Self esteem matters. It is a crucial state of mind that creates space for happiness and wellbeing. Neglecting self esteem affects your relationship with your own self and with the wider world. High self esteem is a characteristic of successful, emotionally fulfilled and courageous people.
To have self esteem, is knowing that you are worth the best and trying your hardest to acquire it. It is the belief in yourself that keeps pushing, against naysayers and their walls.
Feeling good in your skin, is having the confidence and positive mindset to action your life goals with determination and belief in your ability to achieve them. It is to know that barriers can be climbed in order to attract the abundance and opportunities that you deserve and the confidence to interact with others in position of power in order, to improve your overall quality of life.
Your self esteem foundations are most likely to be undeveloped, demolished or strongly stable. In any case, the maintenance of self esteem is often overlooked, its uses taken for granted and its development delayed.
Life is high voltage and we are subject to currents of shock and joy. Our self esteem is like a battery, at best life’s joys have charged our self esteem to the max and we are a positive and energized individual who can fully harness our true potential.
At worst, we will be flat and in need of recharging. The negative charge happens when life’s shocks have lowered down our self esteem, in which case we will have a flattened heart. Left uncharged by life’s joys, we will feel terrible about ourselves and feel suppressed, oftentimes depressed and in fear of loneliness.
What are the signs of low self esteem?
Trademark signs of low self esteem include a string of thoughts and feelings including self doubt, negativity, incapability, discomfort, procrastination, frustration, fear, anger, unhappiness and shyness.
The cause of low self esteem is the constant repetition and internalisation of these thoughts, feelings and false beliefs:
- “I do not believe I can achieve this goal so won’t even try it.”
- “Nothing I do seems to go right.”
- “I believe that most people do not like me.”
- “I am not attractive.”
- “I wonder what is wrong with me.”
- “If I choose something it will turn out to be the wrong choice.”
- “I am afraid to converse with others, I fear that my words won’t make sense.”
Instead of addressing our self image issues, we often prefer to look for unhealthy methods to cover them up and distract ourselves from unpleasant feelings of inferiority. However, suffering shouldn’t be hidden, our inner pain shouldn’t be ignored and band aids are not effective in dealing with our deeper scars.
Don’t repress your chances for success and happiness, you really can make a big leap forward in a short space of time and greatly improve your self esteem. Doing this requires no more effort than asking yourself a few questions along with a willingness to shift from your usual way of thinking to a new ways of thinking and bringing in new positive routines. Check out nineteen ways to boost your self esteem:
1. Play to your strengths
We often hide the beauty of our creative souls behind walls we build to protect ourselves. The truth is, in this life, there is nowhere to hide for too long from others or from ourselves. Knowing your strengths will keep your critical inner voice at bay in situations that your self esteem can’t handle.
Be honest and ask yourself “Who am I?”, What is unique and special about me?”, “What names can I use to describe myself (girlfriend, dad, friend, artist, hairdresser, etc.)?” Then, list your strengths, victories and skills. Low self esteem is linked to our negative self perception; we believe ourselves lacking in security or prosperity especially in areas such as our physical appearance, finances, education and career. Regularly reaffirm that you are experienced and knowledgeable in these areas and find at least one aspect of your life that is a source of pride and joy and explore it as much as possible. As you explore these questions, you connect with your core self, and this is where your real strength lies.
2. Lay down your burdens
So often we dwell on our weaknesses and worries until they seem larger than life and begin to dominate our thoughts and emotions. Spend a few minutes every day writing down your worries and negative thoughts, then close the book and consciously push the negativity to the back of your mind. Concerns that appear so large in your imagination lose their power on paper. Amazingly, after writing them down the anxieties begin to fade.
3. Be true to yourself
Too often we experience failure because we let others choose our goals for us whether it is society, our parents, partners, friends or teachers. So don’t set goals based on others expectations but rather on what you want to do, what you enjoy doing and what you dream about doing. Following someone else’s dreams rather than your own is setting yourself up for failure which is a sure fire way to diminish self esteem, moreover, you could end up trapped in this cycle of failure and deceit.
4. Take risks
Explore the unknown. Take up a new hobby, learn a new skill, read challenging books or engage in a new physical challenge. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes and not being good enough, simply stepping outside your comfort zone is a success in itself, as and every new piece of knowledge gained is a victory which will bolster your self esteem. Even when the end result isn’t as successful as you hoped, don’t overlook how much courage it took to try it and instead looked at what you gained and learned from the experience. Remember trying and failing puts you ahead of the person who didn’t try at all.
5. Become a positive person
Think and speak positively. If you hear a compliment or positive statement about someone you know pass that compliment onto them. Concentrate on speaking positively of others as well as yourself. The more you concentrate your energy on positive reinforcement to yourself and to others, the more you will increase your confidence, self respect and self worth.
6. Discount the negative
Positive feeds positive and negative breeds negative. Too often, negative perceptions of ourselves can be attributed to outside influences so it is a smart move to hang out with supportive people that make us feel good rather than people that make us feel weak or knock our confidence. Don’t accept negative messages from people that say you are not good enough, instead tell yourself that you are capable of doing anything you want just as well if not better than others.
You are not required to live by “I have to” or “I must”, remember everything you do is a result of decisions and choices you made. You always have a choice: to persist or give up, to learn or not study, to practice positive self talk or self sabotage – what you choose controls your present and future. Wise and confident people are not so by luck, they are so because they have made smart choices that support growth of their self esteem. Once you realize and accept this, you will be able to embody everything you always wanted to be.
8. Self love
When low self esteem shows up, it’s often in the form of negative feelings and emotions. Self love is believing that you are capable and worthy of love and success. Use positive affirmations to change the way you feel about yourself: “I am lovable”, “I am capable” and so on. Don’t give energy and power to your negative voice, remember you have a choice to opt for self love instead of self loathing at any given moment.
Be your own best friend. Write on a piece of paper the things you like and dislike about yourself and develop a plan to move those negatives over to the positive side. Likewise, take a look at your positives and make sure those positive qualities stay and continue to develop. As you work out a plan, try to find people who share the same goals as you. These are people that will make helpful friends or mentors to inspire you and help you stay on your chosen path.
Still using your list of positives, talk to yourself to reinforce the positive qualities of your personality. “I am successful, I am attractive, I am self confident!” and so on. Every positive thought should be repeated often since you are what you think! Negative mind chatter is an unwanted parasite that makes you doubt your capability and it slows you down until you stop doing.
10. Do not sleep to evade problems
Sleeping is a means of recuperation so you awaken with renewed energy, ready to cope with life’s challenges more easily. However, many of us numb our pain with ‘chronic sleeping’ which is an evasion strategy to avoid facing the cause of our problems and challenges. Sleeping time away is not really escaping our problems, they will simply remain unaddressed, unsolved and often building up as time passes by. This ‘sleepwalking’ state is often a mask that covers us feeling unlovable, not good enough, ultimately, it is the result of low self esteem.
- Forgive – Forgive yourself, messing up happens to all.
- Give – Give yourself a break, moving on helps us all grow.
- Take – Take a moment, live in the present, rewriting the past is no good for any of us.
- Be thankful
Gratitude goes a long way. Give thanks to the universe for the love and peace that is yours. Swap toxic emotions for compassion. Anger, hate and revenge against stone hearts are only for sad lives. Stay on the bright side.
15. Let go of toxic communication
Unhealthy communication is uncontrolled anger resulting in screaming, abusive language and making unfair and cruel remarks to others. Trying to gain the upper hand by dominating another person is often a consequence of feeling uncomfortable in social situations or a fear of being controlled yourself by someone else. Lack of assertiveness and avoiding making decisions is another type of unhealthy communication. Let it go!
16. Let go of toxic substances like alcohol
Damaged self esteem is the underlying cause of many addictions and can often be linked to alcohol and drug dependency which is essentially a way of drowning and escaping haunting insecurities, rather than addressing their origins. People who have experienced stressful events condition themselves to an induced state of amnesia for relief. These reactions end up becoming a vicious circle where people become trapped between the aggravation of growing challenges and the destruction of self esteem.
17. Celebrate others
To help others is giving back to earth what the earth gives you. Plant seeds of love, respect and joy and water them regularly. If you want love, give love. If you want respect, give respect. If you want joy, give joy. The higher volume of seeds you plant, the greater the harvest of your self esteem and by planting and watering your seeds, you are watering the dry land of others.
18. Celebrate you
Here is a recipe for disaster: Start by comparing yourself to other people. Then add all the things other people have accomplished that you have not and count the things they have that you don’t have. Finally, mix it with the things they do that you wish you could do. Remember, everyone else also looks better than you, so the finished recipe will be far from perfect.
Here is a masterchef recipe: Start by focussing less on others achievements and instead savour your own. Add vast amounts of determination and everything you have in life to be grateful for, leave out what you don’t have, it is not a vital ingredient. To aid digestion pour in all that makes you unique and celebrate the taste of all that is good in this life. The finished result will see your self esteem prosper.
“Why should we worry about what others think of us, do we have more confidence in their opinions than we do our own?” Brigham Young
- Take small steps
Many small victories are better than striving for one big unattainable one. Focusing on small successes will quickly bring an overall feeling of competence and confidence that lead to more. Pat yourself on the back every time you move one step at a time in a positive direction, this is how you build long lasting self esteem.
It’s time to stop thinking that the world is closing in on you and to accept the fact that other people aren’t responsible for your misfortunes. From this moment on, begin the process of improving your self esteem and take control of your life. Remember, change does not always come easily and that is why dedication is its counterpart. Commit to it with a full heart and the results will come!