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Self Care

Regaining Self-Esteem after a Setback

A setback in your self-esteem can be an almost debilitating blow. Job losses, break-ups, and fights with your best friend or gaining five pounds after losing twenty can all set you back. The list of potential setbacks in your self-esteem is endless. No matter what event or bad day has thrown you back, however, you can make a comeback. You can regain your self-esteem.

Understanding Self-Esteem

Self-esteem is your inner sense of self-worth and self-respect. Sometimes, in the wake of a setback, it can feel difficult to acknowledge or truly feel that you are worthy of even your own respect. This drop-in self-esteem can lead to bigger problems and really diminish your quality of life as a whole.

Consider a Different Perspective

Sometimes the best course of action to come back from a setback like this is to look outside yourself. Consider your entire ordeal from a different perspective. It may help you shine some light on the issue at hand, and help you overcome your loss of confidence.

Here are some perspectives you can try:

  1. Walk-in someone else’s shoes – Everybody makes mistakes, and there are no exceptions to that rule. No one is perfect, but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t worthy of love and respect. To put this in perspective, try seeing your situation from an outsider’s point of view. If someone else, especially someone you love, had gone through the same ordeal or made the same mistakes, would you want them to wrestle with low self-esteem? If the person that you are picturing is worthy of self-respect, then so are you.

2. Setback or step up? – If your setback comes in the form of a life event such as a break-up or job loss, try considering the event as a step forward instead of a setback. Whatever happens, you are always moving forward with your life. This event is just another stepping stone to what will surely be a bright future.

3. Understand your place in the world – Another perspective to consider is your overall place in the world. Sometimes remembering how many people there are on this planet, and how inexplicably big the universe is, can make your ordeal feel so much smaller.

Consider the Positives

When you’ve put your ordeal into perspective, consider also the positives of the situation. Look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself all your favorite things about yourself – your bright and beautiful eyes, your amazing smile, and your fun sense of humor. Start thinking about everything good you have, both inside and outside.

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Photo by Binti Malu on

Know You Are Worthy

Remember that no matter what happens in life, no matter what mistakes you might have made or what setbacks have held you down, you are worthy. You are worthy of the love and respect of the most important person in your life – you.

Treat Yourself

To prove your love, do something to treat yourself. Get your hair done, go for a run, or buy a new outfit. Take a course or do something that makes you feel good that is not addictive or dangerous. 

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Photo by Allison Shannon on

A blow to your self-esteem can be crippling if you let it. The strongest weapon in your arsenal, however, is yourself. You can overcome this hurdle, but you must first believe in yourself.

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Unwanted Life
1 year ago

Know you place in the world was a surprisingly nihilistic tip for self-esteem, but I’m all for it as nothing matters so you may as well do what you want will makes you happy and remember failing doesn’t matter either

Pippa Berry-Cope
1 year ago
Reply to  Unwanted Life

I think so too.
It’s easy to minimise what you are going through by comparing it to people who are having a harder time. I have tried to stop doing this – what I’m experiencing is valid, and just because someone else is having a more challenging time, doesn’t mean my challenges are nothing!

1 year ago

I’ve always struggled with my self-esteem, though it appears to be much better in recent years.
Those are all great tips, thank you!

Something that i’ve read and struck with me is the following: “A situation is only embarassing if you’re embarrased”. Which is actually great advice when making mistakes or when you think of yourself as a fool — who cares of how you look or what other’s think if yourself are okay with it?

Fadima Mooneira
1 year ago

Good post and tips. Thank you for sharing. Finding your way back is super important.

1 year ago

Fab tips! I’ve struggled with self-esteem pretty much as long as I can remember so this was really helpful. I find considering a different perspective really helpful and my boyfriend’s been helping me a lot with seeing the positives too. Thank you so much for sharing x

Jordanne || Ofaglasgowgirl

I struggle a lot with my self esteem, have done for years. I really like these tips you’ve shared, especially treating yourself. I find when I actually show myself love, I feel a bit better within myself. Thank you for sharing.

Alice in Sheffield
1 year ago

I absolutely believe that everything is a learning experience so reframe setbacks as a learning point for the future

1 year ago

I love the perspectives you offer, they are all so true and so valuable! Thank you for sharing!

Andrea Hunt
1 year ago

This is such a helpful post! I’ve been there and these are definitely great suggestions thanks so much for sharing!

Pippa Berry-Cope
1 year ago

Thought provoking article, thank you for writing it.
I go through times when I feel less worthy and not important. I have to give myself time to think about what has triggered it, and why I’m reacting like that.
I have a real hang up about being seen as an achiever, so when I’m not achieving much, I feel worthless. The problem is, it’s so hard to measure achievement in areas like personal relationships, being a parent, helping your community. Compared to more tangible things like how much money you earn!
Sometimes I think Ed have so many priorities wrong in our western societies.

1 year ago

“….try considering the event as a step forward instead of a setback.” I love this reframe.

Stephanie Pick
Stephanie Pick
1 year ago

Love this so much. Self love is what it’s all about. With self love we are more resilient and bounce back more easily.

Tim Eggink
1 year ago

I like your perspective, very interesting

Heather @ Writer's Life for You

I love the setback or step up! We are quick to get upset and think of breakups as a setback. We dwell on what we did wrong, wish we knew what we could’ve changed, etc. But I love reframing it as a step up! Brilliant!

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