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Low self esteem can be hard to ‘cure’. The negative thoughts slowly eat at us, making us feel smaller and smaller: ‘No one cares about me?’ ‘That person is better than me’ ‘I’m not intelligent enough’ ‘I’m too old’ ‘I’m too ugly’ ‘I just can’t do it’. A low self esteem really means a negative attitude towards yourself. We all have had a negative attitudes at one point in our lives and we know the destruction it can cause. Although people resolve their low self-esteem in different ways, the one which I enjoyed the most and worked the best was simply traveling. Traveling which ranges from discovering a city as a tourist to total immersion in a new country and living there for several months. These are five reasons traveling will help you see yourself in a more positive light:
Me, myself and I
Many times we identify ourselves through the people and the environment surrounding us. Our identity is our family, our friends, our hometown. Traveling takes that all away since you are constantly surrounded by strangers and people who have no idea who you are or what you do. By completely being on your own, you start noticing how you interact with others and how you manage yourself. You get to see yourself from an outsider’s point of view which means getting to know yourself all over again. It’s fascinating and amazing; you reconnect with yourself.
The sheer friendliness of people amazed me each time I traveled. Whether it was a youth hostel, a restaurant or just on the streets, people can be much more kind and helpful than you think. This gets even more interesting when meeting new people from all over the world. The more people you meet the more conversations you have about the both of you. Each person has a different response as well as a different story and will have interesting things to say about you. In the middle of a very confusing bitcoin conversation someone once told me ‘you make people feel very comfortable in a conversation’. One of the best compliments I ever received, and it definitely boosted my self esteem. Listen to the little comments and you’ll discover some quirky aspects about yourself you never thought possible.
Out of the box
Traveling really forces you out of your comfort zone. From taking a 9 hour night bus across Italy to staying at a complete strangers’ houses (Couchsurfing), I have done things I didn’t ever think I was capable of. At home, doing this is slightly outlandish, but most times when traveling you have no choice. This obligation means you’re forced out of it no matter what. And guess what? Once you do it, it’s not that scary, making you do it again and again! It ends up being a funny story and a great way to meet even more people. And of course, people are so much friendlier than you think, even if you’re only communicating with sign language!
People are so interesting. I got out of my fear of talking to new people by working as a promoter and guiding people around the crazy Barcelona nightlife. It was terrifying at first, but slowly it got easier. Putting yourself in uncommon and strange situation not only teaches you a lot about yourself, but also about people in general. When you meet new people, you get to put yourself into a newperspective. ‘Wow you’re also insecure about your foot size? High five!’ People are more alike than they are different, you realise they have insecurities, they have emotions and they have problems, just like you do.
It was when I saw the beautiful sunrise on the city of Rome, when I hiked the Scottish highlands and when I gazed at a calm sunset on the Nanjing lake in China that I discovered what it was to really feel life. Not only was I in completely in awe, but I felt a new emotion: glad to be alive. Once again, traveling shows you the world, shows you the great things to be experienced and shows you really need to take advantage of this life you have on Earth. Whether it’s the views, the culture or the people, the entire experience can change you forever. Just keep an open mind.
Of course, traveling has it’s up and downs; less luxury, budget stress, language barriers, etc. But it’s all part of the experience and makes you more resilient for future and better travels. There is so much more to life than a sad existence cluttered with negative thoughts and unhealthy feelings. Sometimes, words of advice and therapy don’t work simply because we can get too deep in our own world. Trust me, beating low self-esteem and feeling confident will always be possible. Get started by buying a ticket and traveling.