If you are struggling with your self esteem, know that you are far from being alone.
Nearly everyone has experienced low self esteem at some point in their life and I say this with a lot of confidence.
The only difference between people is that some experience it more often than others.
I myself suffered from low self esteem for a long time and I know how awful it can be.
Thankfully for me it is a thing of the past, so now I want to share with others what worked for me and helped me overcome low self esteem.
WHAT IS SELF ESTEEM AND WHY IS IT SO IMPORTANT IN LIFE
Put simply, Self esteem is how you feel about yourself, so it is an emotional state.
This emotional state depends on two core beliefs about your self-image which is the idea or the concept that you have about yourself): – 1. How worthy you are and 2. How does your self image compare to your ideal self.
When you have a good image of yourself (you like how you look, you think you are smart and likable…).
You feel you are worthy just the way you are, this is quite obvious.
When you see that you are where you should be (having the right career, having the right relationship…etc), you feel good about yourself.
A strong self esteem is the positive result of these two mental reflections.
So in order to fix a low self esteem, you need to look into these two core beliefs.
WHAT CAUSES LOW SELF ESTEEM
As we saw earlier, low self esteem is causes by either feelings of unworthiness or that we are far behind where you are supposed to be.
But where did feelings of unworthiness originate from? How did we come to decide that we are not good enough? How did we come up with the “ideal self” that we do not seem to attain?
Better health Channel lists 6 main causes of low self-esteem which I agree with:
- Unhappy childhood where parents (or other significant people such as teachers) were extremely critical
- Poor academic performance in school resulting in a lack of confidence
- Ongoing stressful life event such as relationship breakdown or financial trouble
- Poor treatment from a partner, parent or carer, for example, being in an abusive relationship
- Ongoing medical problem such as chronic pain, serious illness or physical disability
- Mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression.
HOW TO FIX A LOW SELF ESTEEM
In order to fix your low self esteem, you need to first be aware that you have a self esteem issue.
You see, I suffered for years from situational low self esteem but I was not aware of it.
I was only aware of the symptoms that poisoned my life but I would always rationalize it that what is happening has nothing to do with me and never admit to myself my insecurities.
So many of my problems could be traced back to my self esteem issue. In other words, it was my low self esteem which attracted these problems in the first place.
You can only reverse the process of low self esteem if you admit to yourself first that you have a low self esteem.
Then you will need to locate the problem by doing an introspection on yourself.
If you feel you are not good enough and you are unable to accept yourself, what exactly makes you feel that way?
It is your looks when you look at the mirror, is it how dump you think you are, is it your social skills, it is past memories, bad experiences, did you always feel that way about yourself or is it someone who made you feel that way ( parents putting you down, being bullied at school, rejected by your peers)?
If the issue is rather your inability to meet your own expectations of yourself, I invite you to take a closer look to these expectations.
Is your ideal self an idea that originated from within you or was it the result of your environment or society expectations of you?
I personally believe that having expectation on oneself is actually a good thing.
It is the drive that makes us grow, but having the right expectations is key to a healthy self esteem and the right expectations are the one that only make you a better version of what you are already, not the ones that try to make you fit in a certain idea of what you should be.
If you are suffering from not meeting your expectations, my guess would be that your ideal self is a construct of others people’s expectations.
You have learned to value other people’s opinions more than yours, and you judge yourself and your success based on other peoples standards, without allowing yourself to even acknowledge your own standards.
We cannot expect a fish to survive on the land but we all know how fast a fish is in the water.
Once you define problem, you can follow these 16 tips to improve your self esteem.
And remember And do them with this mindset “Take action +trust the process” you will see improvement in due time”
1. Acknowledge your uniqueness
In his book Mastery, Robert Greene talks about the fact that every human being is born unique being.
We are all born with a unique DNA and brain configuration that never happened before and will never happen again.
Each one of us has unique combination of skills, traits and inclinations, and to have a high self esteem is to acknowledge this uniqueness and to see yourself neither above nor beneath anyone.
2. Separate who you are with your successes or failure or opinion of others
You should draw a clear line between what happens to you in terms of successes and failures and who you are as a person.
Your successes and failure do not define you; they are external events which happen to you.
3. Don’t compare yourself to others
Avoid comparing yourself to others. Understand that you are never really comparing yourself to others.
You are merely comparing your self-image with what you think you know about others, and this is very dangerous because everyone is trying to look good.
I know it is harder than ever not to do it because of all these people exposing their perfects lives on social media out there.
Realize that what you see on social media or even in real life in the workplace for example is an illusion.
Everyone is trying to pretend that they have a good life because essentially everyone is insecure.
The truth is life is not meant to be perfect, and that beauty of life is its adversity.
4. Develop self reliance
Most of the people who have low self esteem never developed self reliance because they do not trust themselves and their capabilities that they are always going to others for everything they need.
They are unable to make their own decisions, they cannot have their own opinions, and they are always seeking external validation and avoid any disagreements because they have so much to lose.
The danger of being dependent on others is that most people have their own best interest in mind not yours and are completely unpredictable.
This is a big theme for me because I believe that one of the things that saved my self esteem was the fact that I was forced to develop self reliance because of my pride.
I would try to rely on others for my needs until I would be rejected and my pride would take a hit.
So I literally was forced to become self reliant because I did not want more damage to my pride.
Self reliant people always look inwards first for answers and solutions, and in that process they discover that they have all the resources to develop the skills they need in order to not only to survive but to thrive.
That does not mean they do not need to connect with others, but their self reliance enable them to connect from a place of strength, not from a place of neediness and insecurity.
5. Be kind to yourself
Treat yourself with kindness not superficially but from the inside out:
- Develop unconditional acceptance of who you are right now and where you are.
- Accept your past, and learn from it.
- Don’t judge yourself, if you made mistakes in the past, know that everyone does. If you failed at something, know that most people do even successful ones. You are just human after all.
- Don’t put yourself down and self sabotage yourself, it is already enough to have other people trying to sabotage you.
- Allow your emotions to express through feelings, bad or good, acknowledge the way you feel and don’t try to stop it or distract yourself away from how you feel.
6. Expose yourself to adversity
The only way you can unfold your resilience and your capabilities is by exposing yourself to adversity.
Welcome challenges. Whatever you fear, go toward. Do the things you are avoiding and just trust the process.
You will soon realize that there isn’t much to be afraid of.
7. Be selective of who you listen to
The only opinion that matters is your own opinion about yourself and it of people who truly care for you.
Realize that most people opinions are a reflection of their own state of mind and past experiences. They are not the absolute truth
8. Don’t value yourself based on superficialities
So many people confuse their worth with their wealth, their family background, their social status their looks or their fame…
This misconception makes the less privileged people pursue external things for the wrong reasons, In the hope of bettering their self-esteem if they improve their condition…little that they know that without working on their self-esteem first, they will never improve anything.
True self-esteem comes from the inside and can never be taken away from you, because nobody can take from you how you feel about yourself, but the government or a lawsuit can take away your wealth and social status and time will take away from your looks.
write down a list of things about yourself that you are actually proud of.
Don’t be ashamed of yourself, your family background or your conditions.
9. Don’t tolerate mediocrity
When you believe you are equal to your peers and do not rely on others for your needs, you will not tolerate mediocrity.
The main reasons people tolerate bad behavior is either because they view themselves as inferior based on superficialities or because they need validation from that person because they cannot give it to themselves.
People will only treat you the way you allow them to, so the way people treat you is your responsibility.
If you want to have a high self-esteem, you need to set healthy boundaries with people, demanding respect and not accepting anything less than the treatment you deserve
That means being brave enough to walk away from people who don’t meet your standards, who crosses red lines and not look back.
10. Put yourself first and don’t feel guilty about it
If you encounter a situation where you have a choice between meeting your needs first or others people, always choose yourself.
Never compromise at the expense of your own well being and get out of a situation which does not serve you without feeling guilty.
People who ask you to put them before you should not be in your life in the first place.
11. Practice self-care
Develop the habit of taking care of yourself. Treat your body as a temple. It is the only place you have to live. Take care of it. Eat healthy, go to the gym.
12. Value your time and your company
Time is the most valuable thing we have because it is the only thing that no money on earth can buy.
So do not spend it doing the wrong things with the wrong people.
Time is better spent alone than with people who don’t appreciate and value your company.
13. Don’t allow people to shame you for having standards
People who cannot meet your standards will try to shame you for having them.
That is because they are jealous that they cannot impose any standards on others like you do. They have accepted their condition and want everyone else to do the same.
14. Be your own source of wellness
Develop your own resources to create happiness and well being in your life. never rely on external sources of well being like other people’s validation, society, drugs and so on.
15. If people do not want to be part of your life, not only you let them go but you actually show them the way
Never try to retain or convince someone to be part of your life.
If someone wants to leave you behind, that is because they don’t see any value in your and even if they are wrong ( and I am sure they are because everyone has value).
Your reaction should be to exactly give them what they want, let them go and even show them the way.
16. Not trying to be part of any club for the wrong reasons
Jim Rohn famously said
You’re the average of the five people spend the most time with
So it is very important to choose your circle wisely.
but you should not try to be part of a club, enter a certain social circle just to be perceived a certain way by others or to feel good about yourself.
If anything you are your own club and the right people will be drawn to your and will want to join your club.
17. Understand that failure is feedback
Know that failure is simply feedback. It does not say anything about you as a person, it just says that you made some wrong decisions.
If anything it is an opportunity to grow.
Raise above and develop a stronger self esteem for overcoming failure.
18. Practice gratitude
Be grateful for what you already have, be it your health, your family and friends, your home, the food you eat every day. Don’t take these things for granted.
19. Practice, practice and practice
Practice those tips over and over again. You will have ups and downs.
It won’t come easily but it will eventually I guarantee you.
Repetition is the mother of skills – Tony Robbins