• Self-esteem is basically the way we view ourselves
  • Low self-esteem can affect various aspects of our lives
  • Here are some tips to boost our self-respect

Have you been feeling down in the dumps? February is the perfect time to pull yourself up and work on your self-esteem because it marks International Boost Self-Esteem Month.

Self-esteem is essentially our opinion about ourselves. It's not always easy to have a healthy self-esteem. There are times when it's really hard as people can be their own harshest critics.

Unfortunately, having low self-esteem can influence many aspects of our lives.

On this International Boost Self-Esteem Month, let's look at some of the things that we can do to boost our self-esteem, courtesy Mayo Clinic, Mind, Psychology Today and Health Alliance.

Be aware of how you talk to yourself

How we talk to ourselves or consider ourselves is key to self-esteem. Calling ourselves things like "stupid" or "ugly" can hurt self-esteem, so it's important that people become more aware of negative self-talk. Remember, everybody has flaws. While it's important to acknowledge that, focusing only on those flaws may be harmful.

We should ask ourselves if we would tell someone else the negative things we said about ourselves.

"If you wouldn't say them to someone else, don't say them to yourself," the Mayo Clinic said.

It is also important to keep in mind that our thoughts are mere thoughts.

"Don't believe everything you think. Thoughts are just that — thoughts," said Glenn R. Schiraldi, author of "The Self-Esteem Workbook." "These are thoughts, not facts."

Don't fight the feelings

While we need to keep negative self-talk in check, it's also important to allow ourselves to feel them, the Mayo Clinic says. This means that when we have negative thoughts, instead of fighting them or trying hard to shut them down, we can let ourselves feel and acknowledge them.

This doesn't mean that we should believe those thoughts are true. This will help us acknowledge that the negative thoughts have lowered our self-esteem and, eventually, remove their power to influence us.

Compliment others

Giving others a boost of confidence may also help boost our own self-esteem. According to Health Alliance, giving other people compliments could encourage us to "look for the best in the world."

On the flip-side, people with low self-esteem may find it hard to accept it when they are the recipients of compliments. But taking note of those compliments can help boost self-esteem at times when you are doubting yourself.

We can even ask people what they like about us. It may feel a little awkward at first, but it can help us realize that the way we see ourselves is likely different from the way other people see us.

Practice self-care

Practicing self-care is also an important part of improving self-esteem. This doesn't necessarily mean taking long baths or getting a massage, although these could very well be key to some people's self-care.

But even small, everyday things that make people happy, whether it's watching an episode of a show you like to lighten the mood or wearing something you really like, are important in boosting self-esteem, Health Alliance said.

It's also important to take good care of our health and well-being. This includes getting enough sleep, eating healthier and avoiding recreational drugs and alcohol, according to Mind.

Stop comparing

Nowadays, it's easy to catch a glimpse of other people's lives, thanks to social media. Comparing our lives with others' is not at all helpful for mental health, Psychology Today said. It's important to remember that what we see on social media are mere snapshots of other people's lives.

"Two key things I emphasize are to practice acceptance and stop comparing yourself to others," psychotherapist Kimberly Hershenson said. "I emphasize that just because someone else appears happy on social media or even in person doesn't mean they are happy. Comparisons only lead to negative self-talk, which leads to anxiety and stress."

Boosting self-esteem is something that we may need to work on every day, perhaps even with the help of the people around us.

If you haven't been paying any attention to improve your self-esteem, this may be a good time to start working on it. Whether you notice it or not, self-esteem can play an important role in many aspects of your life.

Representational image. Pixabay