Use Affirmations to Build Your Self-Esteem

June 27, 2012 Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Using affirmations builds self-esteem because using affirmations reprograms negative thoughts about yourself and your situation. Here's how it works.

Building self-esteem involves reprogramming negative thoughts and feelings about yourself. We cannot simply replace the negative statements. They have been living with us for a long time; for some, a lifetime. Using affirmations can help reprogram these negative thoughts and allow you to consciously and subconsciously focus on the positive, which is a valuable tool in building self-esteem.

How Using Affirmations Reprograms Negative Thoughts

Without even realizing it, we tell ourselves negative statements more frequently then positives. Negative self-talk is part of low self-esteem, and when these thoughts are repeated over and over again, they become our reality. By using the power of affirmations and repeating them daily, you can recondition your thoughts and change how you think and feel about any situation.

A friend of mine constantly put herself down. She tells herself she is not skinny enough, pretty enough, and frequently belittles herself for any decision she makes. She creates negativity with these thoughts about herself. Instead of saying, “I deserved that piece of pizza and I am proud of myself for only having one slice, she says “I am pathetic and I am never going to be in shape. I may as well eat the whole pie.” When we begin using affirmations in our daily lives, our thoughts and decisions are altered, making us live in a more loving and beautiful mindset.

How to Use Affirmations

  • You are enough.Start with a direct statement of a positive change you want to make in your life. Willingness to change is the first step you need in order to actually make any substantial shift An alternative is to affirm that you are becoming something or learning to do something. For my friend, it may be “I am learning to love and take care of my body.”
  • An affirmation should be short, simple, and direct. “I believe in myself” or "I am an amazing person."
  • Keep them in the present tense. “I am important” or present progressive tense - “I am learning to love myself.” Telling yourself that some change will happen in the future makes it harder to believe.
  • Make sure you read them aloud multiple times a day. You can write them on your bathroom mirror so it is the first and last thing you see during the day. You can also write on note cards and keep them in your car or in your bag or have an alarm set on your phone that displays it at certain times a day.
  • Avoid saying negatives. Instead of saying “ I am no longer worried about speaking in public.” Try “I am becoming fearless about speaking in public.” Imagine yourself doing this in this positive tense.

The best way to reinforce affirmation is by repetition and really trying to feel this to be true for you. Ask yourself, what would this feel like if I was feeling confident, loved, whatever affirmation rings true for you.

Examples of Affirmations to Use

  • I am becoming healthier every day
  • I love myself
  • I am a great _________
  • I am worthy of love
  • I am a confident and beautiful person

Create your own affirmation or find one that applies to something you are struggling with at that the moment. When you begin to use affirmations as a tool, you will build your self-esteem.

Take Good Care.

Emily is the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are.You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on Facebook, Google+ and Twitter.

APA Reference
Roberts, E. (2012, June 27). Use Affirmations to Build Your Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 17 from

Author: Emily Roberts MA, LPC

Emily is a psychotherapist, she is intensively trained in DBT, she the author of Express Yourself: A Teen Girls Guide to Speaking Up and Being Who You Are. You can visit Emily’s Guidance Girl website. You can also find her on FacebookGoogle+ and Twitter.

Carrie B
May, 1 2014 at 5:14 pm

I struggle with overcoming insecurities that stemmed from past situations and I must say that positive affirmations are a great source of redirecting your focus. Doing it everyday helps you to believe that these things are true and it also helps you to feel more confident. It takes hardwork and dedication but it's worth the effort!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

May, 2 2014 at 6:38 pm

Hi Carrie,
Thanks for your post! I agree it can seem like they are "just words" but it really does help if you practice. I am glad to hear they work for you!

November, 28 2012 at 4:01 am

Thanx so much for clearing up the confusion on an important subject. The note idea works great!

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

November, 14 2012 at 5:23 pm

Glad you like it! Let us know which affirmations work for you.
Take Good Care,
Emily Roberts MA, LPC

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