Simple Strategies for Building Self-Esteem

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Christin Myrick offers a powerful tool to help combat the negative messages men are bombarded with every day.

Men of today grow up with unfortunate, self-esteem degrading messages.

Our media culture slaps humor on top of it in sitcoms or dresses it up in passionate looking cologne ads, but the underlying meaning is the same: who you are as a man is dangerous, perverted and not enough.

The breakdown that is happening to the modern male psyche is creating a serious displacement of masculine power and vulnerability in our world today. There are so few places that men feel truly welcomed and even fewer places where they feel they belong.

I grew up in a violent home where there was a daily psychological breakdown of my sense of self. I was made to believe that I possessed no intrinsic value and that everything I did only brought on more disgrace and shame.

As I grew older, I became afraid that everything my tormentor told me was right: that I was worthless, cowardly, slutty, selfish and stupid.

Any time we are put down, rejected or exiled, there is a shattering of our inherent self-esteem. The pieces scatter and we cannot go backward in time to retrieve the lost pieces of ourselves.

We cannot change our past, but we can bear witness to and utilize our pain to help us move forward powerfully.

The Difference between Self-Esteem & Self-Confidence

The difference between self-esteem and self-confidence is an important one.

Self-confidence is to have trust or faith in our abilities. It is about how well we perform, the quality of our work, our ability to connect, or our love making skills, in relation to others.

Self-confidence is born from the strategies and tactics which, in ideal circumstances, we would learn from our parents and community as we grow up.

Most of us did not grow up in the ideal and we’ve had to teach ourselves to have confidence in our abilities as adults. While this is incredibly important, I have seen men build confidence every way to Wednesday and still lack fulfillment.

The trick to creating fulfillment is to first build self-esteem then self-confidence.

The etymology of the word esteem is ‘to value’. Self-esteem, then, is how much value or worth we place on ourselves.

Unlike self-confidence which grows based on our achievements in relation to other, self-esteem is rooted in belonging to the whole.

When we have a unique offering, and it is needed in the whole, we feel an inherent sense of value.

Self-esteem happens when you give your true self to where it is most needed in the world.

One Powerful Strategy & Instant Self-Esteem Boosting

How do we find the gifts of our true self?

To retrieve the power of your genius, look within your pain.

The strategy looks like this:

  1. Find the Pain (words): Write down the top 3 most hurtful words anyone has ever said to you
  2. Specificity: Go deeper with each one, be specific about what the words were directed at (what were you doing or being in the moment?)
  3. Positive Replacement: If you could replace the hurtful-vomit-words with a positive version or a compliment – what would the positive replacement words be? (Try completing the sentence, “It’s okay that ______ . or, I like that ______ .)
  4. Simplify: Simplify #3 until you the positive replacement quality that is 1-5 words in length – this is one of the gifts of your true self

This powerful strategy uncovers the deepest gifts you have to offer.

**Please note, however, that the instant self-esteem boost happens not when you uncover the gift, but when you give it to someone who needs it most. **

I’ve completed a quick example of my own to show you how it’s done:

  1. The Pain (word): chicken-shit
  2. Specificity: when I visibly expressed any fear or anxiety, especially when going to a social situation
  3. Positive replacement: It’s okay that you feel nervous. It’s good to feel what you feel – that way you can be honest with yourself and what you need.
  4. Simplify: I am honest or I am authentic

Instant Self-Esteem Boost: When I give the gift of my authenticity (which is insanely vulnerable!), people tell me it makes them feel safe, free and deeply connected, and when they tell me this it shows me the positive impact I create, it lets me know how valuable I am, and it increases my sense of self worth.

That means wherever safety, freedom and connection are needed is where I and my authenticity belong.

Our intrinsic gifts are not merely the opposite of what ever hurtful things people said to us, but are a deeper extraction of our true nature qualities that at some point caused social or familial exile.

What is important is not so much that exile happens because at some point in everyone’s life we feel outcast or alone. What is important is that we can come back to our selves fully when it does.


Give your Gifts Away. Starting Now.

Find a homeless shelter and volunteer for one hour, bring flowers just to say ‘you’re lovely and thanks for all you do’, buy a coffee for the guy in line behind you.

Do something kind and compassionate; implement your gift to help one person who really needs it today.

Remember, when you give your gifts away to people who need it, it becomes strikingly apparent how powerful you really are and your self-esteem increases naturally.


Commitments Solidify Learning.

Part of building self-esteem is committing to something greater than yourself for the sake of something greater than yourself.

Leave a comment below the blog and tell us what you’re going to do TODAY that is kind and compassionate display of your true gifts.


Originally appeared at


Photo: Flickr/David Goehring

About Christin Myrick

Christin Myrick is Men’s Coach and Writer with international clientele. She works with good guys who want to be better men and assists them to better understand themselves and their authentic masculinity.
Christin doesn’t have any snazzy credentials (in the traditional sense) except for her life, connections and the inspiring experiences that shaped her. She thinks it is important that you know she is an adamant believer in the power of compassion as well as in all the delight that is pink frosting.


  1. Mr Supertypo says:


  2. Thanks for this powerful and inspirational article. I have struggled with depression and self esteem issues all my life, from a pattern of both physical abuse by my mother as a child, and emotional abuse by her as a teenager. I’m putting all my heart and mind into getting rid of my mother’s voice echoing in my head, and your article here is helpful and inspirational. I am adopting Buddhism as my primary spiritual practice, and so much of what you say here is a natural part of Buddhist practice. I am learning the best way to love myself is by doing acts of loving kindness for those I love, and those around me. Thank you for your affirmation of my believe in the power of compassion and loving kindness.

    • Hi Pauly,

      Thank you so much for your comment. I really appreciate your openness and honesty.

      One of my favorite mentors relies heavily on Buddhist practice and taught me to do the same. She is constantly telling me to “be with what is”, which was annoying at first when ‘what is’ was pain, grief and shame! But I am finding, like you have said, that only by being with those voices and the criticisms, by listening to the deepest, darkest parts of our selves, can we truly be free.

      I salute you, a brother on these travels, for loving your self and showing kindness and compassion to your body and mind. This is what alters and altogether stops the cycles of abuse that pass down through the generations.

      Thank you for your path ~ Christin

      • Thanks for your response. That’s exactly what I’m going through. Not easy, but I’m already finding it’s well worth it.

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