Character Chats

How Can We Improve Self-Esteem?

How can I improve my self-esteem?

Here at True Balance Karate in Downers Grove, Illinois, we have a social emotional learning program called True Character.

I’m Master H, owner, chief instructor here at the studio. I have two master’s degrees in education, and we have worked hard to create a program that best meets the needs of our youngest students and our oldest students. Our youngest happens to be about three and our oldest is about 84.

And this month, we are talking about self-esteem. What does self-esteem mean? How does it impact who we are? And this week, we’re talking about how can we improve it in ourselves?

Positive Self-Talk

And as we go through talking about self-esteem, one of the things we need to make sure that we’re not saying is the word can’t. When we start giving ourselves that negative word of I can’t do it, or I’m awful at it, or I’ll never get it.

When we start talking to ourselves that way, that’s when we are impacting our self-esteem in a negative way.

We want to always look at what we are able to do, what we are capable of.

And as adults, when we’re talking with our kids, when we’re talking with our friends’ kids, when we’re interacting with other people, when we hear that, we want to make sure that we are friendly and kind and find ways for them to change what they’re saying.

Maybe it’s learning how to, or maybe it’s the three letter word yet. I can’t do it yet.

Maybe it’s who could we ask for help from there?

But if we’re trying to improve it within ourselves, the best way to go about doing that is to listen to what we’re saying and take that word can’t out of our vocabulary.

Recognizing our Victories

Another way to improve our self-esteem is to look at all the things that we have been able to accomplish.

And that might come in the form of a weekly jobs list, like you’ve got your list of things that you plan on accomplishing every day and that weekly jobs list helps you be like, “I am able to accomplish these things. I am able to take care of these things.”

And we have a number of different character worksheets right here to help students learn to recognize what they are actually accomplishing.

And for me, what it comes down to is when I have a mountain of things to do as a lot of us adults have. We have the laundry list, no pun intended, of laundry and errands and school and work and family and kids and all of those things.

And for me having a weekly jobs list, but how I set mine up to help raise my self-esteem is- Monday gets these three tasks as the most important things to get done, along with all of the normal things and Tuesday it’s these three tasks along with all of the normal things.

So I try to divide up my time so that my personal bandwidth, my personal ability to handle stressful situations is longer and is better and can give me a chance to be more patient with those around us.

And so as we’re working through how do we improve our own self-esteem, we want to look at what works for us.

That’s a tip that works for me. Others need to do list that they cross off. Others need a positivity jar. I had a friend who would write down any compliment that they heard that day in their journal. And then it would go on a post-it that would go in a jar.

And then they saw all of these compliments that were coming their way, and they could see all of the positives that they offered out to the world, and it helped make them feel better and it helped make them recognize their own self-worth. And it gave them a sense of pride.

Writing down special accomplishments, taking certificates and hanging them on the wall to show that you’ve achieved that particular award or diploma or something that you find pride in.

Whenever we can display those things, we can look at it and remind ourselves of just how fantastic we are. Because when it comes to self-esteem, it’s all about feeling good about ourselves. And we want to find ways to feel accomplished and good and positive and proud.

And that’s not going into the ego of I am the best at everything. It’s recognizing the impact that we have on each other.

And so, as we’re growing our self-esteem, we want to remind ourselves of all of the positives that we are doing. We want to take that word “can’t” out of our vocabulary. We want to make sure that we incorporate a goal and see how much we are actually working towards it and achieving it.

Because at the end of the day, we want to feel good about ourselves.

Thanks and I’ll see on the mat!


True Balance Karate was founded in 2012 by Master Sue and Paul Helsdon.

We offer kids karate lessons for pre-school children ages 3-6 and elementary age kids ages 7 and up. These lessons are designed to develop the critical building blocks kids need — specialized for their age group — for school excellence and later success in life.

Our adult martial arts training is a complete adult fitness and conditioning program for adults who want to lose weight, get (and stay) in shape, or learn self-defense in a supportive environment.

Instructors can answer questions or be contacted 24 hours of the day, 7 days a week at 630-663-2000. You can also contact us here