“Self-esteem” is one of those phrases that everyone tosses around but few people really think about or understand. Unfortunately, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions surrounding that term so let’s start by clarifying things.
Self-esteem has nothing to do with being self-absorbed, self-centered or selfish. The word “esteem” comes from the Latin word aestemare, which mean “to value or appraise”. So self-esteem is your appraisal of yourself…your own evaluation of your worth as a human being.
Having low self-esteem can not only make you feel bad at any given moment, it also seriously limits your ability to be happy and create the life you really want. It robs you of the courage to take action on opportunities that come your way. It stops you from stepping out of your comfort zone so that you can grow as a human being. It keeps you feeling stuck and powerless in life.
Even if you have a reasonably healthy level of self-esteem, it’s not unusual to occasionally experience bouts of self-doubt. For those times when your self-esteem isn’t quite as robust as you’d like it to be, here are three simple but powerful ways to jump-start your self-esteem.
(1) Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself.
Your internal dialog—your “self-talk”—has a powerful effect on your behaviors and actions in the outer world. What kinds of things do you say to yourself? Are you constantly putting yourself down? Do you use words like stupid, dumb, or idiot when thinking about yourself or your own actions?
Your thoughts, words and beliefs about yourself are stored in your subconscious mind and they profoundly influence what you do each and every day of your life. Like an invisible force field, they can hold you back and undermine everything that you attempt to do in life.
You need to change the conversations you are having with yourself. You need to become your own best friend and talk to yourself as you would to someone whom you respect and care about deeply. Learnt to be as nurturing, supportive, gentle and kind to yourself as you would be to a beloved friend or family member.
When you learn to give yourself the love and validation you need internally you’ll begin to spend much less time and effort seeking it externally. Be there for yourself. You deserve it.
(2) Get to know yourself better.
We tend to be harsh critics in judging people we know little about. Then once we learn more about them, we often find we have more compassion, respect and empathy for them. Gosh, we may even start to like them!
The same is true for your relationship with yourself. If you don’t like yourself very much it’s probably because you don’t truly know yourself.
If you take the time to get to know yourself better you will discover all sorts of interesting and wonderful things about yourself that you’ve either forgotten or never realized. There is more to you than meets the eye, but our lives are so hectic and full of external stimuli that many of us lose touch with who we really are. You are a complex, extraordinary, and constantly evolving creature.
And don’t be afraid of your own “flaws.” You don’t have nearly as many as you think you do and you don’t need to be perfect in order to like yourself. Think about it. You have at least a few good friends and even though you like them and enjoy their company, you probably didn’t think they’re walking-talking examples of perfection. You see their flaws and shortcomings but you love them anyway. Do the same for yourself. Become your own best friend.
Spend a few minutes every day learning about yourself. What do you like? What makes you feel happy? What makes you laugh? What makes you feel sad? What idiosyncrasies do you have? What can you do better than anyone else that you know? What makes you tick? Write down the answers to these questions (and other insights about yourself) in a journal or notebook. Be sure to review your answers from time to time and add any new insights that may come to you.
(3) Celebrate your own uniqueness instead of comparing yourself to others.
You may also find that you frequently measure yourself against others and come up feeling inferior. The problem with doing that is that you’re comparing apples to oranges…or bananas. You are unique. So are the people you are comparing yourself to. You can’t be them and they can’t be you.
To excel in life and reach your highest potential, you have to become the best “you” that you can be. You have a unique set of traits, innate abilities, and inclinations. I call them your “gifts” because they are Nature’s gift to you and your gift to the world around you. You must first acknowledge your own extraordinary uniqueness and then celebrate it!
But you can’t celebrate or leverage your gifts if you don’t know what they are. Start noticing whenever you do something easily, well or enjoyably. What do you have a natural knack for? What are your strengths? What strengths might be hidden in what you call your “weaknesses?” What topics fascinate you? What are you passionate about? What types of tasks and activities do you especially enjoy?
Once you start to notice and play to your strengths, you’ll not only feel better about yourself but you’ll begin to experience more joy and ease in every facet of your life.
So there you have it. Follow these 3 simple steps on a regular basis and low self-esteem will never be a problem again!
Nadia Koligman is a life design strategist, author, blogger, and the Founder and President of Dreamnautics Media. Her passion is creating tools and resources to help people convert the life they have into a custom-tailored life they’ll love. She’s the author of “Getting Ready for Change: The Dreamnautics® Guide to Preparing Yourself for a Major Career or Life Transition.”
To learn more about life design, visit her website at www.dreamnautics.com and her blog at www.adventuresinlifedesign.com. While there, be sure to sign up to receive a free copy of her Special Report “12 Powerful Ways to Boost Your Life Quality.”
You can also connect with Nadia on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NadiaKoligman