How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem

Bismillahir Rahmanir Raheem
Assalamu alaikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuhu

(Al-Kahf 18:13-14)
"We relate to thee their story in truth: they were youths who believed in their Lord, and We advanced them in guidance: We gave strength to their hearts: Behold, they stood up and said: "Our Lord is the Lord of the heavens and of the earth: never shall we call upon any god other than Him: if we did, we should indeed have uttered an enormity!"

Muslim Youths' Life's Challenges
How to Overcome Low Self-Esteem
By Latiefah Achmat

It is hard to be good, kind, and tolerant when you feel bad about yourself. It is so much better to face life with a positive attitude, but how can you do that if you feel negative? Can you imagine a happy, self-confident, positive person being violent? No! So the importance of having good self-esteem is very clear. But how can you improve your self-esteem?

First of all, tell yourself “I like you.” Look in the mirror and say this. Keep doing this until you believe yourself, but make sure you do it when you are thinking good things and have been behaving nicely in the recent past.

Believe in yourself; that whatever challenge you face you can deal with, with Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala's help. Do not talk negatively to yourself. Don’t use words like “you are stupid,” “Why did you do that,” and so on.

A friend of mine used to tell me that if I do not talk well about myself, who else will? People will evaluate me like I evaluate myself. Keep the following points in mind:

Do Not Isolate Yourself
Perhaps you tend to be a loner and prefer to keep away from the crowd. If you do it too much, this can leave you open to negative thoughts and feelings and you will find no one to bounce these thoughts and feelings off. When you talk about things to friends and family, it helps to put things into context and perspective. If you keep something to yourself, you often perceive it as bigger and more complicated than it really is. So keep with the crowd, but make sure it is a good crowd. It takes a brave person to mix with people, especially if you tend to be shy, but try, because it is important for your health and development.
“Verily Shaytaan is the wolf of a man just as the wolf is (the enemy) of the flock. He seizes the solitary sheep going astray from the flock or going aside from the flock. So avoid the branching paths, it is essential for you to remain along with the community.” (Imaam Ahmad)

Keep Good Company
Hang around with friends who encourage you and do not put you down. At the same time, do not be afraid to accept criticism (positive criticism) and do not feel ashamed to acknowledge that you have shortcomings— we all have them. It is a part of life, and what makes life so interesting and challenging is the fact that we can rise above the challenges and the weaknesses within ourselves.

Failing Is a Part of Life
If you happen to fail at something, it does not mean you are weak or bad or stupid. Everyone fails at things from time to time and that is how we learn. My friend told me that her father used to say to her, “If people learn by their mistakes, you should be a genius by now!” Allah tests us on how we handle failure. Do we get back up if life knocks us down? How easily do we give up when the going gets tough? I heard in a film once, Katherine Hepburn said, “The world stands back and makes way for the person who knows where they are going.” Now that person will fail from time to time but will keep going and never give up. That is how we should try to be.
We need to accept that sometimes we will fail. It reminds us of our limitations of being a human being. We might get carried away with this worldly life and we might become arrogant or snobbish, so sometimes Allah lets us fail, to keep us humble and to develop good character in us. Everything is for the good of the believer.

Make Realistic Goals
Set realistic goals for yourself. Do not be ambitious about achieving everything at the same time and then kicking yourself when you are not able to.
Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala says that He will give us back what we give out to others and this is proven so often in life. You will find that if you are positive and encouraging to other people, most times people will be the same to you. This is very important to developing and maintaining our self-esteem.

The Importance of Good Self-Esteem?
If you do not have good self-esteem—that means feeling good and hopeful about yourself—Satan will take advantage of the situation and feed us with negative thoughts and feelings until we reach for anything that will make us feel better: that can be alcohol, drugs, suicide, or being violent to people. So you see, low self-esteem is a road that leads to nowhere. It leads to destruction and misery for the person and the others around him/her and Shaytaan laughs because he has won another foolish human being and he will not be lonely in the Afterlife; he’ll keep the company of those who followed him and listened to his destructive, evil whisperings.

Do Not Be a Statistic
Make up your mind not to be a statistic. You know the world today keeps records of just about everything we do, when we are born; when we die; who takes drugs; who marries when, where, and who; who dies of a drug overdose; who commits suicide; and who commits crimes and how long they stay in jail. Do not be a statistic in someone’s computer file, of a young person who did not make it through adolescence because they thought negatively about themselves.

Everyone Has Potential
Every human being is born with great potential, with deep, unfathomable insight, but few unfortunately achieve their true potential. Why? Because they give up too soon and too easily because they do not realize they have this potential; or they listen to people tell them they are useless, lazy, or whatever, and so hide their heads in the sands of life like ostriches. Life passes these people by and they live their lives as failures and die as failures. This may seem a sad and depressing note in this article, however, I write it because I know for sure that it is easy to be a failure and it is also easy to be a success. It does not take a lot of time and energy to talk to yourself so negatively that you actually believe yourself, but if you simply choose to look at life from a positive angle and believe in yourself, trust in Allaah Subhaanahu wa Ta`aala, and follow His Commands, you will find that the tables will turn and you will succeed.

It is up to you to take the first step!

Latiefa Achmat is an Islamic counselor and social worker in Cape Town , South Africa . She can be contacted at


ukhti27 said…
bismiLlah wal HamduliLlah,
as-Salamu`alaikum wa RahmatuLlah...

salam penghulu segala hari
ya habibati :)

sage advice,
jazakiLlah khair for sharing :)
ALLAH `Azzawajalla puts turbulence in our heart
so that our nearness to HIM remains 4ever.

persinggahan ana kali ini
dengan membawa oleh-oleh,
tafadhdhol au tafadhdholi
kepada sesiapa sahja yang sudi :)

-> pertama, -> kedua

fi amaniLlah wALLAHu a`lam bisawab.
Lightnur said…
Waalaikumussalam warahmatullahi wabarakatuh ya ukhti

Jazaki Allah khairan for visiting. Masha Allah, nice photos and may we all benefit from visiting each other.

Fee amani Allah

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