5 top tips to conquer self-criticism and build self-esteem
If you weren't continuously praised and acknowledged as a child, chances are you criticise yourself for not being perfect or good enough. When we are young and our parents or teachers have ridiculously high expectations of us we subconsciously think “If my parents or teachers are cross with me or unhappy with me, they must have a good reason. I figure I am not good enough to have their approval. I always have to be perfect to get any praise or validation”.
Or maybe you heard:
- “You don't ever listen.”
- “What’s wrong with you?”
- “Why can’t you get anything right?”
- “How many times do I have to tell you?”
- “You will never amount to anything.”
If so chances are you grow up with negative self-belief:
- “I am not good enough.”
- “I am not worthy.”
- “It’s bad to make mistakes.”
- “I must be perfect.”
- “I am inadequate.”
Many don’t understand that self-esteem has little to do with how talented, educated or smart we are. Often parents raise children to succeed in life by hammering home the importance of academia and manners - sure both are important, but it's a pity they don't hammer home the importance of self-esteem. A lack of self-esteem can influence how a person behaves, not to mention what they achieve in their life.
Here are my five top tips:
1. Get to know yourself
You cannot change what you are unaware of. This is a core component of personal development. In order to build self-esteem you must identify patterns, thoughts and beliefs. Write a list of five strengths and a list of five weaknesses.
2. Commit to stop 'comparing and despairing'
The only person to compare yourself to is the person you used to be. Acknowledge how far you have come. It's a futile exercise comparing yourself to others as believe me 'all that glistens is not gold'.
3. Reframe your old beliefs
It's crucial you evaluate yourself based upon your abilities, strengths and skills today. If you used to be amazing at samba, go practise and be amazing again, if you are impartial, then let it go. Get the picture?
4. Write a success inventory
Acknowledge your successes, however large or small. Own them, and recognise your greatness. Don't just brush off compliments when someone else praises you or acknowledges what you have achieved. Keep a weekly log.
5. Stop the negative thinking
Every word and every thought is an affirmation, whether it's positive or negative. Choose your words as carefully as you choose your clothes. Do not allow yourself to have stinking thinking as it erodes confidence and lowers your self-esteem day by day.