Ways to Build Self-Esteem

Ways to Build Self-EsteemSelf-Esteem is the value that we give ourselves and the opinion we have of ourselves. Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) blessed us with an all-encompassing way of life called Islam over 1400 years ago, and it advocates the rights of all creation (men, women, elderly, children, animals, and our own ‘self’).

Levels of Self-Esteem

Self-esteem issues arise on two levels.

    1. The Personal Level:

On a personal level, low self-esteem could actually drive a Muslim over the edge and directly into the fire of Hell! A person might change according to what an imperfect society or culture sees fit. These changes happen to a person’s philosophy, opinions, and values. A sister in hijab might end up taking it off her head because she feels “ugly”, because that’s what the media tells her. But we shouldn’t bow down to an imperfect system, when we have a perfect way of life sent to us and a perfect example to follow.

    1. The Social Level

The social jungle has beastly menaces as well that intimidate a person and if he doesn’t bring his ‘spiritual defense’ with him, then he is bound to suffer feelings of worthlessness. Peer groups or family members may bring about gatherings where a person is harassed or mocked for who he or she is. A person’s lifestyle, and at times his entire existence, can be criticized. A self-esteem deficit here might lead a person into depression or social anxiety.

Steps to Developing Self-Esteem

Self-esteem does not just appear out of nowhere; it takes conscious determination, spiritual connection with Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala), and emotional balance. You should take one step at a time and build gradually on the quota of your worth.

#1 – Personal Evaluation

Perform a personal ‘Strengths’ and ‘Weaknesses’ analysis. There are always 2 sides to a coin; you cannot be 100% good or 100% bad. So jot down all your worthy habits and characteristics, and also the negative ones. If you’re running really low in valuing the good bits about you, have a trusted friend or relative help to point out the good things about you. You can also ask them to point out your faults and flaws. The best references for evaluating yourself are the Quran and Sunnah because they are the manual for right and wrong. Once you’ve reviewed your weaknesses, cross out the word and rename it ‘Challenges’ – these are the areas to work on to transform.

#2 – Develop a Muslim Psychology

When you are made to feel low about yourself, you can keep your guard up by boosting your faith (Imaan). Islam, our deen, is a manifestation of truth, optimism, striving for perfection, and is the secret of personal and community success and happiness. Therefore, you should not pay heed to the worldly standards of beauty and glamor and feel down because you do not look a certain way. Know that you are a creation of The Majestic Creator; and secondly, you are of the Ummah of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him).

#3 – Develop Positive Skills and Habits

Positive self-development and activities can give a major boost in self-esteem. Activities like the recitation of the Quran with translation and exegesis (Tafsir) are especially positive because by learning you feel that you are enriching your mind. Establishing punctual, dedicated prayers (Salaah) 5 times a day also ensures a sense of worthiness because you know that you are a slave of The Most High, and that honour and dignity are achieved through Islam. Thereafter, insha’Allah you can also find what you are good at and what you love to do, and initiate your own project (like a fundraiser, for example) or join appropriate extracurricular activities.

#4 – Personal Grooming

Modest dressing and etiquette is sometimes misinterpreted and people end up appearing unkempt or unclean. Our deen enjoins modest Islamic attire, as well as cleanliness and tidiness.

#5 – Find Birds of a Feather

Since “birds of a feather flock together”, find a supportive peer group. If your gatherings are full of folks that ridicule your beliefs and values, then you are bound to feel worthless. Mingle with the righteous who acknowledge your worth, help you identify your weaknesses, and are indulged in productive and wholesome habits. You can evaluate your gatherings by the kind of activities that happen. If your company spends their time at parties with activities such as music blaring, backbiting, smoking, and adultery, then it’s about time you realize that as a Muslim you are not in the right company. However, if you have good friends who relax and enjoy themselves within the wise bounds that Allah (Subhanahu wa Ta’ala) has set, and your productive activities include attending halaqas, praying in congregation at the mosque, discussing spirituality, understanding and memorization of the Quran, and similar positive topics, then you are bound to feel secure and benefit from the gathering.

#6 – Grow From Your Experience

It would all be useless if you learn to value yourself and then forget it at the end of the year! Make a note of how you increased your feeling of self-worth, record the names and resources you sought and benefited from. Observe and record the changes in your attitude towards others and towards your life, and also the attitude of others towards you. Your achievements and the changes bi’ithnillah would keep you motivated.

#7 – Develop Your Defense

Once you have mastered the above steps, you can test yourself by performing a simple self-check: test your response to wrongful criticism. You should speak calmly and articulately, assertively and firmly, with the Quran and Sunnah as reference. Remember being assertive and firm does not mean speaking harshly or rudely.

#8 – Defend Your Brother or Sister

It takes courage to stand up for yourself, but also to stand up for a brother or sister. When you see somebody being demeaned for something personal, politely support and defend them because they are your brother or sister in Islam. In fact, regardless of who is being unfairly accused or oppressed, we should strive to stand up for the truth and for justice.

These steps are just the basics. It is up to you to treat yourself well and discover what uplifts your morale and rebuiltsyour self-esteem. An important point to remember is that very low self-esteem is corrosive to one’s existence because it robs you of happiness and a sense of self-worth. At the same time, too much self-esteem is extremely destructive as it leads to pride, arrogance, and narcissism. Islam distinguishes the most successful living strategies; if you measure your self-worth by Islam and not by society, and synchronize your life with your faith, you can overcome the self-esteem deficit soon.

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18 thoughts on “Ways to Build Self-Esteem

  1. Pingback: Ways to Build Self-Esteem – Productive Muslim — Towards a … | Find Best Information about Islam on Internet
  2. Excellent article, ms Ali, have also recommended your website Habibi Halaqas to my sister. Looking foward for articles on similar topics.

  3. i’m having difficulties to find the right company and feel very shy to join even when i found one..help me break free this corrosive feeling…

  4. Assalmoalekum,
    Thank you so much, everybody. I’m honored to be able to use my skills to write effectively for the Muslim community. MashAllah

  5. Assalaamu alaykum wa rahmatullah. Laa ilaaha illallahu.

    This is about being Muslim, right? It has nothing to do with self. Nor does Islam. If anything Qur’an lowers yourself. You know how many times? Countless. Please know and say what is true. The only problem is self. That’s it. Virtue is selfless.

    True humility is Islam. Believe in Allah, The Truth. Not yourself. True repentance is the best health. It’s not about me or you. Whether it’s kept to our self or not. It’s about Allah. It’s about The Truth. Only Allah is always Great. That’s it. Subhan’Allah. Allahu Akbar. Truth is complete. Submit yourself to Allah, The Truth.

    Qur’an is the only perfect source for advise. Self love is the root of all evil. Self is a false god. There is no true self. There is only true humility. Islam. That’s it. Allah is The Truth.

    Thus, anything that pertains to self is meaningless. Shun id. Id will only mislead us from true belief. Worship none but Allah. Submit to Allah’s Commands. No one else’s! That’s right.

  6. Asalamu alaikum. I think positive affirmations from an Islamic standpoint, using the Qu’ran and Sunnah as a basis would be an awesome resource for those who lack self-esteem.

  7. Asalamu Alaikum. My view regarding the point 4 and 5 is that one should know when to when to argue and with whom to argue.
    Some times it is better to be silent.
    Quote by Imam Shafi’i:
    Say what you wish in abuse of me, for my silence towards an idiot is indeed an answer. I am not at a loss for a response but rather, it does not befit a lion to answer the dogs.

    And this comes from a extremely stupid person who used to pick up fights, argue with people to hours together.productivemuslim.com inspired me to read the Quraan, then i started reading the translation of the Quraan, and now i am reading the Tafsir.
    Insha Allah i will change to be a better Muslim. Pls pray for me.

    1. Wa alaikumussalaam warahmatullah Shamsudeen,

      Thank you very much for sharing that profound quote. I’ve saved it for myself too!

      And we’re really pleased to hear how ProductiveMuslim has helped you, bi idhnillah (with the permission of Allah), alhamdulillah!

      May you remain steadfast and continue to reach greater heights. Ameen!

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