Our self esteem is instilled in us during our youth. Being constantly criticized by family, friends, and society tends to slowly strip us of our feelings of self worth. Our low self esteem strips us of our self confidence to make even the smallest of decisions. Improving your self esteem increases your confidence and is a first step towards finding happiness and a better life.

Allaah Almighty says in the Noble Qur'aan:

إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِندَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ عَلِيمٌ خَبِيرٌ

{Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you.

Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted.} (Al-Hujuraat, Verse 13)

firaasahintuition1. Dress nicely without extravagancy. No one is more conscious of your physical appearance than you are. When you don't look good, it changes the way you carry yourself and interact with other people. This doesn't mean you need to spend a lot of money and time on clothes. One great rule to follow is "spend twice as much, buy half as much". Rather than buying a bunch of cheap clothes, buy half as many select, good quality items. Find things that you like and in return, you will like the way you look. Although you must remember to always remain humble and not extravagant.

إِنَّهُ ۥ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُسۡرِفِينَ

"Certainly He (Allah) likes not the extravagant." (7:31)

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said one day in his khutbah:

"Allaah has revealed to me that you should be humble so that no one will boast to anyone else and no one will transgress against anyone else." (Muslim)

2Have good hygiene. Take care of your personal appearance. In most cases, significant improvements can be made by bathing and removing unwanted body hair frequently (excluding eyebrows and without resembling men) by epilating or waxing (exfoliating is a must!), wearing clean clothes and brushing your teeth twice a day. Although alway remember: nothing beats Miswaak.

The Prophet  ﷺ said: "Had I not feared burdening my Ummah (followers), I would have commanded them to use Siwaak before every Salaat." (Reported by Maalik, Ahmad and an-Nasaa'i.)

"From the acts of nature are five: circumcision (obligation for men, but not for women), removing pubic hairs, trimming the mustache, cutting the nails and plucking the hair from under the armpits." (Recorded by al-Bukhari and Muslim).

It is not allowed to leave them for more than forty nights. This is based on the Hadith of Anas (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said, "The Messenger of Allaah set a time limit for us for trimming the mustache, trimming nails, removing armpit hairs and removing pubic hairs. They cannot be left for more than forty nights." [Recorded by Muslim].

Abdullaah ibn Masood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ say: "Allaah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allaah." (Bukhaari, Muslim)

3Practice good posture, without being arrogant. People with slumped shoulders and lethargic movements display a lack of self confidence. They often are unenthusiastic and don't consider themselves important. By practicing good posture, you'll automatically feel more confident. Stand up straight, keep your head up, and make eye contact. You'll make a positive impression on others and instantly feel more alert and empowered. But remember,

 إن ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ ٱلۡمُعۡتَدِينَ

{Truly, Allah likes not the transgressors.} (2:190)

 إِنَّ ٱللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ كُلَّ مُخۡتَالٍ۬ فَخُورٍ۬

{Verily, Allah likes not any arrogant boaster.} (31:18)

4Work out regularly and eat the right foods. Physical fitness has a huge effect on self confidence. If you're out of shape, you'll feel insecure and unattractive. By working out, you improve your physical appearance and do something constructive with your time. If you work out in the morning, it also creates positive momentum that you can build on the rest of the day.

'Aa'ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said, "I raced with the Prophet and I beat him. Later when I had put on some weight, we raced again and he won. Then he said, 'this cancels that (referring to the previous race).'" (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

Muhammad ﷺ said, "Any action without the remembrance of Allaah is either a diversion or heedlessness, except four acts: Walking from target to target [during archery practice], training a horse, playing with one's family, and learning to swim." (At-Tabaraani)

Islaam's holistic approach to health includes treating our bodies with respect and nourishing them with, not only faith, but also with lawful, nutritious food. A major part of living life according to the Creator's instructions is implementing a suitable diet. Choosing wholesome food and avoiding the unwholesome is essential to good health. Allaah Almighty says in the Qur'aan,

كُلُوا مِن طَيِّبَاتِ مَا رَزَقْنَاكُمْ

{Eat of the good things which We have provided for you.} (Quran 2:173)

كُلُوا مِمَّا فِي الْأَرْضِ حَلَالًا طَيِّبًا

{Eat of what is lawful and wholesome on the earth.} (Quran 2:168)

5Give back to others. Volunteer in the Muslim community. This will increase your self esteem.

 وَلْتَكُن مِّنكُمْ أُمَّةٌ يَدْعُونَ إِلَى الْخَيْرِ وَيَأْمُرُونَ بِالْمَعْرُوفِ وَيَنْهَوْنَ عَنِ الْمُنكَرِ ۚ وَأُولَٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

{Let there arise out of you a group of people inviting to all that is good, enjoining Al-Ma'roof (i.e. Islamic Monotheism and all that Islam orders one to do) and forbidding Al-Munkar (polytheism and disbelief and all that Islam has forbidden). And it is they who are the successful.} (Surah Aal 'Imraan:104)

Zaid ibn Thabit narrated the Prophet ﷺ said: "May Allah cause to have freshness and brilliance the man who hears what I say and keeps it in mind, then convey it to others." (Ahmad, 5-183.)

Too Much of an Introvert?

1Compliment others modestly. Break the cycle of negativity by praising people when praise is due unexcessively. In the process, you'll become well liked and it will build your self confidence. By looking for the best in others, you indirectly bring out the best in yourself.

Muhammad ﷺ said: "Do not abuse anyone...Do not look down upon any good work, and when you speak to your brother, show him a cheerful face." (Sunan of Abu-Dawood, Hadith 1889)

Muhammad ﷺ said: "Charity is prescribed for each descendant of Adam every day the sun rises." He was then asked: "From what do we give charity every day?" The Prophet answered: "The doors of goodness are many...enjoining good, forbidding evil, removing harm from the road, listening to the deaf, leading the blind, guiding one to the object of his need, hurrying with the strength of one's legs to one in sorrow who is asking for help, and supporting the feeble with the strength of one's arms–all of these are charity prescribed for you." He also said: "Your smile for your brother is charity." (Fiqh-us-Sunnah, Volume 3, Number 98.)

2Sit in the front row. Most people prefer the back of a classroom or office because they're afraid of being noticed. This reflects a lack of self confidence. By deciding to sit in the front row, you can get over this irrational fear and build your self confidence. You'll also be more visible to the important people talking from the front of the room.

3Speak up. Many people never speak up because they're afraid that people will judge them or think of them negatively. The simple fact is that these are fears everyone experiences. By making an effort to speak up at least once in every group discussion, you'll become a better public speaker, more confident in your own thoughts and recognized as a leader by your peers. One shouldn't fear to speak good words, speak up for that which is right and rewarding.

4Walk faster. You don't have to power walk at all times, but people with confidence walk quickly. They have places to go and things to do. Even if you aren't in a hurry, you can increase your self confidence by doing this because you will look and feel more important.


Remove Your Negative Self-Esteem

1Start from within. Ignore any and all destructive criticism or insults, including any from your past. Your opinion of yourself is the most important opinion of all, because you know yourself better than anyone else. Many of us have been hurt by others at some time. It is crucial not to internalize that abuse and let them continue to hurt us, because that means the other person wins. If we let go of the past, ignore hurtful negativity and make ourselves happy, then we win.

The Prophet Muhammad ﷺ said, "Indeed amazing are the affairs of a believer! They are all for his benefit. If he is granted ease then he is thankful, and this is good for him. And if he is afflicted with a hardship, he perseveres, and this is good for him." (Muslim)

And: "Whenever a Muslim is afflicted by harm from sickness or other matters, Allaah will expiate his sins, like leaves drop from a tree." (Bukhari and Muslim)

2Create daily affirmations. Make a list of all the things you like about yourself and another for things you can work on. Thank Allaah for the good and ask his forgiveness and help from the bad.

{And when your Lord proclaimed, "If you give thanks, I will give you more; but if you are thankless, lo!  My punishment is dire.} (Quran 14:7)

If you've made mistakes that prevent you from believing that you deserve to be happy, take measures to relieve that guilt. Apologize to people you may have hurt (if possible), learn from those mistakes and forgive yourself. Use the Qur'aan as your ultimate guide through this learning process.

{O mankind! There has come to you a good advice from your Lord (i.e. the Qur'aan), and a healing for that which is in your hearts.} (Quran 10:57)

{And We send down from the Quran that which is a healing and a mercy to those who believe...} (Quran 17:82)

From the Ahaadeeth of Muhammad ﷺ comes the story of the man whom the Prophet ﷺ sent on a mission.  He camped close by to some people who did not show him any hospitality.  When the leader of the nearby camp was bitten by a snake, they went to Prophet Muhammad's ﷺ companion for help.  He recited the opening chapter of the Qur'aan over the afflicted man and he arose "as if released from a chain" (Saheeh Al-Bukhaari)

3Start with small steps to gain confidence. Take small steps and make small choices to gain confidence in your ability to make a decision.

The Prophet ﷺ said: "There is no disease that Allaah Almighty has created, except that He also has created its treatment." (Saheeh Al-Bukhari)

As you become secure in your ability to make good choices, you will gain confidence in yourself, and be more secure about your abilities in general.

For example, if purchasing jeans makes you anxious because of the plethora of brands, colors, and styles, then just go with your instincts. Trust yourself and go with whatever feels right to you. And if you really feel you made a wrong decision in retrospect, the situation can be easily rectified by exchanging the jeans.

4Don't always try to please others. It is great to be considerate of others, but think before sacrificing your own needs to please them. Bending over backwards for strangers, mere acquaintances or people you don't trust may leave you with the short end of the stick. In short, don't allow yourself to be used.

The Prophet ﷺ said: "Whoever seeks people's contentment by angering Allaah, Allaah will leave his matters for the people." (At-Tirmidhi)

5Be your own person. Don't try to copy anyone else. You will be at your best when you are being yourself because of your uniqueness. Strive to be your best and do not criticize yourself if you fall short of your expectations.


6Avoid negative people. People who have a negative attitude which may rub off on you are not good for you. If you're timid, loud and aggressive people are probably not good for you, and vice versa. Whatever you do, do not compare yourself to others. Just be the best that you can be.

The Prophet ﷺ said, "The case of the good companion and the bad companion is like that of the seller of musk and the blower of the bellows (iron-smith). As for the seller of musk, he will either give you some of the musk, or you will purchase some from him, or at least you will come away having experienced its good smell. Whereas the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing, or at least you will come away having experienced its repugnant smell." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]

7Face your fears and learn from your failures. We only fail when we do not make the best out of adversity. When something doesn't go the way we would like it to, there is something to be learned from that, which can be applied next time you are in a similar situation. Get up and try again.

Repentance (Tawbah) is a spiritual necessity in Islaam. As humans, who are not infallible, we will commit sins, and we will make mistakes, even with good intentions.

There can be no sincere making of tawbah for any sin or mistake without self-actualization, meaning that we have to first be aware that we are fallible beings, who need to take constant calculation of our intentions, thought processes and actions. The Qur'aan states (59:19),

{And be not like those who forgot Allaah, so He allowed them to forget themselves; these it is who are the transgressors.} (59:19)

If we have knowledge of self, then it enables us to see our wrongdoing, which leads towards a feeling of remorse within us if we are connected to our souls. There cannot be true tawbah without having remorse. In fact, Prophet Muhammad ﷺ stated, "Remorse is repentance." (Ibn Majah & Ahmad)

8Stop the negative thoughts. Try positive thinking on for size. If you constantly tell yourself you are stupid or that you will never achieve success, you will in turn act as such. Improve what's within yourself, have pure thoughts and aim for your Deen, and you will see a change within youself.

وَعِندَهُ مَفَاتِحُ الْغَيْبِ لَا يَعْلَمُهَا إِلَّا هُوَ ۚ وَيَعْلَمُ مَا فِي الْبَرِّ وَالْبَحْرِ ۚ وَمَا تَسْقُطُ مِن وَرَقَةٍ إِلَّا يَعْلَمُهَا 

وَلَا حَبَّةٍ فِي ظُلُمَاتِ الْأَرْضِ وَلَا رَطْبٍ وَلَا يَابِسٍ إِلَّا فِي كِتَابٍ مُّبِينٍ

{And with Him are the keys of the unseen; no one knows them except Him. And He knows what is on the land and in the sea. Not a leaf falls but that He knows it. And no grain is there within the darknesses of the earth and no moist or dry [thing] but that is [written] in a clear record.} (Quran 6:59)

9Don't worry about being "perfect." Aiming for perfection in life is a lost cause because the term means different things to different people. Nobody is perfect in the eyes of everyone else. Instead, seek to achieve goals and know that Allaah alone is perfect.

10Learn to appreciate yourself. Everyone has strengths, weaknesses, habits, and principles that define who you are and can make you distinctive. Spend more time focusing on the qualities about yourself that you like and that are praiseworthy in the Deen. You can better accomplish this by taking up hobbies and projects that you can do which will make use of your strengths. Additionally, by starting on some projects that emphasize your good traits, it will keep you busy so you will end up spending less time thinking about your weaknesses.

11Reward yourself when you succeed. Treat yourself to something nice in the glow of your successes. Believe in yourself as a Musim and others will also believe and trust in you. The best thing you can reward yourself with is an extra prostration (Sajdah) infront of your Lord.