Life is full of ups and downs, there’s no getting away from that. Sometimes we feel good and sometimes we feel bad, but it isn’t good to feel bad about ourselves. If you do, perhaps you should try a little self-esteem building.
Low self-esteem is more than feeling bad about ourselves, it’s to do with the opinion we have of ourselves. Bad feelings can come and go, while an opinion is usually deep rooted and lasting. You might want to take this quick self-esteem test from anxietycenre.com.
In more extreme cases, this condition can be caused by mental health issues such as depression or anxiety, but they are often rooted in our past. We learn what to think of ourselves from experiences when we were very young.
Our parents, teachers and other adults have a huge influence on our new and impressionable mind. We carry these thoughts and beliefs stored in our subconscious into our adult life. If they make us feel generally negative about who we are, then we should work at not letting our past define our future.
Understanding Why We Feel This Way
There’s no one size fits all to this because we are all different and have different experiences. Even though our make-up and personality developed from outside influences in our early years, that’s only half the story.
Things that happen to us throughout our life can also affect our self-esteem, although our early development and experiences can also have an impact on these too. Stress at work, illness, relationship problems, the list of potential reasons is almost endless.
We all react differently when we feel low self-esteem, for example, some may prefer to be alone while others go into overcompensation mode. This can make it difficult for others to identify the problem. We should be able to recognise it in our self though, because it will normally cause the same pattern in our life.
By seeking to understand yourself and the things that make you feel bad, it will help you to find a starting point to change. Knowing what the trigger is will help you to separate yourself from it and avoid it in the future.
The First Step to Self-Esteem Building
Whatever the cause of feeling this way, we can also be our own worst enemy in this situation. You must recognise this before you can begin any self-esteem building. When it’s low, we tend to “beat up our self”. In other words, we start to listen to our inner critic, the conscious mind. It’ what John Kehoe calls, The Great Trickster.
Our conscious mind does all our thinking in the here and now, including the negatives. Those little whispers of how bad you are or how you’re not good enough that pop into your mind will eventually find their way into the subconscious. They then form a belief as they get internalised and will resurface time and time again.
The best way to deal with this inner critic, is to stop it as soon as it pops into the conscious mind. There are various methods to do this. Hit it with a counter thought, a positive exact opposite that will stop it in its tracks.
Another method is to think about something completely different and pleasant or even funny. The aim is to refocus on the positive rather than negative. It won’t raise your self-esteem, but it will make you feel better and that’s where you begin.
More Tips for Building Self-Esteem
It’s quite strange to think how we can give ourselves a hard time when we should really be our own best friend. Treat yourself well, be kind to yourself, why wouldn’t you? If you have low self-esteem signs, a search of the internet will bring up many ways to improve it. Listed below are some of the better ones.
When first presented with the idea of using affirmations, a lot of people dismiss them as meaningless rubbish. If you can accept that the words you use have power, then you’ll be able to understand how affirmations can be a very powerful tool to help improve self-esteem.
They are way to help you feel good by using words and your mind together. It’s similar to thinking of a pleasant or funny moment from your past, it invokes a good feeling or smile from within. Affirmations can do this a for future event, but you’re thinking about it as though it’s already achieved.
Come up with a phrase which describes how you want to feel, but word it as though you’re already feeling that way. Something like, “I am grateful that I enjoy my life and feel good about myself.” You’ll probably feel a little stupid repeating that at first, because you know it’s not true.
That doesn’t matter, because your subconscious doesn’t know that. With repeated repetition, it will accept it and slowly but surely it will help you to feel better about yourself. Don’t take my word for it, there are studies on the benefits of affirmations which suggest they can help.
Acknowledge What’s Good About You
This is a great exercise to give perspective on yourself. You know you can find plenty of bad things about yourself, we’re all good at that, but what about the good things? If you’re really honest with yourself and probe deeply, you’ll be able to come up with a long list of good things.
It’s important that you write them down, so you can see them, so they exist. They can be big or small points, it doesn’t matter. I tried this exercise and was surprised at the list I came up with. When writing them down it made me question whether I was conceited by doing this.
It was almost as if I was saying to myself, “You know, you really shouldn’t be doing this, vanity isn’t a good thing”. I think a little belief from my subconscious came into play there and my conscious mind inner critic jumped right in to reinforce it. I soon put a stop to it and you can too.
Come up with a decent list, it doesn’t matter how many are on it, but the more the better. Spend a few minutes regularly studying the list, really think about them and how they are an important part of who you are. This s a simple exercise that is very good at countering the negatives you feel about yourself because it forces you to see and accept the other side of you and your make-up.
Accentuate the Positive
This is different to acknowledging your good points or achievements, it about finding positives in the good and not so good, or even bad. When things are going well it isn’t difficult to see the positives. And so you should. It’s very important to dwell on achievements or successes because they have a positive effect on your sense of well-being and confidence. In other words, your self-esteem.
What about when things aren’t going so well, what then? This can seem like the hard part, but it doesn’t need to be. You might not think so, but there are bound to be some positives in a negative situation.
Are you being taught something which might be difficult to accept now, although could be of benefit in the future? Are you being shown you need to choose a different path or that you need a different strategy? I’m sure there have been times when you were grateful for past setbacks as you wouldn’t be where you are now without them. Self-esteem building can result from finding positives in bad situations.
Let’s face it, we all do it even though it mostly does us no good. Of course, there are times when making a comparison can be a good thing as it can give us something to measure against. The problem comes when we compare our self to someone else in some way and it makes us feel bad.
At a very basic level, we’re all the same, but each of us is unique. We have many differences such as qualities, talents, abilities and even vulnerabilities. You’re not that other person, you never will be, so accept it. You can draw lessons from them, aspire to be like them or just admire them. Don’t try to be them because it’ll end in tears.
Focus on you and your qualities, they are yours, they belong to you. Others may even be comparing themselves to you. Recognise your uniqueness, don’t crave to be like someone else. It will only work to knock your confidence and lower your self-esteem.
Watch the Company you Keep
You know that with the Law of Attraction, like attracts like, well the people you associate with, also have an effect. Many books on positive thinking or how to get rich, advise you to mix with people who are like you want to be. They say, if you want to be wealthy, associate with wealthy people.
That advise makes sense because by being in this situation, their lifestyle will “rub off” onto you. Then you’ll begin to take on similar traits which will be of benefit. It can work the other way though.
Take the same situation, but say you’re really struggling to make ends meet. By mixing with people who have plenty of cash, it might make you feel inferior or less worthy. Yes, we’re back to comparing again, but you’ve purposefully put yourself into a situation that’s not helpful to you. Don’t mix in circles where your self-esteem will suffer.
Now this might seem like a strange one, it isn’t though. Doing exercise is obviously good for you but it can have a huge effect in lifting your self-esteem. No matter how energetic, by doing it you’ll achieve something. You can set goals for yourself and smash them. You know what that’ll do!
It’s not only about getting fit, achieving goals and being generally more healthy. That’s all great of course, but there’s also another huge benefit from doing exercise or working out. It’s not just your muscles that will feel good (after their initial aching). Your mind will also benefit.
When you exercise, your body releases endorphins. It’s a chemical similar to morphine which interacts in the brain to ease the pain you’re causing yourself. They trigger a positive feelings within you and some say it’s a feeling of euphoria. By inducing this when you’re feeling low, it can give you a positive lift. Exercising can, therefore, have a positive effect of self-esteem.
Now Go Build!
At some point in our lives we all suffer from low self-esteem. It’s a natural part of growing through life. Thankfully, for most of us it isn’t too bad and doesn’t have too much of an effect on us. But when it happens, it isn’t nice and if we’re not careful, can be long lasting or lead to health problems.
Remember, you create your own destiny and you have control of it, if you want to. You are unique, you are an important part of our universe. Without you, it would be different, it wouldn’t be as it is. Use the techniques described above, or others you’ve researched and begin self-esteem building if yours is low. It will gradually begin to work for you, don’t stop, because you deserve to feel good about yourself.