How to Raise Self Esteem
Improving low self esteem is vital to achieving success in life. It is not selfish or conceited to think highly of yourself; it is a very important personality trait that all human beings need in order to take control of their lives and experience happiness. Improving your self esteem will require specific strategies, planned exercises and consistent practice.
As psychologically healthy people we should all have reverence for ourselves as individuals, honor our own personalities and proclivities and respect our minds and bodies. This is the definition of healthy self-esteem. Although we all have areas of our lives where we feel that we fall short of ideal, many people feel a more general sense of unworthiness, they have poor or low self-esteem.
To improve your self-esteem, begin immediately to identify and reverse negative self talk. Your negative statements about yourself may not be as overt as calling yourself stupid, but you may be feeding your subconscious with equally as damaging declarations. If you see others as more deserving of good fortune or special treatment or you feel that you have no talents, you are feeding your subconscious mind with negative affirmations about yourself. Reversing this practice will require purposeful, consistent effort. Think objectively about how you might be doing this on a regular basis and take steps to change. Even ask a friend or family member whom you trust if they recognize signs of negative self-image in your speech patterns or behavior. We’re often oblivious to details of our mannerisms.
Once you’ve pinpointed one or two items you’d like to work on, decide on alternate phrases you’ll use to cancel the negative thoughts, and then replace them with true and more positive affirmations. It will be very effective to write your affirmations, then review and repeat them several times per day and especially when you notice yourself reverting to negative self talk. Work with only one or two items at a time so that it’s easier to focus and gain success. As you build confidence, you will add more things you want to target in different areas of your life.
To improve your low self-esteem it is important to realize how you're influenced by others, especially people who are most often a part of your daily life. Don’t be afraid to ask yourself hard questions about those around you and how they help or hinder your new goals. Some relationships will change, there’s no way around that; be prepared, not fearful. Pre-planning and a few rehearsals are a good idea for situations where you know you will meet opposition. If for example, you no longer want to sacrifice your own finances to assist someone who has gotten into the habit of relying on you, decide how you’ll decline to assist next time. Imagine the scenario and think of a calm and supportive response. Don’t make excuses and qualifiers, just say, “I’m sorry, I can’t”. Resist the urge to help them think of another solution, that would be making it your issue, not theirs.
This is a process so don't be disappointed if you stumble a bit for a while. When I started learning to say no, I found that I was able to do so when I prepared my response in advance. Sometimes only after finding myself yet again doing something I'd rather not, I'd be able to formulate how I would respond the next time. It took surprisingly few times to get to the point that I was comfortable declining requests, probably because the world didn't end. In fact, after each incident, I felt relieved, relaxed and empowered.
Become your own cheerleader. Root for yourself in everything you do. When faced with a dilemma or difficult choice, ask yourself what your advice would be to someone else in the same situation. We often have more compassion for others than we do ourselves, so think about what you would tell a friend or coworker to do. Chances are, that answer will be full of supportive comments and positive suggestions. Remind yourself that you deserve the same consideration that you would give someone else. When you make a mistake or poor choice, consider it a learning opportunity and cut yourself some slack.
When you design and execute strategies to conquer low self-esteem, you’ll begin to gain confidence in yourself. As each situation reinforces your self-esteem, you’ll notice yourself feeling strong and confident. Look for ways to build on that, even small, easy achievements will add to your growing sense of self-worth. Your goal is to feel competent, confident and powerful, go for it.