3 tips to boost your self-esteem

An amputation is a major event with profound implications for your body, your social life and your emotions. With all these changes happening around you, your self-esteem can take a blow. That’s why we’ve lined up three tips to help you boost your self-esteem.

If you can’t find a solution yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to your GP or treating physician to discuss whatever you’re dealing with. Professional help is absolutely nothing to be ashamed of and can make a huge difference in your life!

1. Become aware of your thoughts

"You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge."

Have you come across this famous quote from Dr. Phil before? It might be a cliché, but like every cliché, there is a grain of truth in it. Simply put: you can't change anything if you don't realise that something has to change. That’s why it’s important to become aware of your negative thoughts first, as you can only start distancing yourself from them once know what they are. When you’re aware of your negative thoughts, you’ll be much less likely to believe them!

When you find yourself thinking a negative thought about yourself, calmly acknowledge what’s happening and remind you that it isn’t a fact, but just a thought. Mindfulness is a good way to become aware of your thoughts without judging them.

2. Remember: you are not your circumstances

Every human being is born equal, regardless of their circumstances. Yet many people believe that their circumstances in life determine who they are and what they are worth. If their circumstances are negative, their self-esteem will drop, accompanied by thoughts like:

  • I lost my job, I’m such a loser.
  • I’m on a diet and still ate a chocolate bar, I have zero willpower.
  • I had an amputation, so I’m incomplete.

Do you recognise any of these thoughts? If you do, stop thinking them immediately! Regardless of your circumstances, you’re worth exactly the same as everyone around you.

The idea that we’re worth less than other people is a false belief that we teach ourselves over the years. Teach yourself to get rid of this dangerous belief by looking closely at yourself. What have you been through? And how do these events affect how you feel about yourself? From now on, treat yourself like a good friend and have compassion for yourself. Some things in life are beyond our control. Do not let your self-esteem depend on what happens to you. Remember that you are worth no less than you were yesterday and will not suddenly be worth more tomorrow.

3. Get the very, very best out of yourself!

"Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid."

This apocryphal quote is often attributed to Albert Einstein, but whoever did say it was entirely right! We all have our strengths and weaknesses. Whatever qualities you have, they say nothing about your core value.

Find out what your strengths are and what sense of self-esteem they inspire. People tend to be excellent at bringing themselves down by stressing their weaknesses, but it makes much more sense to remind yourself of why you’re so great! This will help you paint a much more realistic picture of yourself. So: what makes you fantastic and unique?

Tip from Leon, an amputee

First of all, I think it’s incredibly brave of you to tackle this difficult topic. What I’d add is that the first step in every journey is to accept your amputation.

After I lost my lower legs three years ago, I started seeing my amputation as a trait, rather than a disability. It’s just as true as the fact that I have brown hair and it’s never going to change. Sure, there are times when I wish that things had been different and it sucks at times, but spending all this energy to change something that cannot be changed is a waste.

Instead, accept your new situation and make the most of your life day after day, rather than comparing it to what your life used to be like. Of course, what constitutes ‘making the most of your life’ will differ from one person to the next.

I can recommend everyone to get help. You need good support and guidance from the people around you.

Regardless, you’re just as valuable as everyone else and you shouldn’t let anyone convince you otherwise!