Self esteem impacts every corner of an individual's life. Self esteem building workshops and exercises may have their place, but when it really comes down to it, the individual has to decide that they want to do this and will put the effort into improving their self esteem. While it may be difficult at times, there are steps to follow in the effort to improve self image.

Understand that you are the only one that can control your self image. Yes, outside forces can hurt, but it is ultimately up to you to not define your self image by them. Your self esteem is under your control, don't give that away.

Don't set yourself up by letting other people set your goals for you. I'll use myself as an example. My mother wanted me to go to ballet lessons and be the star of the show. If I would have based my self worth on what she wanted me to be, it would have been a disaster. I was a rough and tumble tomboy with more than two left feet and had no desire to be in the spotlight.

Don't set unrealistic goals for yourself either. I'll use myself as an example again. I have never set unrealistic goals for myself. If I had set the goal of being the most perfect wife and mother in the world, and let my self worth depend on achieving that goal, I'd have no self worth by now. I'm human. I've burned a few roasts, lost patience with the kids and rolled my eyes at my husband for his lack of laundering skills. Yes, these are rather silly examples, but the principal is the same. You will allow your self esteem to be damaged if you base your self worth on someone else's goals for you and your own unrealistic goals.

You have to put an end to negative self talk. You will shred yourself by belittling yourself. You're human, all humans have strengths and weaknesses. Acknowledge your weaknesses and improve them if you can but don't base your confidence on them. Emphasize your strengths. Acknowledging your strengths bolsters your confidence.

Seek counseling to help you with these steps if you feel you need to. Participate in the workshops and exercises but know, in the end, you are ultimately in charge of how you feel about yourself.