Section 9: How To Develop Self-Esteem
How you feel about yourself affects every aspect of your life including place of work, in relationship and as a parent. It is the key to success or failure and instrumental in understanding yourself and others. Self– esteem has two components:
• A feeling of personal competence
• A feeling of personal worth.
It reflects a belief in your ability to cope with the challenges of life and it is your right to be happy. It is the ability to value you with dignity, love and respect.
The higher your self-esteem, the more resilient, creative and ambitious – and as a result, successful – you are likely to be.
Self-esteem is not a static condition and is always a matter of degree - no one is entirely lacking in positive self-esteem.
One way to measure self-esteem is to evaluate your ability to authentically be your true self.
Am I generally honest with myself …. About what I am feeling? Accepting and experiencing my emotions, without feeling compelled to act on them.
In the process of growing up, confidence and self-respect can be nurtured or undermined, depending on whether children are loved and valued as they are, and encouraged to trust themselves and their feelings.
Strict attentive parents who set unrealistic ever-higher goals for children can just cause as much as parents who are indifferent and do not demand enough.
The average child has been reprimanded an estimated 150,000 times by the age of 12. As a result, it is not surprising that people become excessively self-critical, out to touch with their feelings and look outside themselves for approval. This can lead to a desperate need for recognition and status from others and an internal pressure to be “perfect”. People who do attain success without developing positive self-esteem go through life feeling like impostors fearing exposure.
Often people look for self-confidence and self-respect everywhere except within themselves. They say, “If I only could get the promotion, the new car or the admiration of others, then I would really feel good about myself”. This quest is doomed to failure because it is only in the way we respond to ourselves …… giving ourselves the love and approval we are looking for - that creating the feeling of peace and success.
Develop your self-esteem with honesty, good actions and acknowledgement …..
Honesty refers to living consciously facing reality (whether pleasantly or painfully) and confronting rather than avoiding difficulties. Self-honesty also requires self-acceptance, which is a refusal to denial or disown any aspect of the self, including thoughts, emotions, physical attributes and actions.
Self-acceptance is the foundation of all growth and change. It means thinking independently, valuing your own opinions and feelings other than relying on what other people think about.
Taking action means taking responsibility for the fulfillment of your own desires and decisions. You set your own goals and then take steps to achieve them this may mean, gathering up every ounce of courage you have and taking the tiniest of bay steps, but that is the key to living actively rather than passively. Completion – even of the smallest beginning step-is an important part of taking action, because it is the major motivation to taking the next step.
Acknowledgement includes observing and evaluating the results of your actions with honesty and compassion. It means giving yourself approval and reward for your success, even if your success only lies in being brave enough in taking the action.
By being honest, taking action and acknowledging yourself for your efforts, you are not only behaving with self-respect but you are creating deeper self-confidence in yourself and your abilities each time you follow through.
Train peoples how to treat you by treating yourself well and insisting others to do so too.
• Practice positive self-talk to help improve your self-image. Allow your self-image to be like an invisible shield so that undeserved criticism will bounce right off.
• Develop courage - challenge yourself to do one scary (positive) thing each day. Taking risks builds self-esteem because facing your fears helps you to gain confidence.
• Ask yourself:
“How can I get more of what makes me feel successful and happy in my life?” Do something nice for yourself every day.
• Treat yourself as a friend, with the same courtesies, love and compassions you had given to a trusted friend.
• Believe in your own best intentions and trust your own innate goodness. Be gentle with yourself.
• Take good care of your body. Exercise and healthy living, helps you to feel good about yourself.
• Do something useful for others. Sometimes stepping outside yourself, forgetting your own worries and helping someone else can give your self-esteem a big boost.