How to improve low self-esteem
We all have times when we have low confidence, self doubt and indecision. However, studies have shown that low self-esteem can effect the whole of our life from our thoughts, actions and feelings. This low self-esteem engulfs the whole of us until we start to believe that this is who we truly are and we don’t recognise the person we have become. But it doesn’t have to be this way.
What is low self-esteem?
The term self-esteem is used to describe the belief system we have about ourselves. Whether we view ourselves in a positive or negative way. This belief system then evaluates own self worth. The healthier the self-esteem, the more positive beliefs we have about ourselves.
Low self-esteem flourishes and grows in our lives when:
- we have no praise
- our achievements are not celebrated
- nothing is good enough
- we are told we are ugly, overweight or not clever enough
- love is conditional
- we deal with conflict by accepting blame or fault when it is not ours to accept.
How can we start think differently and love ourselves?
Here are a few examples of how low self-esteem can affect our thoughts:
"I hate myself/hate my body"
There are many times when we dislike ourselves, but the constant barrage of “I’m not good enough”, "I cant do that”, "I am so fat” and "I am too skinny” can start to eat away at our confidence until there is nothing left. These negative, harsh words plunge our self worth lower and lower.
"I worry what others think about me"
This is the most destructive, creating pain and self-doubt. Questioning everything you do in order to please others. You tend to look for recognition from others, but when this is not forthcoming, you start to believe you are not worthy.
You often feel fearful and anxious
The belief that things can not get better, that you are powerless to make changes within yourself. Every situation feels like a mountain that needs to be climbed. You believe that you aren’t strong enough to even think about it, let alone climb it.
So, how can you make a change?
Start treating yourself with kindness
Be aware of your internal dialogue and start saying nice things to yourself. Negative dialogue fuels self-hate, so start being your own best friend. Can you start to be nicer to yourself by showing a little kindness and love?
We all make mistakes, so start by forgiving yourself. Shine a light on your shadows; the areas you want to develop and start to move forward by loving yourself.
Challenge what you think of yourself
The image you have of yourself is not who you are. Observe this negative image of yourself as a wrapper that can be peeled away layer by layer.
Don’t compare yourself to others
This is something lots of us do. However this is destructive and it will often only lead to disappointment. Start by reflecting each day on what you are grateful for. Also, start to be more aware of your health: eat healthy, exercise more and get enough sleep.
Challenge your thoughts on what is actually been said
Anxiety is created by being fearful of the future. Instead, challenge yourself and your emotions to see if these fears are based on the reality of the situation, or an emotional trigger from the past. Then you can find a way to overcome them.
Start doing something that you love each day
Do this just for you. It could be something as small as taking five minutes enjoying a coffee and relaxing, or going for a walk. The aim is to get to know yourself again and reclaim your voice.
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About Jo Rayner
Jo has been involved in coaching for over 20 years and her passion in life has been to help individuals and businesses to fulfil their potential, either in their life, career, health, finances or business development. Jo has a diploma in Life Coaching with the UK College of Personal Development and is a member of the Association for Coaching.