How to Build Self-Esteem

Angela Ficken on Building Self-Esteem
Sometimes the work involved in building and maintaining self-esteem is challenging, but once we feel solid with who we are, the view is amazing. - Angela Ficken

This summer I’ve been hearing a lot of questions about how to build self-esteem. So what is self-esteem (a.k.a. self-worth), and how can you develop yours?


Self-esteem or self-worth is really just how we feel about ourselves. If we have good self-esteem, we have a good sense of who we are. If we get difficult feedback at work or from loved ones, we usually do not feel knocked down by it. We don’t tend to feel bothered if someone doesn’t like us because we genuinely like who we are. We know that we can’t please everyone and that that’s OK. For the most part, no matter what happens externally in our lives, we feel solid in who we are and what we stand for.

For those of us who struggle with self-esteem, all of the above can be difficult. Difficult feedback from peers, a boss, or loved ones can often cause us to feel less than or not good enough. We have more persistent negative thoughts about ourselves if someone doesn’t like us or if we make a mistake. For the most part, external events can directly affect how we feel about ourselves. Positive feedback makes us feel good, and negative feedback makes us to feel bad. We are dependent on external factors to tell us if we are good enough.

And that’s a slippery slope. If we allow others to dictate and define who we are, then that’s a sign that there is a need for some self-esteem work. The good thing is that self-esteem work is always valuable, because the more you practice the stronger the foundation will be.


One of my favorite methods of building a foundation of self-esteem is taking yourself out on a date. Plan some time to spend some quality time with yourself. Make a plan to go to a show or a movie, visit a museum, take a long walk and listen to your favorite music or podcast (I recommend Onward Nation episode 547, where I discuss anxiety management!), or browse some shops. Maybe even grab an ice cream along the way. Do something that you think you might enjoy and do it on your own. Hang out with yourself and notice what you like about you. Just like you would on an actual date.

On a typical date, you get to know the other person, figure out if you like spending time with them, and learn if you have the same interests. Doing a self-date can evoke the same thoughts about yourself.

What do I like to do?

What do I like about who I am?

What type of friend am I?

What makes me feel good?

These are all good questions to think about and, when answered, they can help your self-esteem develop.

I encourage you to take yourself on a date before the end of August, which is coming soon. So hop to it!

As always, sending good energy your way,