The beginner’s guide to getting self-esteem and self-confidence

Alright it comes down to this.

Why beginner? Because there’s none out there like this.

This is real. This is not made up. This is written by me, a real person who has messed up and fucked up too many times to count.

I totally know how it feels to feel low in life; to feel beaten down and hopeless to the point that trying even seems like an uphill task.

The problem with everything about self-help

Too many guides out there are written by self-professed “gurus” who are basically full of shit or by people who I like to deem as too positive. Well meaning as they are, it ain’t real. They have the solutions, but they put it across as if it’s easier said than done.

And that’s never the case.

It lacks empathy. It lacks sympathy.

We’re dealing with self-esteem and self-confidence here, which consists of raw, human emotions, created from the saddest moments in your life, the happiest feelings or the angriest fire that eats you up inside.

I know how it feels.

Cliché advice that go unexplained: 

That’s how you end up with solutions like, “Get over it” and “Time heals all”, expecting the person in need of a dire solution or help to deal with it, just like that. That hurts even.

Dorky “training” practicals:

This is where the “guru” or self-help book tell you to do something like go do a random good deed today or say hi to a stranger. Sometimes, they go further by asking you to do something totally weird and out of character, like lying down in the middle of the road.

Are you sick of this shit?

I certainly was. When I read crap like this I’m like… What?

Not many people could help me and I had to find a way out on my own mostly.

But does self-help work? It does. I’ll explain later.

Right now, this is for you. This is novice. This is beginner level. This is realizing that you’re very flawed and capable. This knows you’re going through something in your life and you aren’t exactly sure what to do.

Whoever you are… I honestly don’t care. You probably made a ton of mistakes, like hurting someone or even your mom. You probably feel life’s not treating you right as people around you bully you and treat you like crap. You probably feel listless and passionless, as if life sucks energy out of you.

Something may have gone horribly wrong in your life before (Tell me about it. My dad died when I was 20) and you’re just uncertain about your future.

There’s always a way out. Life can be better and there’s possibility that you can stop feeling like shit soon.

So let’s cut the bullshit!

The BEGINNER’s guide to getting self-esteem and self-confidence.

The definition of self-esteem and self-confidence

Self-esteem- a realistic respect for or favorable impression of oneself; self-respect.

Self-confidence- realistic confidence in one’s own judgment, ability, power, etc.

We aren’t going to get complicated here.

The problem with these two important things in life is that people who suffer from the lack of it are just lost.

You KNOW you need it. You know you want more of it.

And it’s just that. “I want and need more self-esteem and self-confidence”.

It’s mostly cause somebody told them just that, and left it as that.

OR, conversely, the problem comes when things get too complicated as new ideas and terms get intertwined in it, like fear, social confidence, the leap of faith, jobs etc.

So let’s go deep, but not too deep:

Self-esteem: It simply means respecting yourself.

And as with all cases, you have to earn that respect.

Self-Confidence: It simply means being comfortable being yourself, your own way with whatever you are.

That’s all. Keep this simplicity in mind. No more kumbaya or weird terms. You’re only human so give your brain a break.

The enemies of self-esteem and self-confidence

Lack of life experience:

That means to say, you’re not getting out there. You lack knowledge on what potentially could be your life; your answers just because you’re not experiencing it.


Bad people that is. They’re around you all the time and they’re dragging you down. It happens. Sometimes, it kind of isn’t your fault, but the overwhelming effects negative people have around you just weighs you down.

That doesn’t do you any good.

Negative thinking:

Call it negative energy, feelings or whatever. They’re all negative.


Yes you. Only you.

That’s all. The big 4 you need to slay.


Realistic guide to getting self-esteem and self-confidence. For the beginner.

You ready for this?

It’s realistic, but I’m going to go hard on you. It has no bullshit. It’s harsh even.

ARE YOU FUCKING READY to step your shit up and start feeling awesome about yourself again?

You’re going to see how everything ties up, for you.

1) Find passion

I’ve written extensively about passion so many times that I lost count.

Yes passion is cool. It’s awesome. All the cool people got it.

But yeah, I know it sounds overrated, especially when you hear of some successful guy who “works a few hours a day”, “earn lots of money online” and then “love his life everyday”.

So, look at passion this way:

If you really want self-esteem and self-confidence, you absolutely have to, without any doubt believe everything about yourself. You need to believe in yourself and have total trust that you what you are, what you think and feel are all real.

There’s simply too much crap and noise out there in the world today. Schools, institutions, the news, TV and others are always ready to tell you what is real; what to believe in.

Seeing is not even believing any more.

What you need to do is to have your own truth, and hold on to that.

What is your truth then? What is true to you so much so that no one else can take away and you can’t even LIE to yourself?

You simply believe in your own experience, which turn into memories which you never, ever forget.

You live, you create experience and it’s in your forever. No one else can take that away.

Now, how do you find this set of truth for yourself? How do you know you’re heading in the right direction in life?

You find passion.

How do you know passion is truth then? Cause passion makes you come alive and makes you feel good about yourself.

And if there’s something more true in life than feeling good and happy about yourself, I’d like to know.

Get passion, get true and never deny again. That’s going to clear a shitload of confusion within. That’s going to level your esteem and confidence.

Anyway here’s my guide on finding passion.

2) Please eliminate the bad people in your life

Yes, sometimes it isn’t your fault.

Sometimes, there’re just assholes around you and you have to deal with them.

That being said, it’s your job to make that environmental switch; to utilize this hack that changes your location.

Stay away from toxic people, as people like to teach. It’s true.

There’s really no point or rational reason to allow someone else other than you make you feel unhappy or anything less than positive (or even define your truth).

And yes, try as you might, the people around you will always affect you. It’s up to you to tip the scales so you can either feel great or feel like shit.

“You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”- Jim Rohn

Very true.

So instead of looking within, sometimes you gotta open up your eyes and look around. You’ve been sucked in and in turn feel trapped because of the things around you.

This is a simple trick in life. Just do it.

Besides, if bad people bring you down, good people lift you up. It’s automatic. Just feel for it.

3) Take action with experimentation

Taking action must be one of the most overrated line I keep hearing. It’s even getting annoying.

Let’s take it a step further.

You need to take action by EXPERIMENTING.

There’s really no point in taking action for the sake of taking action just because someone else told you to.

What’s the point of telling yourself, “I’m going to take action today!” but… you aren’t sure what? You aren’t sure of the result? You aren’t even sure of what you want?

So, experiment.

That means getting out of your comfort zone, feeling the fear, taking the leap of faith and what have you.

It’s all about the FEELING. Whether you do something awesome later on or fail miserably, it doesn’t matter. You felt it. That’s how you grow in big, major steps (nothing small).

This is WHY the aforementioned “dorky” training actually works. Talk to a stranger. Do a good deed. Do something weird. I don’t care. they work. Go try.

4) You’re going to have to get out there and start making shit happen on your own

Because you need experience.

Self-esteem and confidence don’t come from reading a book, reading blogs or listening to others’ and their stories.

It’s about getting things done and making shit happen for yourself.

You need experience so you can see for yourself how it’s really done and how it really feels like.

You need experience so you can prep yourself for the future. Whether it’s good things or bad things, anything that comes your way? You get ready like that.

That’s why I just wanted to say now…

Don’t even fucking take it from me!

I wrote this to help you.

But remember, this is the guide to getting self-esteem and self-confidence according to ME, Alden Tan. It’s just that I’m kind enough to make it a beginner’s one to help you even more.

Self-esteem and self-confidence don’t have to be that elusive in life, but it certainly takes some work and action.

You’re going to want, nay HAVE to create your own life and  forge the path of awesome according to [insert your beautiful name]!

But hey… take it easy eh?

First, I just wanna say, if you’re all the way here reading this guide, you’re already pretty frigging awesome.

That’s because you’re very self-aware of a problem you have and you want to do something about it.

You don’t see it, and you probably have no idea, but there’re TONS of unhappy people there who low self-esteem and they lack any kind of confidence to get shit done; to do what they love.

That’s when people work a job they hate for some loser boss and then they’re like, “I have to accept this cause it’s work. Everybody else thinks it’s normal”.

That’s when people are in abusive relationships with self-destructive partners and they’re like, “No, it’s okay. I’m in love”.

You don’t know it, but you’ve made a ton of progress already.

And I may have been harsh, but come on, LIFE ISN’T THAT BAD.

Don’t get too cooped up in your own world. Maybe you feel shitty, sad, down, out and hopeless, but if you were to just try… just try a little, you’d know that life can be great. You can be great, then life serves you.

You’ve already come this far. There’re no excuses to not go further. No excuses I tell ya.

You got one life, and you got to live it to the fullest and be happy, not let some lame ideas of esteem, confidence, fear, comfort, respect and WHATEVER get you down.

Don’t even let you get you down.

Just start somewhere. We all have to. So ease into it. Stop being so bloody harsh on yourself. 

Am I ready? I’m not sure I can do it?!

I know life can be pretty harsh. I know even you can be hard on yourself. I got my bad days too.

How about fear? How can I get over fear?

How can I take the leap of faith?

Is passion really that important?

alden copy for sidebarI get these questions all day from readers who email me, which is how I created my book, Ready Your Life. It has no bullshit, no fluff and nothing new-agey. All realistic and practical advice for people who need help. That’s all.







Other simple guides that can help

Zenhabits25 killer actions to boost your self-confidence

I’m a big fan of Leo Baubata and Zen Habits. He’s deep, but somehow he always gets through. These 25 actions are said with meaning, hence not dorky and cliché at all.

In Over Your HeadThe complete guide to not giving a fuck

Julien Smith is currently my favourite writer in the scene. He’s totally real and has no bullshit. This guide… is very complete. It has a nifty guide inside called How to get back your self-respect in 5 easy steps

Think TrafficNeed some Motivation right now? Read this IMMEDIATELY!

This article woke me up. Really. No lie.

Watch this video.

No seriously. Just watch this video. Take a break from those compilation-motivational videos for a second and feel the energy from a single person who made it.

What do you need help with?What do you wanna do?

Your turn.

How’s your own experience in dealing with life? With improving with whatever that’s inside?

Let me know in the comments. We all can help each other.

Remember- Take action with experimentation. Try all sorts of different shit out. Failure only comes when you stop trying.



P.S. Don’t forget to check out Ready Your Life is you want some real practical advice. Still struggling with self-esteem and self-confidence? Step it up!

And if you know someone you think can benefit from this, help me share it. Thanks.

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  1. Patrik Edblad - May 2, 2013 8:45 am

    Heya Alden,

    Great article, I definitely agree that a lot of the stuff from self-help books on self-esteem doesn’t help. Some of the advice given can even have a negative effect on your personal growth as you can become way to focused on yourself and end up annoying all the people around you which is a sure-fire way to lowering your self-esteem.

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • alden - May 3, 2013 8:27 am

      Yes! ANNOYING PEOPLE. That’s the key. What’s the point of trying to better yourself when it may potentially piss off people around you?

  2. Dipak Amin - May 2, 2013 10:45 am

    Hi Alden,

    Once again you have boiled down the essentials – thing is – advice only works if its taken and you have made it easy to follow…am going to share this with a few of my clients.

    Have a great day – keep writing.

    Kind regards,

    • alden - May 3, 2013 8:26 am

      Thanks man! Let me know what they think of it!

  3. Peter - May 2, 2013 1:46 pm

    Excellent! Just like you to keep it real and stir it up!

  4. hugo - May 4, 2013 5:47 pm

    Nice, Thanks Alden!

  5. Steven J Fromm - May 9, 2013 1:08 pm

    Hey Alden: First time at your site. Pretty good message with a lot of truth. Surrounding yourself around the right people is a very important point and not thought about much. Great post that really kept my interest.

  6. Jose - May 14, 2014 9:48 pm

    I’m looking for clothing and style ideas at a reasonable prices for a woman over 25.. . Anyone know any good sites or blogs?. . Seems like everything I find is either geared toward teens or is insanely expensive couture.. . Thanks!.


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