This article is part of a series on insecurity, self-esteem and self-confidence. In feel insecure and build self confidence and use your insecurity as a guide to change I talked about (my own) insecurity and self-confidence. In this article I will cover self-esteem and how to build it so you can love yourself better.
Low self-esteem is often a deep negative believe about who we are, our self image, that people have which can limit them in every part of their lives. The difference between living a successful live and living an average life can often be linked to how people see themselves, their self-image. A negative self-image and low self-esteem can limit people in how they function in the world and withhold them from reaching their full potential.
Building self-esteem step 1: Know why you have low self-esteem
Knowing why you have low self-esteem is very important. Have you ever wondered who or what caused it? You have to find the cause for your own low self-esteem before you can improve it. Take some time for yourself and answer the questions below:
- Do you have low self-esteem all the time or only in certain areas or situations in your life? If so, what are they?
- Can you remember a time when your self-esteem was good?
- If yes, what was the event that changed this? At what age?
- Were there other people involved? If so, then who?
- Do you have an inner critic? What is he telling you? Do you believe everything your inner critic is telling you?
- Can you remember a situation in which low self-esteem is normally an issue for you, but in this case wasn’t? What was different this time?
I hope the answers to the questions above gave you some insight on why you have low self-esteem. Let’s continue with the next step.
Building self–esteem step 2: Recognize your own though patterns
You may have found the reason for your low-self esteem. But to improve it you need to change your thinking as well. Low self esteem has become a habit in the way you think about yourself, and talk to others.
I am too fat. I am too thin. I am ugly. I am not good enough. He is much better than me. Why do they ask me for this job, don’t they know I will screw it up? I never get this promotion. I can never pull this off. I’m not good enough to be loved. If you have low self-esteem you may recognize some of these thoughts. If you examine them and look a little bit closer, you will find that they have one thing in common: they are all based on a negative self-image.
In my article use the power of positive thinking to change your life I said that the way you think and speak is important for your own self-image. People with low self-esteem can often be recognized by how they talk to others. In general they speak with a negative tone about themselves and do not sound confident. As thoughts and words are instructions for the subconscious mind, people with low self-esteem are enforcing this all the time through their thinking and while talking to others.
Changing your thoughts starts with observing, consciously, how you think and talk to others. Listen to the words you use. Are they positive or negative? Can you see a pattern? Pay especially attention to limiting or controlling thoughts.
Building self-esteem step 3: Replace negative thoughts with positive ones
Once you have identified those limiting or (self) sabotaging thoughts you can replace them with better, more positive, ones. In the beginning this can be challenging, so allow yourself to make mistakes. You will see that you will get better once you get the hang of it. Don’t be hard on yourself.
After a while you will see that thinking more positive thoughts will become a habit. Once this happens you will see that your self-esteem will improve as well.
Building self-esteem step 4: The inner critic
You may have an inner critic in you that will criticize you with every opportunity it can get. Realize you inner critic is always looking at the worst case scenario. What is the actual change of this coming true? Can you think of any alternative scenario?
Another thing you should realize is that your inner critic is just a critic. If you look at magazines, newspapers or TV; do you believe them all the time? There is a lot of gossip. Is it always true what they say? It’s up to you to believe your inner critic or not. You are in control. If you don’t like what your inner critic is telling you, ask it to stop.
Listen to your body as well. What are your feelings telling you? Feelings come from a much deeper level than the thinking mind and are often more true than your thoughts tell you.
Building self-esteem step 5: Love yourself
Realize the most important relationship you have is with yourself. Accept yourself for who you are. Know you are a human being and are not perfect. You don’t have to be. Keep a good relation with yourself. Love yourself. Self-acceptance is the first step towards self-confidence.
True happiness comes from within. As soon as you realize you can be happy whatever the circumstances you are free.
Hey Patrick, great post. I especially like point #3. Most people can get to the point where they’re noticing that they’re having some negative and self-defeating thoughts, but the key is to really start turning them around. Enjoyed it! Keep it up.
I just wanted to say that the information you are giving is great. I have a brand new client with low self esteem, and this is a first for me. You are giving me a great start. Thank you very much.