10 Tips for Improving Your Self-Esteem

In a world that is fast-paced and highly competitive, our self-esteem can sometimes take a nasty hit as we allow negative thoughts to ease into our minds and weigh heavily in our hearts. Soon after this happens, we find ourselves in a deep hole of self-doubt that is difficult to climb out of.

But let me tell you this — it doesn’t have to be this way.

Just as we are able to train our bodies to meet its optimal physical condition, the same can be done with our minds. 

Here are 10 proven tips for improving your self-esteem when you need it most.

Tip 1: Ask Yourself the 5 Inquiry Questions

You know those negative thoughts racing in your head? Take a moment to consider whether those things are actually true. Take a moment to validate them.

You see, the mind is very powerful. It has the ability to make the stories in our heads appear real, urgent, and imperative. But in reality they are just thoughts.

The most powerful way to lift your self-esteem is to learn how to discern whether the story in your mind is real and likely to occur or whether your mind is simply lost in thought.

When you are faced with thoughts such as I don’t belong or I don’t matter, question their validity by using these questions.

  • 5 Inquiry Questions:
    1. Is it true?
    2. Can you absolutely know that it is true ?
    3. How do you react, when you believe that the thought is true?
    4. Who would you be— or what would you do— without that thought?
    5. Turn the thought around — Is the opposite as true or truer? eg: I do belong, I do matter (And find proof as to how this is so).

Tip #2: Stay Focused on the Present Moment

Tell me… how many times have you thought about something that happened in the past, telling yourself that you should have done things differently? And how many times have you thought about the future — tomorrow, next week, or next year — worrying about what may or may not happen?

Reliving the past, or imagining the future, can be painful and futile exercise. It distracts you from what you want to, or should, focus on. 

Instead of thinking about the past or the future, Ekhart Tolle encourages our generation to stay focused on what is happening in the present moment.

The past and future are functions of imagination. 

Keeping focused on the present moment keeps us grounded in reality and gives us clarity as to where to direct our attention and energy.

Ask yourself: “In this moment, other than what I am thinking and believing, am I okay?”

George Orwell in his book 1984 wrote: “He who controls the present, controls the past, he who controls the past controls the future”.

Tip #3: Reach Out and Ask for Support

If the high-flyer in you feels grounded or stuck, a good way forward is to reach out and ask for support.

All high flyers — yes, even space shuttles — need a lift from a friend or coach to get them to where they want to go.

Just as the space shuttle needs to lean on a 747 to get it to where it wants to go, there are times when leaning on another for support is the best way forward.

Tip #4: Take a Risk and Be Authentic (One Situation at a Time)

Chameleons are amazing creatures with their ability to change their appearance to suit the environment they are in, don’t you think?

This way of being would be easy if we were chameleons — but we’re not. For us, having to change ourselves to suit every environment we enter can be exhausting. Instead, we should strive for authenticity.

Take a moment and ask yourself: “What is the thought that would stop me from being my authentic self in this situation?”

And then, apply the 5 Inquiry Questions to the thought. 

  • For example, if the thought that stops you from being yourself is: “I have to fit in, ” ask yourself:
    1. Is it True – that I have to fit in?
    2. Can I absolutely know that it is true – that I have to fit in?
    3. How do I react when I believe the thought that I have to fit in?
    4. Who would I be (or what would I do) without the thought that I have to fit in?
    5. Turn the thought around — Is the opposite as true or truer? eg: I don’t have to fit in (and find proof as to how this is so)

Tip #5: Steer Clear of Comparisons

Comparison is one of the most destructive activities the mind engages in, when it comes to self esteem. 

But how do you steer clear of it when you are feeling jealous? How do you get over it? We all would if we could.

The way forward for me has been to ask myself the question: “Who’s business am I in?”

Byron Katie talks about 3 types of business: Mine, Yours, and God’s (God’s being anything that you or I don’t control). 

If you are mentally in someone else’s business, who is looking after your business, interests, and life? 

And if you are living someone else’s life, then who’s living yours?

  • When you notice yourself stuck in comparison, a fantastic way forward is:
    1. Notice – that you are comparing yourself
    2. Question yourself: “Can I absolutely know that it’s true that what s/he has would be better for me than what I currently have?”
    3. Gently bring your focus, attention, and energy back to your world and the fun that is waiting for you in it.

Tip #6: Forgiveness and Making Amends

Without genuine forgiveness, self-esteem is impossible. 

When we hold ill-will against ourselves, it is difficult to see any goodness in us.

If you are regretting something you’ve done in the past, take a moment to consider what you were thinking and believing when you did it. What is it that you now know that makes you regret what you have done?

Now that you know more and are certain that you would not have done the same thing in the past — give yourself permission to forgive yourself.

Forgive yourself for not knowing then, what you are aware of now.

Making amends by putting right that which can be done to restore the situation — will make the pathway to forgiveness possible. It is also an effective way to silence our “inner critic”.

Tip #7: Choose Your Friends Wisely

Consider this: Who are the 5 people who influence you the most? 

People with a positive outlook on life have an infectious influence on your self-esteem. They value themselves and they value having you in their lives. 

You may also notice that these people are usually busy creating a fun life for themselves, traveling, busy with hobbies, gardening, and having “#spark joy” moments.

  • Take a good, objective look at the lives of those you allow to influence you and consider:
    1. Are they positive and uplifting influences? Or do the subtly (or overtly) put you down?
    2. How do you feel after you have spent time with them? Uplifted or drained?
    3. Are they going in the same direction as you? Do they even have a direction?

Friendships change and evolve. And it is perfectly understandable that this can have an impact on your self esteem. 

Let’s take social media influencers, for example.

  • Take notice:
    1. Who on social media influences you? Why?
    2. After watching them, do you feel refreshed and energized or find yourself in comparison and feeling lack?

Choose friends that are going in a positive direction in their own lives. The choice of which kind of people you allow into your life matters.

Tip #8: Reboot Your Mind

Our minds are like a computer operating system. In the morning, our mind reboots itself and starts running the script we have programmed into it since childhood.

These scripts come in the form of thoughts. Thoughts such as, I’m not good enough, I won’t be successful, or I’m not attractive.

While these thoughts feel real, they are simply just part of the mental model of ourselves that we have created and now hold true. They are not a true reflection of the reality of who we are.

Just because you think a thought — it doesn’t make it true.

A Way Forward:

Just as we regularly upgrade the operating software on our computers, we can upgrade our thinking and belief systems. We can change our script/story and consequently change the results we are getting.

I am now running Ishani Operating System v4.0. This version of me can do so much more than Ishani Operating System v1.0 could, and the results are reflected in the peace of mind and enjoyment of my daily life.

If you’d like some support to upgrade your internal operating system, get in touch. It is easier to do than you may think!

Tip #9: Resilience

Simply put, resilience is the ability to recover quickly from a setback. 

We all have moments in life when we experience an upset or setback. And when these occur, taking notice the self-talk that is running through our minds and verifying it, will help you to recover quickly and be more resilient and effective in your life.

If you want to develop the skill of resilience, drop me a line at Ishani@selfesteemconsulting.com

Tip #10: Social Media Ain’t That Social

Okay, let’s be honest — Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest etc. are all FUN and interesting social media platforms. I get it. And I understand that it provides a form of connection from the perspective of humanity. But it’s important to note that they also have an addictive and isolating component to them. 

Social Media provides a platform for, and encourages, comparison. And more often than not, it can leave one feeling “less than”.

Limiting the amount of time you spend on social media has been shown to improve one’s sense of wellbeing. 

Making a few tweaks to the way you use social media will exponentially improve your self-esteem.

  • How to Tweak Your Personal Social Media Usage:
    1. Check social media only once a day from your home computer. Set a timer for 30-minutes and get off when it rings. You will need some discipline to begin with, as you work to break the habit. Trust that if there is something thing on social media that you need to know, it will find its way to you. If you use social media for work purposes  — again, set the timer and be efficient about your posting. Prepare it offline first, then post.
    2. Delete all Apps, apart from the absolutely essential ones.
    3. Turn off all notifications. Yes all of them.
    4. Remove email from your phone.
    5. Charge your phone overnight, in a room other than your bedroom. Get an alarm clock  — like in the olden days. They still work!

If you go to Google and type “reduce social media usage“, there are 160 million suggestions on how to do so. 

For this year’s Amsterdam Light Festival, Design Bridge and Gali May Lucas have collaborated on a new light sculpture entitled ‘absorbed by light’. The sculpture aims to comment on how digital technology engrosses us and takes people away from reality.

Wrap-Up: Low Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem days can happen to anyone at anytime, so it’s important to know how to process them and find a way to move forward.

  • Remember:
    1. Ask Yourself the 5 Inquiry Questions
    2. Stay Focused on the Present Moment
    3. Reach Out and Ask for Support
    4. Take a Risk and Be Authentic (One Situation at a Time)
    5. Steer Clear of Comparisons
    6. Forgiveness and Making Amends
    7. Choose Your Friends 
    8. Reboot Your Mind
    9. Resilience
    10. Social Media Ain’t That Social

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self-esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in working through a situation wherein you feel that you can’t wholeheartedly move forward, reach out and contact Ishani today. She can be reached by emailing: Ishani@selfesteemconsulting.com

I Can’t

Clients usually come to me for coaching because they have an issue they cannot resolve on their own. These people are talented and capable individuals who live well-adjusted and secure lives, yet are overwhelmed by an inability to create something they desire in their lives.

In most areas, they thrive and are highly successful; while in others, they are lost at sea, struggling to find a way forward.

How is this possible?

Barrier Thought: I Can’t

This can be because they have the “I can’t” barrier thought running in their mind. This thought predicts that if they take a specific action, an unpleasant or dire consequence will follow. Therefore, to avoid the perceived hazard, they remain frozen in inaction

They are able to say “no”, in some areas of their life; but in others are unable to do so leaving them feeling completely stuck and powerless.  

This thinking typically begins with the statement “I can’t”.

I can’t:

  • bring up the topic with her
  • control my temper
  • post on social media (even though I want to)
  • skip eating at the work morning tea, even it’s if it’s my preference not to
  • say, no

Defining the Situation

When I work with a client, we begin by defining the situation and unpacking the beliefs that lay beneath their inaction. They then, typically, list a range of reasons they feel they can’t do something. 

On the surface, the reason appears valid and reasonable. However, with some investigation, we are able to identify the thoughts that hold up the belief that keeps them from succeeding. 

For example:

  • I can’t bring up the topic with her because she will get verbally aggressive.
  • I can’t control my temper because I just lose it and it all just pours out.
  • I can’t post anything on social media (even though I want to), because I’ll embarrass myself and people will look down on me.
  • I can’t skip eating morning tea at a work function, even it’s if it’s my preference not to, because it will look odd.

When we hold on to reasons which begin with the phrase, I can’t — we trap ourselves in our own internal prison.

A Way Forward

One way forward is to consider the question: Is this really something that I can’t do? Or is it something that I won’t do?

Can’t means, you don’t have the skill or ability to do it.

Won’t means, you are making a choice — be it unconsciously— not to do it.

So how do we navigate through this?

Begin by rephrasing the barrier thought I CAN’T to I WON’T then add the word “AND” to the sentence. This allows you to see things with a different perspective.

Using the examples above. Let’s try it out:

I won’t bring up the topic with her because she will get verbally aggressive, and I don’t have a strategy to deal with her meltdown.


I won’t skip eating at the morning tea work function because it will look odd, and I really don’t want to miss out on the opportunity to eat some delicious food.

With this perspective, you can turn the barrier thought around by changing the word won’t to can, thus giving yourself more options. 

  • I can bring up the topic with her, and if she’s get verbally aggressive, I will confidently and kindly do X, Y, Z.
  • I can skip eating morning tea at a work function, because I can say I’m detoxing. Everyone will leave me alone and I know there will be another opportunity to eat this another time. I can resist the urge to eat it now.

Once you have realized that your desired outcome is possible, a decision and action plan can be made to address the barrier and achieve the goal.

  • I will bring up the topic with her because I would like to deal with the elephant in the room and resolve this situation.
  • I will skip eating at the work morning tea because I have self-control and I don’t need it. My weight-loss goal is more important to me.

Saying “I Can’t” is you saying “I Won’t“, because you are expecting a bad outcome or consequence, and prefer to avoid it. By doing so, you get locked into the state of “I Can’t”.


When you say “I can’t,” take a moment to think it through. Is it something you really can’t do or is it that you won’t do it? By turning the thought around to I can and I will, pathways to action immediately appear before you.

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self-esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in working through a situation wherein you feel that you can’t wholeheartedly move forward, reach out and contact Ishani today. She can be reached by emailing: Ishani@selfesteemconsulting.com

Barrier Thinking

Over the 25 years that I have been involved with self-esteem enhancement courses, the key takeaway I have for clients is that it is the thoughts we think and act out that are our greatest asset — or our largest liability.

Past events and experiences have a way of triggering the mind to create barriers. Our minds build these barriers to protect us by controlling what it believes is safe to think, say, do, or even, believe. 

I call it Barrier Thinking.

What is Barrier Thinking?

Barrier Thinking is when what we think or believe become barriers to living the life we really want to live.

Have you noticed yourself procrastinating or changing the way you present yourself just to please whoever you are with at the time? This is a result of Barrier Thinking.

Just as parents put physical barriers around their children — like a playpen around an infant to keep them safe — we too, as adults, put barriers around ourselves in the form of thinking patterns to keep ourselves safe.

But as we move forward, it may well be that these thoughts and beliefs are no longer necessary. This is why it is important to question them. Questioning your barrier thoughts and beliefs will provide a significant degree of internal freedom and mental energy —  energy that can be used to focus on achieving goals and creating your dream life.

7 Examples of Barrier Thinking

There are seven barrier thoughts I often come across with clients who are experiencing low self-esteem or do not achieve their set goals.

1. Barrier Thought: I Am Not Good Enough

This Barrier Thought holds on to the belief that the person is not enough. Despite all their natural skills, education, talents and efforts, they believe that they are a failure and therefore not good enough.

2. Barrier Thought: Stuck in Comparison and Jealousy

This kind of thinking stems from looking at someone and comparing your lifestyle or circumstances to theirs, only to conclude that yours is not as good. Perhaps you think you are not worthy of the life they have or that you are not as talented as they are.

These thoughts can be as simple as “she’s prettier” or “he’s more successful” than I am.

If not controlled, this kind of barrier thinking can become repetitive, habitual, and very hard to break out of.

3. Barrier Thought: I’m Different, Therefore I Can’t Connect With Them

With this Barrier Thought, the mind finds a reason to justify why you are different and isolated. For example, “I am single”, “I‘m not sporty, or “I’m of a different faith or religion”.

For myself, growing up in Palmerston North as the only brown-skinned child in my class led me to think I was different and left me feeling isolated. These thoughts became my self-created barrier to connection.

4. Barrier Thought: There’s Something Wrong With Me

Similar to the barrier thought, “I’m different”, the thinker creates a barrier belief that there is something wrong with them. They genuinely believe that if anyone were to find out about it, then we would reject them. Because of this thought, they reject themselves.

5. Barrier Thought: I’ve Done Something That Is Unforgivable

With this barrier thought, the thinker believes that they have done something unforgivable. This deed, in their mind, is something so terrible and perhaps, against their own moral code — that even they cannot forgive themselves.

Even if God and others forgive them, they still cannot forgive themselves because they feel that they have violated their own internal sense of morality, and so, hold on to self-resentment or self-directed ill will.

6. Barrier Thought: A Painful End to a Friendship or Relationship

If you have relied on a friend, partner, or family member to give you love, approval, and appreciation —  and one day they stop giving it to you, this can cause feelings of pain and emptiness.

Relying on others to provide you with a constant stream of positive thought stimulation never ends well. The affirmation from these people in your life becomes a drug; and withdrawal from that drug is a painful process.

7. Barrier Thought: I can’t do ____ because____ will happen

This barrier thought predicts that if action is taken, a dire consequence will occur. Therefore to avoid the perceived hazard one remains frozen in inaction.

Overcoming Barrier Thinking

These thinking barriers prevent us from being free and living an enjoyable life. Overcoming barrier thinking is not only possible; it is very doable.

Inquiry* is one process I offer in this programme. This will you discover that you don’t have to “let go” of the barrier thoughts. Instead, as you question their truthfulness, they will let go of you.

Once you are free from the influence of your barrier thoughts, taking action to create your dream life becomes easy and doable.

Ishani Noble helps people improve their self esteem. She is an expert at helping people overcome barrier thinking and being unstoppable in creating their dream life.

If you are interested in boosting your self-esteem or removing barrier thinking and launching yourself wholeheartedly into your next goal then definitely reach out and request a free strategy session today.

*Inquiry is also known as The Work of Byron Katie