The pursuit of high self-esteem: Part 2
Cultivating self-esteem takes some practice; in my last article I went through two ways in which we can challenge our thinking styles: Negative comparisons and critical inner voice. I also explored changing responses when accepting compliments. There are a few more suggestions for you to try:
Identify your strengths and develop them
Self-esteem is developed by showing real ability and achievement in areas of your life that are important to you. For example, if you pride yourself with being a good swimmer, then sign up for races or charity events. So begin by recognising one of your enjoyments or shining qualities. Once identified, try to showcase and accentuate these in any given opportunity both in your personal or work life.
Celebrate the small stuff
Birthdays, graduation, new job, engagement…We easily celebrate the big stuff but how often do we take time to celebrate the little things? It is these small things that accumulate and make us feel good about ourselves. Not celebrating can feel like deprivation or punishment, as we are really then just withholding something good from ourselves. It is important to acknowledge what you have achieved, even if it is something small like clearing out the cupboard or backing up your hard drive, which you’ve been meaning to do for months. So in short, acknowledge and feel good about the small things you do.
Assertiveness is a core communication skill, which many who have low self-esteem shy away from, practising more passive responses. One important assertive tool is learning to say no, rather than taking too much on or being a people pleaser per se. By saying “no” you can boost your self-esteem and earn others' respect. As being assertive means that you express yourself effectively and stand up for your point of view, while also respecting the beliefs of other people.
All these points above aim to improve self-esteem and it requires a bit of work; but in doing these, it will become second nature with time. Ultimately, it is hoped that these practices will offer a noticeable change in how you view yourself and for some people, support is required and common to see a psychologist.
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