Low self-esteem blinds us to who we are and limits our potential. It manifests itself in negative thoughts, attitudes and behaviour. Additionally, it adversely affects our ability to attract, nurture and maintain wholesome personal and professional relationships. Low-esteem can take us to a level of depression that slowly darkens our days.
Is your self-esteem weak, sagging, dragging? Amp it up!-
• Stop comparing yourself to others. Often, comparing yourself to others downgrades your self-esteem. Do you wish you had what you perceive to be their advantages and achievements? The grass always seems greener in someone else’s life. Tend the garden of your own life: nurture and utilize your innate talents, seek avenues to exercise your skills and maximize your strengths. Gradually, the landscape of your life will look plush and appealing.
• Don’t put yourself down. Curb the negative thoughts and disparaging words you use against yourself - inabilities, unfortunate upbringing, loss, etc. Although you know that no one is perfect, you may still harbour an obsession to be perfect. You can weaken this obsession by re-routing your negative thoughts to focus on the rich relationships you have, personal and professional accomplishments and positive comments people have made about you. Rehashing negative thoughts and coating your days with negative words serves only to keep you in a cycle of regret and self-pity. What you think and say about yourself pile up on your shoulders, weigh you down and keep you stuck in mediocrity, defensiveness and hopelessness. Reframe the stories that whittle at your self-worth. Stand in the light of what they have taught you. View your weaknesses as areas to improve or eliminate from your life and play up your strengths.
• Accept compliments graciously. When you brush them off, you send the message that you don’t deserve compliments. Begin with a simple and gracious “Thank you”. Gradually, you will begin to accept that you are worthy of genuine tributes.
• Mingle with genuinely positive and supportive people. The people you associate with influence your thoughts and actions. Negative people can put you and your ideas down and that lowers your concept of yourself. However, when you surround yourself with supportive people, you feel better about yourself, which helps to raise your self-esteem.
• Stop putting up with stuff. Not acknowledging or voicing your needs probably means that you are tolerating more than you should. Find out what you are putting up with and refuse to tolerate them any longer. This takes work but that it takes work to rebuild self-esteem.
• Engage in work and activities that you love. You may not be in a position to make immediate changes (financial, geographical, etc.) in your personal circumstances or in your career. Still, you can raise your self-esteem by making time in your busy life for leisure activities, hobbies and causes you love.
• Make positive contributions to other people’s lives. Step out from under the shadow of your low self-esteem and contribute something positive to someone else’s life. Help a friend organize her time to spend quality time with her children. Teach an older relative or elderly neighbour to use the computer. Such positive contributions not only enrich people’s lives but also generate a sense of purpose and value to yours.
Your self-esteem may be so low and so weak that you feel as if you don’t stand a chance in the story of your life. Don’t you wish you had a level of self-esteem that empowers you to be proactive in your life, your relationships, your career and your dreams? Start today. Amp up your self-esteem.
Cheryl Wright is a writer and editor. Her essays, feature articles and columns have been published online and in print since 1998. She edits personal and business documents and content for print and online publications. Weekly column (since 2006): Wright Words of Wisdom