“Be yourself, everybody else is already taken” — Oscar Wilde.

Are you an imposter, putting out a mask of happiness or success, but deep inside you are petrified of your failure? Do you live with persistent feeling that you are not good enough? Do you fear people of finding your addictions and judging you?

Every person (including me) is faced with such questions at each stage of life. People can answer and overcome such challenges by improving their self-esteem. According to psychology, a person’s reflection or estimation of individual’s personal values or overall worth can be termed as self-esteem. In simple words, it can be collated as how much you like and appreciate being yourself while interacting with the society. In fact, psychologist Abraham Maslow included self-esteem as one of the most basic motivational factor for humans.

According to National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), one in every 12 average adults or over 17.6 million people succumb to alcohol abuse in the US alone. The same is more prevalent in case of young adults, whose lives and careers are at risk due the problem of alcohol and drug addiction. Such individuals trying rehab to come out of those dark phases often fail due to low self-esteem. They are mentally handicapped with the thoughts of what others (friends, families, and colleagues) think and judge.

Apart from alcohol abuse, people with bipolar disorders also suffer from low self-esteem. People with constant mood swings are not capable of validating and expressing their feelings to others, due to the fear of being rejected.

There are several published and ongoing research linking quality of life and mental health issues to low self-esteem. People struggling with addiction or with the process of overcoming addiction often feel they are unworthy of recovery. Improving self-esteem can help you to turn the tables and walk down the path of long-term sobriety.

Tips on how to improve your self-esteem after addiction.

Rome wasn’t built in one day (I know it’s cliché, but that’s the fact)

Not everything happens instantly, we are not light particles travelling from point A to B, but the source. And it takes time to light up and burn it inside you. So did your initial addiction to alcohol. You took time to enter the dragon cave, and now it takes a greater amount of time and energy to kill the dragon.

Talk, Talk, and Talk

Start conversing with peers, friends, and total strangers on any topic. This boosts your confidence and improves self-esteem. I stammer a lot; at least I did during my childhood. The number of people and the amount of time I spent talking to has helped a lot in overcoming my fear of stuttering.

Celebrate your accomplishments

Big or small, do acknowledge your achievements. Take time to reward yourself, which can be anything, like sharing it with your family or celebrating with peers.

Make mistakes and remember you are unique     

You are a unique individual with your own talents and interests. Work on your strong points, make mistakes, repeat them, and learn from your past mistakes. Your uniqueness is your strength and makes a major part of your self-esteem.

Stay active and keep up good health

Nothing can help if you are not in good health, mentally and physically, not even reading this article. Engage yourself in physical activities such as playing sports or yoga. Pursue a new interest or start a new hobby. How many of you know people collecting airsick bags?

Read books and watch inspiring movies

You are not alone. There are people, a lot of people in your position, long before you were even born. Read their failures first, and eventually their success stories. Start your day by watching one motivational video or a movie. There are any people who quote how movies such as Michael Douglas’s Wall Street and Will Smith’s Pursuit of Happiness have changed their lives, for the good.

Help others

The last tip, but the most effective and simple way to improve your self-esteem is helping others. Minor things, such as greeting someone with a big smile or a handshake, can sometimes makes a big difference. Moreover, this makes you feel good about yourself.

I had lost my long found love due to alcohol abuse, which further deterred by self-esteem to a point where I started behaving as a total stranger with that lovely individual. Remember, this is your life and your very own. No one can or will help you to live it. Not even the people you love. Start improving your self-esteem today and live life to the fullest.