Proven tips to better self-esteem
Much has been written on the topic of self-esteem and self-worth. High self-esteem is a prize that we all seem to aspire to. How do you have that inner light that powers you through life?
Sally Field the American Actress once said,
“It took me a long time not to judge myself through someone else’s eyes.”
In Sally’s words perhaps our first clue, in our connected world, so many of us struggle to feel good about ourselves.
How our self-esteem grows
Self-esteem starts in childhood; it is our emotional evaluation of us in the world. It is our beliefs and how we see ourselves. In childhood we start to get messages from others (parents, teachers, friends, etc.) and they affect that picture. Our life progresses and there may be other factors such as loneliness or abuse or unemployment in our lives. That all plays into this view we have of ourselves in the world.
It can change how successful we are. It might stop us trying new things. It might stop us interacting with new people. It can re-enforce how we believe the world sees us, rather than the reality.
How self-esteem effects us
When we consider low self-esteem typically we see self-criticism. We see a fear of making mistakes and sensitivity to criticism. There is a sense of guilt and trying hard to please others even at cost to themselves. Very often temporary problems will seem impossible to overcome and so will become permanent. The person is very much worried about what it looks like from the outside looking in.
When we consider the opposite, we see strong values and principles, a confidence in acting according to their own judgement. We observe people not excessively worried about the past or future. They very much see themselves as an equal of others and are sensitive to their needs and feelings. Overall it is much more of a sense of knowing who you are, looking out at the world.
How can we change
It has been shown that basing self-esteem on external factors can be harmful to your mental health.
How do you change? How do you build and improve your self-esteem and self-worth?
- Challenge your thought process. Challenge the inner critic. Beat back the inner voice telling us that we are not worth it.
- Recognise where your talents lie. Work to your strengths and stop celebrating your weaknesses. Do more of what you enjoy.
- Build positive relationships. Positive people around you will help to challenge you to try new things and say “I haven’t tried that yet” rather than “I can’t”.
- Have self-compassion. Be gentle and not a critic. Accept you will make mistakes everyone does. Don’t beat yourself up, learn from it and move on.
- It can help to talk through changes in your life especially if it feels daunting to get started and that is why many people enter therapy. It is possible, with the support of friends to make a real difference.
“It’s never too late to be what you might have been” George Eliot
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About Graeme Orr
Graeme is a counsellor and author living and working on the south side of Glasgow. In his practice he sees a number of clients with emotional, anxiety and self-esteem that have relevance to us all. His articles are based on that experience and are offered as an opportunity to identify with, or to challenge you to make changes in your life.