In order to build self-esteem, you will need to change two different core beliefs about self-image. The first core belief to change is the notion that you are not good enough (e.g., how you look, how smart you are, how much money you make, etc.). The second core belief to change is the image of success that you feel you "should" have. Here's how to accomplish these two objectives...
Tips for adults with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism on building self-esteem:
1. Act the part, and you will become the part. If you act a part long enough, you will eventually not be acting any more.
2. Always remember: some people do not have proper etiquette, and their stares or rudeness can be confused with a personal vendetta against you.
3. Be a person people can count on.
4. Do not be influenced by people who may be trying to lower your self-esteem in order to make themselves feel more powerful. Walk away.
5. Do not feel awkward in silence – sometimes silence is a good thing. It means you are observant, and that presents a strong sense of self-confidence.
6. Do something nice for others.
7. Do something you really want to do, and be pleased with the results.
8. Don't define yourself as someone with low self-esteem. Once you stop believing that you have low self-esteem, you don't anymore. It's that simple.
9. Don't look to others to validate you, your choices, your value, your moral, your personality, your ideas, or your path.
10. Don't take anything personally. Nothing people do is because of you. What people say and do is a projection of their own reality. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won't be the victim of needless suffering.
11. Find something you do well, and do it repeatedly.
12. If someone tries to deflate your self-esteem, know that they are doing this because they have none themselves and can't bear to see you having any.
13. If you are being bullied by another person, but feel deep inside that you are doing the right thing, then trust yourself. Though it is very hard, and that person will try every tactic to make you doubt yourself (e.g., with guilt trips, emotional blackmail, sarcasm, etc.), remember that anyone who uses those tactics must not be self-assured themselves.
14. If you are in an intimate relationship, do not emotionally blackmail your partner, making him or her feel badly for telling the truth, or just being themselves.
15. If you find yourself listening to what people say about you, and taking it into account, it shows that you are an open-minded, compassionate person because you don't want to hurt anyone. If there is truth in what people say about you, then that is up to you to decipher. Being honest with yourself is paramount.
16. Keep your word.
17. Lose yourself in a hobby.
18. Meet other people through social media or online dating.
19. Most people can keep from feeling negatively about themselves no matter what others say, but if you were exposed to verbal, physical, mental and/or emotional abuse, it may be more difficult to change the perception of yourself. In this case, surrounding yourself with positive people who will support you is vital. Get rid of the negative people in your world.
20. Trust your instincts and judgments from a morally sound point of view.
As one gentleman with Aspergers stated:
Working towards managing asperger's as an adult has it's ups and downs. Over the past few months, I've developed a strong sense of self worth and a sense of self, probably for the first time in my life, by separating myself from others' opinions and my history, all of which was big up. The downside is, thanks to my detailed and expansive aspie memory, I can remember how I've been treated in the past and see when I haven't been treated well by others. I had a choice when I realized I had asperger's: I could keep everything the same and deny it; accept it as a fact of life and use it as a crutch to explain all my problems; or I could work hard to improve my life and try to be happy and a better person, who could manage his aspergers in such a way that I could have strong relationships with others and be able to manage my anxieties. I chose the third path, which I knew would be the hardest. It's just sometimes, I'm faced with how hard it really is.
I would give one point to anyone and everyone: find your self worth. I've been reading a lot about it lately, and realizing that I do have intrinsic self worth has been the biggest help in being able to move forward and improving myself.
Self worth is intrinsic. It is something that everyone has, and is equal among all humans. That doesn't mean that everyone is automatically equal at absolutely everything. One person may be better at sports, another better at math, but neither has any more worth than the other.
More than that, self worth does not change regardless of outside influence. No one can take it from you or lower it, and nothing that happens to you can do it either. Having asperger's, or any other psychological or physical condition cannot change your self worth. Failed relationship, lost jobs, disabilities, or sucking at Halo, none of these things change your self worth.
After spending a lifetime feeling lost and isolated because of Asperger's can be difficult for adults. I know that I had no sense of self worth. My lack of empathy meant I couldn't pick up on others emotions, so I generally felt that no one liked me. It was tough to take, because I wanted friends and relationships. I really felt that something was wrong with me.
It took a lot of soul searching and really taking a look at myself. It felt silly at times, making lists of the things I could do and why people should like me, and why I should like myself. Funny thing was, the list ended up being much longer than I expected. There was more there than I ever gave myself credit for.
Finding my self worth has given me the strength to face things I wouldn't have been able to otherwise. It was a long and painful trip, but totally worth it.
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