10 Tips to Healthy Self-Esteem by Eleanor Cole, Ph.D.

Practice Unconditional Self-Acceptance. Make your internal dialogue a positive one. Resist the tendency to criticize yourself. Talk back firmly and consistently to ideas that you have of putting yourself down.

Put your energy into vital interests. Pursue those interests actively and persistently. Finding your passions is the first step in discovering your true self. Find a project that you truly enjoy—and that is worth the investment of your energy.

Have or create a supportive network of caring relatives, friends, and coworkers. Surround yourself with people who give you consistent positive feedback about your worthwhile efforts and accomplishments. Avoid those who put you down or make you feel less than your best.

Respectfully request respect. If someone is treating you badly, you surely have the right to request respect from that individual. Use "I" messages to make your point respectfully. For example you can say, "I prefer that you do not open my mail without my knowledge." "I prefer that you call me if you are going to come home late." Speak and behave assertively and firmly in an attempt to get greater justice for yourself in the relationship.

When an unfortunate thing happens to you, try not to make it into the "end of the world." Discuss it with friends who can help you get a more beneficial perspective on the situation. One positive approach to misfortune is to use your experience to help others who are going through a similar situation.

Work on acquiring self-discipline. If you have behavior that you’re trying to change (such as procrastinating, gossiping), try to overcome it. Set goals for yourself and carry through with them. Use a reward system to help yourself stay consistent. When you’re not successful in completing your goals, create meaningful (but not destructive) penalties to help yourself get back on track.

Don’t "Compare and Despair". Invest a reasonable amount of energy in an attractive appearance, including fitness, grooming, and nice clothing, but avoid "comparative-itis" and "self-downing" about your flaws. Many women feel unattractive simply because they compare themselves to others.

Behave ethically, kindly, and caringly toward other people. Contributing positively to the lives of others will help you feel better about yourself. Consider taking on volunteer work for a worthy cause.

Push yourself a bit into your discomfort zone. Be a healthy risk-taker. Go after goals that would be deeply satisfying, but that you feel might be a stretch for you.

Most of all celebrate you. Treasure your uniqueness, enjoy it, revel in it. There is only one you. Look inside and discover what makes you beautiful. And remind yourself everyday.

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