Feeling good about yourself makes you more attractive to others. And as you love yourself, your life becomes less burdensome and relationships become easier and more spontaneous. You don’t spend your time second-guessing what others are thinking about you or where you stand in your various relationships. When you have an internal sturdiness deep within your core, you're able to adapt easily to the inevitable ups and downs that come with relationships.
Here are five ways you can feel better about yourself—and make yourself more attractive to others:
1. Don’t take yourself too seriously.
You don’t have to be perfect to have solid relationships and love in your life. In fact, it’s being imperfect that puts people at ease. There is a kind of intimacy that takes hold, a sense that you can be open with this person because they are being open with you. Of course, it’s important to connect with supportive and non-toxic people. Generally speaking, most of the time, with most people, the negative sentiments others communicate or imply about you are not insults to your character. Don’t give added attention to perceived slights; let the small stuff slide off your back. When you're faced with valid or invalid criticism, see if you can laugh at yourself or make a joke. In the end, others don’t define you, no matter what they say.
2. Do the right thing.
If you struggle with self-esteem, you are likely seeking the approval of others. You're covertly on the lookout for praise, and a sense that you belong and are doing the “right” thing. When you do this, you're not thinking about the bigger picture because you're too focused on yourself. A busy quest for validation from others won’t necessarily bring it; in fact, your insecurity may push people away. Instead, do the right thing for yourself, for others, and for society at large. Be generous to the people in your life and to those who have less: Listen, support, and give them your present attention. See if this brings you validation.
3. Live for yourself.
People who have a sense of purpose and meaning are compelling because they exude strength. Focusing on how others may or may not be judging you wastes precious time that could be spent on getting what you want out of life. Ask yourself these questions: What brings me happiness? What would I like to accomplish in this life? What brings me a feeling of well-being and contentment? And then quiet the voice in your head that second-guess your choices, and start living for yourself.
4. Choose to be happy.
If you are happy, others sense it and feel at ease in your presence. As I describe in my workbook, Building Self-Esteem: 5 Steps, one way to actively chose happiness is to develop awareness for your internal critic—that voice in your head that comments and judges. Giving yourself over to your internal critic is like jumping off a cliff into nothingness—this is where your internal critic will take you, if you let it. It’s your responsibility to recognize when your critic turns on you and to tell it “no!” Distract yourself with exercise, reading, work, helping others, or creative endeavors. Do whatever you have to, but shut down the critic as soon as you hear its voice. Over and over, choose happiness.
5. Take care of yourself.
People who take care of themselves are more attractive because they emanate self-discipline. Being in control of yourself means others don’t experience you as a burden to be cared for. Eating nutritiously, exercising regularly, and attending to your emotional health should be a part of your daily routine.
Jill Weber, Ph.D. is a psychologist in private practice in Washington, D.C. and the author of Building Self-Esteem 5 Steps: How to Feel "Good Enough" and Breaking Up and Divorce 5 Steps: How to Heal and be Comfortable Alone. For more, follow her on Twitter @DrJillWeber and on Facebook, or check out drjillweber.com.
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