Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you
believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem.
We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth ~ Iyanla Vanzant
Imagine going through life feeling like like everyone’s better than you, or that you’re not smart enough.
What would it be like if your inner voice was constantly berating yourself because you think that you’re fat or ugly or a failure. What would that do for your confidence?
Low Self-Esteem is a really rotten feeling. It gives you a distorted view of who you really are. It undermines and colours everything you do and every choice you make, and it shows up as a way of acting out how you feel inside or portraying something totally opposite of how you really feel.
Recently I came across these descriptions of three ways people exhibit low self esteem symptoms in their behavior:
The Impostor: acts happy and successful, but is really terrified of failure. Lives with the constant fear that she or he will be “found out.” Needs continuous successes to maintain the mask of positive self-esteem, which may lead to problems with perfectionism, procrastination, competition, and burn-out.
The Rebel: acts like the opinions or good will of others – especially people who are important or powerful – don’t matter. Lives with constant anger about not feeling “good enough.” Continuously needs to prove that others’ judgments and criticisms don’t hurt, which may lead to problems like blaming others excessively, breaking rules or laws, or fighting authority.
The Loser: acts helpless and unable to cope with the world and waits for someone to come to the rescue. Uses self-pity or indifference as a shield against fear of taking responsibility for changing his or her life. Looks constantly to others for guidance, which can lead to such problems as lacking assertiveness skills, under-achievement, and excessive reliance on others in relationships.
Do you, or anyone you know fit these behaviors?
If you struggle to feel good about yourself on a daily basis then these tips come from Roger Elliott, who runs courses and a website dedicated to building self-esteem and self-confidence will be really useful to you. You can subscribe to his free Self Esteem Course here.
1) Think back to when you did something new for the first time.
Learning something new is often accompanied by feelings of nervousness, lack of self belief and high stress levels, all of which are necessary parts of the learning process. The next time you feel under-confident, remembering this will remind you that it’s perfectly normal – you’re just learning!
2) Do something you have been putting off.
Like writing or calling a friend, cleaning the house, tidying the garden, fixing the car, organizing the bills, making a tasty and healthy meal – anything that involved you making a decision, then following through!
3) Do something you are good at.
Examples? How about swimming, running, dancing, cooking, gardening, climbing, painting, writing… If possible, it should be something that holds your attention and requires enough focus to get you into that state of ‘flow’ where you forget about everything else. You will feel more competent, accomplished and capable afterwards, great antidotes to low self esteem!
And while you’re at it, seriously consider doing something like this at least once a week. People who experience ‘flow’ regularly seem to be happier and healthier.
4) Stop thinking about yourself!
I know this sounds strange, but low self esteem is often accompanied by too much focus on the self. Doing something that absorbs you and holds your attention can quickly make you feel better.
5) Get seriously relaxed.
If you are feeling low, anxious or lacking in confidence, the first thing to do is to stop thinking and relax properly. Some people do this by exercising, others by involving themselves in something that occupies their mind. However, being able to relax yourself when you want is a fantastic life skill and so practicing self hypnosis, meditation, or a physically-based relaxation technique such as Tai Chi can be incredibly useful.
When you are properly relaxed, your brain is less emotional and your memory for good events works better. A great ‘rescue remedy’!
6) Remember all the things you have achieved.
This can be difficult at first, but after a while, you’ll develop a handy mental list of self-esteem boosting memories. And if you’re thinking “But I’ve never achieved anything”, I’m not talking about climbing Everest here.
Things like passing your driving test (despite being nervous), passing exams (despite doubting that you would), playing team sport, getting fit (even if you let it slip later), saving money for something, trying to help someone (even if it didn’t work) and so on.
7) Remember that you could be wrong!
If you are feeling bad about yourself, remember that you way you feel affects your thoughts, memory and behavior. So when you feel bad, you will only remember the bad times, and will tend to be pessimistic about yourself. This is where the tip ‘Get Seriously Relaxed’ comes in!
To sum up
Once you have tried out a few of these, consider making them a permanent part of your life. For most people, good self esteem is not just a happy accident, it’s a result of the way they think and the things they do from day to day. Good Luck!
Share your self-esteem tips with The Zen Lama.
Do you have a great tip or story to share with others who are struggling with confidence or low self-esteem? What works for you might help someone else.
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