The aftermath of an abusive relationship can be a challenging time. You may feel like you’re not good enough, that you deserve the abuse, or that you’ll never be able to find someone else. It’s important to remember that none of these things are true. No one deserves to be abused. You are worthy of love and respect. And there are people out there who will treat you well. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to heal your self-esteem. Here are five ways to do that.

1) Be Kind to Yourself
This may seem obvious, but it’s worth saying anyway. One of the first steps to healing your self-esteem is to be kind to yourself. Talk to yourself the way you would talk to a friend in your situation. Be gentle and understanding. Don’t beat yourself up for things that are out of your control. Cut yourself some slack and be as patient with yourself as possible.

2) Learn to Say “No.”
In an abusive relationship, you may have gotten used to putting your partner’s needs before your own. But now that you’re out of that situation, it’s important to start putting yourself first again, which means learning to say “no.” If you don’t want to do something, don’t do it. There’s no need to explain or apologize. Just say no, and don’t feel guilty about it.

3) Practice Assertiveness
Part of taking care of yourself is learning to speak assertively. This doesn’t mean being rude or aggressive—just confident and direct in expressing your wants and needs. It’s worth practicing because it will help you feel better about yourself and help you set boundaries with other people.

4) Adjust Your Thoughts and Beliefs by Replacing Negative Thoughts with Positive Ones

One of the most dangerous things about being in an abusive relationship is the negative thoughts and beliefs that can start swirling around in your head—things like “I’m not good enough,” “I deserve this,” or “I’ll never find anyone else.” These negative thoughts become part of your self-image, affecting how you see yourself and causing your self-esteem to plummet even further.

The good news is that these thoughts are false and can be changed. Every time a negative thought pops into your head, try replacing it with a positive one instead. For example, if you’re thinking, “I’m not good enough,” try saying something like, “I am worthy of love and respect,” or “I am doing my best.” With time and practice, these positive affirmations will become part of your belief system, gradually replacing the negative thoughts and helping you feel better about yourself.

5) Spend Time with People That Make You Happy
Finally, another great way to heal your self-esteem is simply by spending time with people who make you happy—people who treat you well and make you feel good about yourself just by being around them. These could be friends, family members, coworkers, or anyone who makes you feel good around them. Surrounding yourself with these positive people will help balance out the negative voices from your past and remind you that you are worthy of love and respect.

The more kindness, love, and respect you give yourself, the more likely it is that this will become a regular part of how you treat yourself, which will profoundly impact Self-Esteem. Heal yourself, so you can go out into the world and live your best life.

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