Living in the Present Builds Self-Esteem

August 12, 2020 Jessica Kaley

When you live in the present and focus on the now, your self-esteem will grow. Poor self-esteem is often accompanied by worrying about the future or getting stuck in regrets of the past. I want to share how I learned to practice this skill. Living in the present can be challenging at first, but you will find it worth the effort as your self-esteem grows.

Before I learned this lesson, I used to think that I couldn't be happy until I lost weight, got the next pay raise, or fixed the numerous flaws I saw in myself. I didn't feel worthy of a happy life. I had anxiety attacks, often, until I started to practice pulling my thoughts out of the future and onto the task at hand. In the beginning, my focus would fail every few minutes, and worry would return. But as I practiced this skill, little by little, my anxiety attacks became fewer and further apart.

The bonus was that by applying myself to whatever I had to do right now, I accomplished more than I expected, which helped build my self-esteem. This skill can also ward off depression by keeping your thoughts on today instead of the past. Here are three helpful hints that keep me focused in the present and on the path to strong self-esteem.

3 Ways to Live in the Present

  1. Do your best each day -- The important lesson I learned about committing to do my best is that my best can fluctuate each day. Accepting this was monumental in building my self-esteem and keeps me focused on the present. Instead of judging myself based on past performance or unreasonable expectations, I start each day by checking in with my physical and mental health. Then I look at my calendar, the weather, and anything else that may affect how much I can accomplish. By the time I'm finished with breakfast, I have reasonable expectations for the day, which gives me a better chance at success and a clear picture of what today's best will look like.
  2. Define your personal vision of success -- After I exchanged a never-ending to-do list for a set of well-crafted life goals, every day became more meaningful. Instead of having a list of tasks often geared to other's expectations, I learned to design my days by prioritizing things I could do that would help me achieve my goals. Every day feels like a success when you bring yourself a little closer to your dreams. My self-esteem grows as I celebrate each baby step I take, and I feel anchored in the present knowing that the journey is as important as the destination.
  3. Create a daily gratitude practice -- When you give thanks daily for what you have, you acknowledge that the present is wonderful, and that helps you stay focused on today. Instead of thinking about the pandemic keeping me isolated and not being able to see or hug my mother and daughter for months, I am thankful for my comfortable home, the safety of my loved ones, and the company of my three cats. Self-esteem blooms when you shift your focus from the negative to the positive aspects of your life.

The Present Is a Gift

Every day is a gift when you live in the present. If you allow yourself to dwell on past misfortunes or mistakes you made, you will become depressed. People who spend too much energy worrying about what might happen in the future experience anxiety. To find peace, focus on the present, and your self-esteem will blossom as you learn to enjoy living in the moment.

Depression still overwhelms me at times. I find it harder to stop my trips down memory lane than to stop thinking about the future, but like everyone else, I'm a work in progress. My success in managing anxiety gives me hope that continuing to practice living in the present will one day help me overcome depression and strengthen my self-esteem even more.

How firmly are you anchored in the present? Tell me whether you think you live mostly in the future, the past, or the now. Do you feel ready to try one of the tips I shared here today? We all grow when we share, and I look forward to your comments.

APA Reference
Kaley, J. (2020, August 12). Living in the Present Builds Self-Esteem, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 20 from

Author: Jessica Kaley

Find Jessica on LinkedIn.

August, 14 2020 at 11:28 am

This helped me tremendously!! Thank you!! I’m contemplating divorcing my husband who had an affair and now I find out he’s still communicating with her. I find myself stuck on the past. As she mistreated me as she had the affair with my husband. And I find myself worried abt the future never being on my own. I will live in the PRESENT!!

August, 14 2020 at 3:00 pm

Susan, I found myself unexpectedly single at age 60 two years ago so I understand your worry about a future alone. Living in the present brought me to the place I am today, and I've really never been happier now that I'm putting myself first and learning to love each day. I wish you the best on your journey.

Leave a reply