Everyone struggles with self-esteem at some point or another. The struggle may occur during that awkward stage in middle school, it may happen as a teenager, or it may follow you around throughout your life. Being confident and happy in your own skin can be tough, especially when there are so many things out there that are being marketed to make us look younger, thinner and more attractive.

Low self-esteem stems from the feeling that you aren’t good enough, or you aren’t smart enough, pretty enough, tall enough, interesting enough… for whatever or whoever it is that you want. There’s no quick fix for getting over self-esteem issues, but admitting that you struggle with self-esteem and opening yourself up for a way to overcome it is the first step. Here are three signs of poor self-esteem, and ways to feel better.

1. You Feel Like You Need to Prove Yourself

Even with all of the things you have accomplished thus far, you constantly feel the need to prove yourself to others. If you feel the need to prove your worth, whether its to co-workers, family members or friends, you’re stuck on the feeling that you aren’t good enough.self esteem

Try this: Sit down and write a list. Figure out what you think you need to prove and to who. Then ask yourself why you’re feeling this way. Write another list of all your strengths and achievements. Were the people on your first list happy for you when you accomplished your goals? If you still feel the need to prove yourself to someone who has never been supportive of you, you may be wasting your time. Work hard for yourself, not for someone else.

2. You Have Toxic Relationships

Do you surround yourself with people who drain your energy or leave you feeling anxious, rejected or unworthy? If you’re constantly giving to a “friend” and all they do is take, you’re probably in a toxic relationship that leaves you with negative feelings.fighting 3

Try this: Make a list of the compliments you’ve gotten over the years. Put it on your desk or on your nightstand, and add to it whenever you get a new compliment. People who are kind and truly care about you won’t take advantage of you or bring you down. Once you are able to see yourself how others see you, as kind, smart, giving, and loyal — you’ll attract more positive people into your life, leaving no room for those who are toxic.

3. You Don’t Pursue Your Dreams

For every dream you have, you also have a list of reasons why you shouldn’t or can’t pursue it. Even worse, you may not be allowing yourself to dream. Discounting your ability to achieve your dreams is another effect of low self-esteem. You tell yourself that your dreams are too big or too far out of reach.dreams

Try this: The point of setting goals is to dream big. Even if they seem far-fetched at the time, know that you have the ability to achieve your dreams, with some hard work, creativity and the occasional sacrifice. Envision yourself on a train, heading toward your ideal life. What would it look like? Where would you be going, and who would be there with you? Once you have a clear vision, write down your goals and how you plan to achieve them. Work step-by-step to get closer each day. Your dream might just become a reality.

h/t: mind body green