aidarrowcaretcheckclipboardcommenterrorexperienceeyegooglegownmicroscopenavigatepillTimer IconSearchshare-emailFacebookLinkedInTwitterx

The Challenges of Developing Authentic Self-Esteem

Do you ever reflect on your self worth? There’s actually a lot more that goes into self-esteem than you might think. People who feel good about themselves and their accomplishments have high self-esteem. This gives them courage to be themselves. On the other hand, people who put themselves down and don’t take pride in their accomplishments have low self-esteem. 

While much of the conversation focuses on these two groups, there’s also a third category: false self-esteem. When someone’s beliefs that form their self-esteem don’t match reality, we call this false self esteem. It can be the result of overly negative thoughts stemming from mental health issues, or it can be a form of narcissism that gives an inflated sense of self. In both scenarios, false self-esteem may lead to negative consequences. 

Narcissism-fueled false self-esteem often leads to issues in interpersonal relationships and in the workplace. False self-esteem caused by negative self-talk can worsen symptoms of anxiety and depression. In fact, low-self esteem might increase your likelihood of developing mental illness.

Developing authentic self-esteem isn’t a linear process. With so many external influences and mental health factors at play, it’s a struggle for many people. Here’s how you can bolster your self-esteem and confidence. 


Believing in yourself is one of the biggest keys for building confidence. And sometimes you really just have to fake it until you make it, whether that’s in negotiations, job interviews and other anxiety-inducing scenarios. However, in the longterm, you really want to make sure you’re developing authentic, concrete self confidence, for the sake of your self-esteem. 

Here are some helpful self confidence-building strategies.

  • Set realistic goals. Accomplishing goals can boost your self confidence. Rinse and repeat. 
  • Repeat encouraging mantras. Mantra-based meditation reduces symptoms for mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, giving you a clearer mind and the opportunity to build self confidence.
  • Exercise. The endorphins you produce while you exercise have the power to ease depression symptoms. Couple that with the physical fitness benefits of exercise, and it’s a great way to boost your self-esteem.
  • Surround yourself with a supportive community. Cultivating a community that you relate to and identify with is great for self-esteem and mental health. You’ll have a group of people who celebrate your wins with you and help you when you’re in need.


The inability to be your true authentic self is a heavy burden to carry. Presenting a fake persona on social media is a sign of both narcissism and low self esteem. People often maintain the facade of their inauthentic self to portray a level of perfection that is otherwise unsustainable. 

Instead of wearing a mask, lean into your true self whenever you have the opportunity. Your quirky, intelligent, fun-loving self will thank you—as will your friends and family.


Comparing yourself to others is bound to stir up feelings of envy and damage your self-esteem. Rather than compare yourself to others, reflect on the strides you’ve made. Appreciate how far you’ve come and where you’re headed. You have so much to be proud of, and reflecting on it helps improve self-awareness so you can build self-esteem.


There’s a thin line to walk when it comes to expectations. Healthy expectations can help you create the life you want, but unrealistic expectations can set you up for disappointment. Life is unpredictable and ever-changing.

Avoid setting expectations based on romanticized ideals. While you can still want the best for yourself, you should allow some flexibility for imperfection. Give your best effort in friendships and relationships, and feel free to expect the same from others.


Facing different fears you have in life can help increase your self-esteem because it can show you that you can overcome challenges. Talk to new people, speak up in group settings, and take reasonable risks even if they scare or intimidate you. You’ll be all the better for it. 


The relationships you have with other people have a significant influence over your self-esteem. Toxic behaviors like abuse and neglect, or even cheating in romantic relationships, can wear on your self-esteem. 

You can develop a framework for your relationships that supports and even improves your self-esteem. Cultivate healthy relationships by creating healthy boundaries, eliminating unhealthy behaviors and avoiding behaviors and language that damage emotions.

Self Image

Outward appearance and personal values can both contribute to your self image. Make time to take care of yourself, whether that regular dental or medical care, or just getting enough sleep at night, and you’ll cultivate a better environment for self love. 

Invest in clothing that makes you feel good about yourself, exercise, and take the time to engage in hobbies and volunteer for causes you believe in to improve your self image and self-esteem.


The way you talk to yourself has serious implications for your mental health and self-esteem. Negative self talk focuses your attention on negative things. It can include thoughts about your shortcomings, expecting the worst case scenario, ignoring positive things or making a big deal out of small issues. 

Intentionally engaging in positive self talk can build self esteem and lead to other benefits. In addition to improving psychological well-being, positive thinking and self talk also decreases your risk for chronic illnesses, improves your immune system and increases your lifespan.

Personal development

Lack of self-esteem can stunt personal development by decreasing intrinsic motivation. When you don’t think highly of yourself, it’s difficult to pursue self-improvement. By pursuing courses, goals, exercise, and other activities that require discipline, you can boost your self-esteem while also engaging in some awesome personal development.  

Ready to book a doctor’s appointment? Visit Zocdoc.

About us

The Paper Gown, a Zocdoc-powered blog, strives to tell stories that help patients feel informed, empowered and understood. Views and opinions expressed on The Paper Gown do not necessarily reflect those of Zocdoc, Inc. Learn more.