I wonder how many people really understand the importance of improving your self-esteem. I see so many people whose lives are held back by their lacking in this one area. Wonderful, talented, beautiful individuals with such fabulous prospects ahead of them, but whose lives are been squashed under their negative feelings about themselves. They are wasting away their god given opportunities, because it is impossible for them to realise their full potential without a positive, healthy self-esteem. I want them to realise how important, and how valuable improving your self-esteem is going to be.
Self-esteem is a powerful human need. It is a basic human need that makes an essential contribution to the life process; it is indispensable to normal and healthy development; it is our own measure of our own personal value.
When we don’t value ourselves highly, we are lacking in positive self-esteem, our psychological growth is stunted. When self-esteem is low, our resilience in the face of life’s adversities is diminished. We tend to be more influenced by the desire to avoid pain than to experience happiness. Negatives have more power over us than positives.
The starting point for both success and for happiness is to believe oneself as being competent to cope with the challenges of life and as deserving of happiness. When you have this type of disposition, you have a positive self-esteem. When you don’t feel like this about yourself, then you best do everything you can to learn how to make the change, so you can adopt this attitude, and benefit from its effects.
The craziest thing about all this is that you have the choice. We are not programmed to think automatically. We have a choice. And in this case self-esteem is a state of mind. It is the way you have decided to think and feel about yourself. It is your determination about your worth, your value, what you believe you can be, do and achieve.
Having high self esteem means having feelings of confidence, worthiness and positive regard for yourself. People with high self esteem feel good about themselves. They feel a sense of belonging and security. They respect themselves and appreciate others. They tend to be successful in life because they feel confident in taking on challenges and risking failure to achieve what they want. They have more energy for positive pursuits because their energy is not wasted on negative emotions, feelings of inferiority or working hard to take care of or please others at the expense of their own self-care. When people have low self-esteem they don’t feel confident about doing things for themselves, or using their talents and abilities in the best way.
Self- Esteem is the opinion you have about yourself. Everyone has self-esteem. It is based on your attitudes and beliefs about your-self. Your self-esteem can have an effect on your behavior and the choices you make. So do you find it difficult to think of and express good characteristics about yourself; often bad or negative points seem to be easier to identify. The best thing you can do when you have a negative thought about yourself is to realize that just because you think it doesn’t mean that it’s accurate.
When you have low self-esteem, you worsen it through thinking distorted, negative thoughts.
“I am not good enough.”
“What will others think?”
“I can’t adequately do anything.”
“I am too tall/skinny/dumb/fat/ugly/etc.”
“I can’t do anything right.”
“Why would anybody love me.”
“It is horrible to make a mistake.”
“I am never going to be good enough.”
Low self-esteem can negatively affect virtually every facet of your life, including your relationships, your job and your health. When negative thoughts and feelings take root, they become powerful thought patterns that form habits of thinking. Before long, we begin to think in ways that limit our growth and self-development. We begin to doubt ourselves and feel dissatisfied. We become afraid to accept challenges and feel unworthy, even when we do accomplish important things. The deeper these thought patterns take root, the lower our self esteem falls, until we cannot envision what it is like to feel good about ourselves.
It is important to know that self-esteem can be gained at any time in life. You need to change the negative thoughts and behaviours that foster low self esteem and replace them with positive ones that build self esteem.
The rewards of developing self esteem include being able to take risks, having positive relationships, not being held back by fears and insecurities, pursuing your dreams and desires, making good choices and reaching your goals.
So today I want to help you. Let’s start by getting you to think about and answering these questions:
1. What type of environment were you raised in: positive, negative, perfect, or Conflicting? Describe it.
2. What are some things you value about yourself?
3. Do you like yourself most of the time?
4. When do you feel best about yourself? Most fulfilled?
5. When do you feel “down” on yourself?
6. Choose a situation from your life that fits a negative self-esteem description. Recall in detail your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
7. Choose an example from your life that fits a positive self esteem description. Recall in detail your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
8. Do you notice any change in your energy level, emotions, and bodily reactions when you think of the more positive situation? Describe this.
Now let me give you a brief exercise to enable you to feel better about yourself. If you have low self-esteem, its time you utilised harness the power of your own thoughts and beliefs to change how you feel about yourself. Start with these four steps to gain a more positive self-esteem.
Step 1: Identify situations that trigger feelings of low self-esteem
Think about the events or situations that seem to reduce your self-esteem. Common triggers might include:
- A business presentation
- A job interview
- Invitation to a Party
- A crisis at work or home
- A challenge with a spouse, loved one, co-worker or other close contact
- A change in life circumstances, such as a job loss or a child leaving home
As you identify what your core beliefs about yourself are, and where they come from, you can begin to challenge and change them.
Step 2: Catching the negative critic in you
Once you’ve identified troubling conditions or situations, the triggering situations , pay attention to your thoughts about them, how your mind is interpreting them. This includes your self-talk — what you tell yourself — and your interpretation of what the situation means. Spot those negative things you keep telling yourself.
Step 3: Challenge negative or inaccurate thinking
Question your negative or inaccurate thinking. See if there’s another way to view a situation so testing the accuracy of your thoughts. Ask yourself whether your view is consistent with facts and logic or whether other explanations for the situation might be plausible. Don’t accept your negative opinion. Question them from now on, seek alternatives. No longer settle for being less than you are. Now is the time for you to stop undervaluing yourself and putting yourself down . No more overreacting to situations, and seeing yourself as a failure, as being good for nothing. Do not let yourself do this anymore.
Step 4: Adjust your thoughts and beliefs
Now replace negative or inaccurate thoughts with accurate, constructive thoughts.
- See the possibility in every situation.
- Believe in the chance of a successful outcome
- Accept you will make mistakes, and when you do, learn from them
- Remind yourself of things that have gone well recently.
- Consider the skills you’ve used to cope with challenging situations.
- Give yourself credit for making positive changes.
- Know you are special
As you begin to identify the thoughts and beliefs that are contributing to your low self-esteem, you can deliberately counter them — which will go along way to supporting you in valuing yourself higher. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well-being are likely to climb considerably.
Accept yourself, however you are at this moment, and know you can be anything you want. No longer tell yourself differently.