and accommodations that have a reputation for being sanitary and having good hospitality.
Love Others as Yourself
Self-love is never selfish; in fact, it’s the best way we can love others fully. When we’re coming from a place of being secure in who we are and being confident in our abilities and the goodness of our hearts, we wouldn’t feel the need to tear others down—instead, we would want to build them up and help them feel good about themselves. So don’t hesitate to do things that will benefit your self-esteem and self-love because you deserve it.