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How to Use Positive Emotions to Enhance Self-Esteem

Do you believe you deserve good things? Do have self-trust and believe you’re capable of achieving your goals? Our self-esteem in the overall evaluation of our self-worth compared to others, and our self-trust that we’re capable of achieving goals.

Positive psychology offers insight into the emotional and affective nature of this experience and provides insight into how emotions and mood relate to self-esteem.

Emotions and mood play a role in the evaluations we make of ourselves and others, and whether we believe we’re leading a life of success and significance.

Think about your self-esteem when you feel anxiety, fear, shame, or guilt, as opposed to feeling love, pride, satisfaction, and hope. Think about a time when you felt enthusiastic, energized, and happy, how was your self-esteem? Our sense of self is tied very tightly with our mood and general emotional experiences.

When we feel comfortable and harmonious in the world, we are able to view people as connected and related, and we can generate a positive mood and attitude about our place and purpose in the world.

Here are some suggestions for experiencing more positive emotions and thus greater self-esteem.

Cultivate compassion

Learning to be genuinely kind and loving to others requires becoming aware and acknowledging these positive emotions in ourselves. One way to enhance our self-worth is by having compassion for ourselves and others. A compassionate frame of mind is less judgmental and critical. This can encourage self-acceptance and prompt feeling loving-kindness to ourselves. Once we can do this we can show this love and support to others and build interdependence and greater relationships in the process.

Let go of the past and stay present

Work to let go of the past and be in the present moment. This entails moving beyond the guilt and shame from the past, and experiencing more moment’s forgiveness and gratitude in the present. Build positive emotions in the present by counting your blessings and focusing on what you’re grateful for. Another way to stay present is to engage in enjoyable life activities and really begin using your strengths and living with passion.

Be kind to others

We all make comparisons between ourselves and others. Instead of making loving and respectful relationships toward others and ourselves, we may approach these comparisons with a critical eye. Start focusing on really helping someone and feeling warmth toward them as a person as a way to develop more positive emotions. In short, do something kind for someone else. This can lead to feelings of cooperation and generosity, and relieve personal distress.

Build optimism

I have examined optimism in a previous post. Expecting that positive things will happen and having positive well-being can lead to perseverance and a greater sense of control. These positive expectations lead to greater self-trust and that we’re capable of achieving our goals. Begin to visualize your best possible future and establish measurable and realistic goals to work toward this aspiration.

Learning to focus on what’s going right and expecting positive, good things to happen builds self-worth and self-trust. We begin to see the world through a benevolent and collaborative lens where opportunity, kindness, and victory are natural and everyday occurrences.

Photo credit: liquene

How to Use Positive Emotions to Enhance Self-Esteem

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). How to Use Positive Emotions to Enhance Self-Esteem. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 1, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Mar 2011
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