‘into every life a little rain must fall’ and this can lead to us feeling less than confident and watching our self-esteem diminish minute by minute, hour by hour, and day by day.
Your self-esteem and mine for that matter is linked to the way we see ourselves and how we interact with the wider world and having poor self-esteem can be seriously debilitating, leading to psychological distress and under achievement.
Your poor self-esteem can be overcome however if you can accept the role your own thoughts play in locking the negativity in place and work to change them.
If we go back to the opening statement in this article we can begin to overcome low self-esteem by simply accepting that in everyone’s life there will be good days and bad days, happy moments and sad ones and that all of these experiences are mostly unavoidable and necessary when living life to the full.
So what can we do? Here are a few pointers in brief.
- Positive Listing. Take time to write down all of the things that you are good at or have achieved in your life so far. Do you check on an elderly neighbour or relative? Are you good with children or great at cooking? Is your garden a bright spot in the neighbourhood or do you compliment people on their good points? This list could go on forever so I’ll stop there and give you time to make your own long list. If you are reticent to write stuff down then you must challenge this and give the exercise plenty of time. Add to it each day for a week and then review it as often as you can, adding to it continually as you see fit. This is another reason why keeping a journal is a good as you could record them in this and review them each and every day.
- Proper Selfishness. It was Charles Handy who first coined the above phrase. Put simply it is having time to engage in your own pleasure giving activities. If you find it difficult to accept that you should have enjoyable time to yourself then ask why. Are other people more important than you? The answer is no! Now plan something pleasurable for yourself. If you need more convincing, consider the surgeon who is about to operate on you. Would you rather he had just worked for twelve hours without a break or anything to eat or drink, or would you rather he had enjoyed a stress free day with a good meal and friendly conversation before he scrubs up? The fact is the surgeon would be better able to help you if he had helped himself. Put this analogy to good use.
- Reviewing Failure. It is necessary to accept that we will not always succeed or win first time and how we view this when it happens is key to maintaining good levels of confidence and self-esteem. If we do fail at something we might do well to consider if eventual success here is going to feed into our self-esteem before we continue. If it is, then it would be wise to learn from our mistakes and carry on. If we honestly think that we could be spending the time more productively elsewhere then we need not hesitate in moving onto this instead. The danger is in moving onto the new project and creating justifications for this.
- Social Circle. Consider for a moment who are the people that you spend most of your time with. Think of your friends, your family and your work colleagues. Now ask yourself which of these people you consistently enjoy the company of. Which of these irritate you? Which of these freely engage in criticism of you and others? Which of these leave you feeling less of value after spending time with them than you felt before? Now consider the opposite. Which of these folks that you are close to bring enjoyment to you when you are together? Which of them compliments you with no agenda of their own? Which of these people are happy for you to be the centre of attention and for you to hold court once in a while? It shouldn’t be difficult after doing this exercise to recognise who you should be spending the most time with and you should be expending your valuable time and effort upon.
- Self Referential Behaviors. Begin to examine the way you talk to others about yourself and how you talk to yourself. This can be most enlightening. First of all try to notice each and every time you use words like ‘I’ and ‘me’, or ‘mine’. This only helps you to lock in the focus you have on yourself and the attention and time you spend making yourself your own centre of attention. Try to aim this focus elsewhere and communicate without the need for these self-references. Then look at how you talk to yourself. Do you criticise yourself in a way that you wouldn’t accept from others or make insulting remarks that you would never say to anyone else? It is important to begin eliminating this by noticing it as it happens and changing this internal dialogue.
Use this article as a guide to measuring your own self-esteem and adopting the right changes to boost the same. More pointers will be along soon.