Building self esteem is possible if you are willing to see yourself in a new way.
There are five steps you can work through when trying to take yourself from a place of low self esteem to one of balanced self-worth.
Self Esteem is Your Responsibility
The first step in building self esteem is understanding your role and your responsibility in changing yourself. Only you can change your self esteem. You may believe it is your parents’ or your teachers’ fault. Yes, they may have added to the problem but ultimately your self esteem is now down to you, however uncomfortable that may make you feel.
The problem many people with low self esteem have is that they view themselves as failures before they start – so the idea of change cannot happen as they don’t believe they will ever succeed.
They also often have a tendency to believe what other people say about them so the first thing I am going to tell you is that I know you can succeed at this and yes, you are wrong to say you cannot! If you think you cannot succeed but always fail does that not make you a success at failure and therefore mean that you have succeeded at something? Hmm, there’s some food for thought!
Now that I have you thinking let’s understand a bit more about what is going on with your self esteem and learn how you have the inner hidden power to change your personal view of yourself.
How Self Esteem Works
Self esteem means the regard with which we hold ourselves. Whatever you think of yourself will impact your level of esteem. A higher sense of personal worth is the same as higher self esteem.
If you really believe there is something wrong with you then that will become your reality. For example, ‘guys don’t like me because I’m ugly’. Who says? You do! How many times have you said something about yourself only to have a close friend say they disagree with you? Yet you are convinced you are ugly because you look in the mirror and tell yourself you are ugly. You keep repeating it over and over until you cannot believe anything else. Another way you may subtly bring yourself down is to knock yourself when you make a mistake: ‘you idiot’ you mutter when you drop or forget something.
Think about how you learned something through repetition in the past, the letters of the alphabet, numbers from 1 to 10. If I said to you that 5 came before 4 you would say I was crazy, everyone knows that 4 comes before 5. This is ingrained on your memory – likewise you fix your negative belief patterns until it is hard to accept anything else.
So to be successful building self esteem need to relax and suspend your current self belief.
Get to Know, Accept and Like Yourself
If you want to improve self esteem you need to develop a balanced view of yourself. You are not all bad, nor are you perfect. That is the way we are all made. We learn from our mistakes and experiences. We are all subject to emotions and feelings which can sometimes lead us to say or do the wrong things. Other times we can bring a smile to other peoples’ faces; normally when we are happy and confident in ourselves. If you have low self esteem you are more likely to be miserable and mean and this then reflects on others who may not enjoy your company. You then feel worse about yourself as your moods are reflected in those people you interact with.
This third step in building self esteem is two-fold. Get to know and accept yourself for who you are. Tell yourself you are OK as you. A good start to this is to work in front of a mirror finding good things to say about yourself. Take a long hard look and see the good points and be proud of them. Spot your weak areas and think what you can do about them. If you can’t do anything about them learn to accepting them.
It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe it at first. Keep practising daily until it becomes real. Look at all sorts of other people, and decide if you would like to be them. If not, what is better about you than them?
Be careful though, too high self esteem can lead to conceit and an unpleasant distorted view of yourself too. You are who you are and although you can change some things about yourself, there are many things that make you the unique individual that you are. Look for balance.
You will have skills and talents in some areas but struggle abysmally in others. Be honest with yourself and recognise your strengths as well as your weaknesses. Work with your strengths, improve on your weaknesses or, like with your physical self, accept them as part of you.
Other People’s Opinions
The fourth step in building self esteem is getting a balanced and detached view of other people’s opinions. Other people are entitled to their opinions just as you are. Even if that opinion knocks you down. It doesn’t mean they are right about you. Everyone views the world from their own perspective; no-one is necessarily right or wrong.
If someone insists on persistently being mean to you ask yourself why. Are you doing something to cause this behaviour or are they just miserable anyway; perhaps they feel bad about themselves too. Do you need to change something about yourself or are their comments unjust? Remember that you choose to ‘take’ offence – it is your choice and you can choose to leave it and walk away.
If you have done a fair appraisal of yourself as described above you will know whether there is any truth in what they say and what you can do about it.
Be Your Own Best Friend
The last step in building self esteem is to be your own best friend. Listen to what you say to yourself. Think back to past achievements, no matter how small – at least you had a go. Watch out for when you knock yourself down. Give yourself a break. Accept when you have given something your best shot and be proud of yourself when you have done well as that is the only way you will feel better about yourself.
If you didn’t succeed this time, so what, have another go. Work out why you went wrong and what you need to do to succeed next time.
Mistakes are a great way of learning and give us the opportunity to grow. Achievements deserve recognition. If it is a big achievement for you, even if other people find it easy be aware of your personal effort as this will help you improve self esteem. Don’t judge yourself to other people’s standards and achievements. Do your best, recognise your effort, be confident and be proud. Follow these steps and you will be successful in building self esteem.