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Helping Someone Can Enhance Your Self-Esteem

By — One of many Emotional Health blogs on

Welcome back to Mental Marvels-where the focus is brain behavior and mental phenomenons.

Everyone has self-esteem.  Whether it is high or low, everyone has it.  Today, I thought that I would address, specifically, how one could potentially boost his/her self-esteem.  There are many ways to bring up someone's self-esteem, but I recently came across an article that introduced me to an approach that I have not considered before: doing good deeds for other people.

What makes us feel better?

People often feel better about themselves when they keep a difficult resolution, carry out a challenge, solve a problem, learn a skill, scratch off something unpleasant on their to-do list.  Gretchen Rubin of Psych Central says, "I recently performed a very small good deed that gave me a boost: I threw away someone else’s trash. I’ve always been careful to throw away my own litter, but it never occurred to me to do anything about random litter lying around."  I find it interesting that doing something as picking up someone else's trash could improve the way that I feel about myself.

Do Good, Feel Good

The article focuses heavily on the saying, "do good, feel good".  Rubin talks about a friend of hers who had been fired from her job, didn't get into a graduate program she had applied for, and her boyfriend had recently broken up with her.  Most people would be in the process of hitting rock bottom after having so many things go wrong in such a short period of time, but she found a way through it. Rubin asked her what she did to push passed a very rough patch in her life and she responded by saying, "I was practically addicted to doing good deeds for other people. It was the only way I could make myself feel like I wasn’t a total loser."  In other words, she felt like she had a purpose and had made a difference.

I know that I, too, feel better about myself after helping someone else out.  I work as a valet at a hospital and I can't express how rewarding it can feel some days.  Yes, my job is to park people's cars.  However, when I am told how much some people appreciate our service, it can really turn my day around.  Sometimes I just have those days where I'd rather be anywhere other than at work, but when I have one person tell me how grateful he/she is to use the service we provide, my outlook is completely reversed.  There is a countless amount of people that come into the hospital who have a difficult time walking and often need a wheelchair in order to get around.  Of course, providing wheelchairs to those coming into is not in my job description, but it makes me feel better to accommodate those who need assistance.

If you want to boost your self-esteem, consider helping someone out.  It doesn't have to be anything major, even the little things can make a difference.


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