“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson.
Tell it as it is:
We all go through different stages in our lives, learning to deal with bad habits or addictions, big and small. We sometimes feel like we cannot cope and resort to alcohol, drugs, binge eating, TV, or just pessimism and depression to escape reality.
If you can afford a good therapist, they may be able to help you see the light at the end of the tunnel. If not, you have to do the best you can. Sooner or later, we all have to learn to face our reality and move towards doing something about it. Let’s explore our options and get some insight into our self-esteem.
Put things in perspective:
The truth is that even though a particular reality may seem dark at the moment, other areas in your life are going well — things you have done right and that you are good at. You need to focus on them! Because wherever your focus goes, your energy flows!
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection”
When you focus on something, it becomes vital and important, and you become more committed to taking action. If you have done other things well, you can also do well in whatever is troubling you right now. The reality is — “Yes, you can!”
You are a creature of emotion, but many strong emotions are hidden from your consciousness. When trying to change a bad habit or overcome an addiction or bad temper or whatever the problem is, it helps to ask yourself this question: “What emotions and thoughts come to me before I smoke, or drink, or get depressed?”
Recognize the triggers:
Do you know what a trigger is? It can be anything — a memory, an experience, or thought — that sparks an intense emotional reaction. When you learn to recognize the emotions that act as triggers to your actions, you can better control your reactions before giving in to negative behavior.
During your everyday life, you establish patterns of behavior. If you pay attention, you will learn to identify the practices you follow habitually or unconsciously and see that some engage in creating negative emotions in your life.
“Confront the dark parts of yourself, and work to banish them with illumination and forgiveness. Your willingness to wrestle with your demons will cause your angels to sing.”
By recognizing and changing negative patterns, you will improve the quality of your life. By learning to identify your negative triggers, you can change outcomes for the better. Regardless of your personal story, you can change it over time.
You also need to be aware that many of these patterns and triggers come from childhood: how your parents raised you, the environment surrounding you growing up, and the influence of those you chose to associate with.
You have the power to change your story. You can learn to control your thoughts and how you react to what happens to you. Many things are not under your control, but your thoughts are. You have to choose to believe you can do it.
See yourself as who you want to become:
Many self-development leaders teach the importance of seeing yourself not as you are but more as what you have the potential to become. The sooner you start acting like your potential self, the better for you. Life is a dance between two things: where you are right now and where you want to be/what you want to become.
A good life coach can help you bridge that gap, but you can do it yourself as well just by understanding these simple and powerful principles. The world is changing so fast that you need to re-invent yourself regularly these days. The future is a multi-specialized world.
Socially, in business, and as a human being, you need to keep changing and progressing if you want to succeed in life. It is a must! It would be best if you learned to pivot, change direction, adapt, learn new skills, and become more valuable as a person and professional.
Ask yourself these three powerful questions:
1- What do I want to achieve?
2- What do I want to avoid?
3- What is the next step towards my goals?
We are all special in some way. You have a unique identity, a set of skills and values to contribute to the world, personal experiences, heart, soul, and love that you can share freely to add value to those around you.
With the changes happening in the world today — the international pandemic and consequent adjustments we are experiencing — you are going through a transition in your life. There is little support from society and social structures. People don’t know when this will end or the lasting results in the economy, health, and future.
So, it is a prime time to work on your self-esteem. It is a fundamental human need, especially at this time in history. Now more than ever, you need to develop the confidence to overcome difficulties, to believe that you can transcend your problems and are worthy of the love and happiness you deserve.
It is a dance between your actions and your beliefs. A fact of life is that you usually get what you expect — and that is why your belief system needs to be strengthened. Faith will influence your actions and turn your desires into reality.
The opposite is like a slow death: if we doubt our potential and give in to feelings of inadequacy and doubt, we will end up defeated by our lack of effort.
The two main components:
Dr. Nathaniel Branden, in his book “The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem,” identified two main components that are crucial for our happiness and success:
1- The ability to believe you are capable of overcoming any challenge.
2- The understanding of your value and worth as a human being.
If you clearly understand these two principles, then you are off to a good start. The truth is that we all make mistakes and bad decisions; we have done things wrong in the past and probably will again in the future.
Society and people are quick to shame you and make you feel guilty. Some people think that by doing so, they are helping you not to repeat the negative behavior.
But that only happens in the short term. It doesn’t help the person in the long run. A person needs not more guilt, but to be guided in learning from their mistakes and growing from failures.
It is essential to understand that many mistakes you make result from decisions based on what you knew and understood at the moment. The experience should teach you a lesson that will help you grow as a person; shaming and blaming your past self does not do you any good.
For many of you, your parents, teachers, and relatives have done an excellent job of criticizing you as you were growing up. Feeling guilty and ashamed was probably a part of your upbringing. And even though parents did it from love, sincerely thinking they were helping you, the truth is — it didn’t help. On the contrary, you probably developed many complexes and insecurities as a result.
Some of us carry that inner critic with us throughout our lives. We internalize it and use it to criticize others as well. Looking for what is wrong comes more naturally than looking for what is right inside of us. You need to re-frame your mind and learn to see the good in yourself and others.
The appreciation game:
I heard a suggestion once, and I think it is a great one. Every time you criticize your spouse, your kid, or your friend or co-worker, you need to think of five good things about that person. You can do that with yourself as well. I think it is a great way to learn to see the good in others and yourself and a wonderful way to re-train your mind.
The key in human relations is this: if you learn to generate high levels of self-esteem and become a secure, happy, and confident human being, you will then attract others just like you.
Self-esteem diminishes every time you shame yourself or others. You think you’re gaining in the short term, but you always lose in the long-term by creating internal conflict.
Values are the foundation of your life — like the superstructure that keeps your house standing. For example, integrity is an invisible value, but its manifestations are all to see in your everyday actions.
When there is a gap between your values and your behavior, your self-esteem suffers. You cannot feel good about yourself when your conduct is contrary to your values.
Remember, your thoughts and behaviors affect your self-esteem. Do not put yourself down. Learn to practice self-love. Be compassionate with yourself by focusing on your strengths, not your weaknesses.
Focus on your strengths:
Focusing on your weaknesses is a misconception that robs you of self-confidence. Teachers and parents teach it with good intentions, but it is a misguided effort. It holds you back. Focusing on your strengths builds your self-esteem.
Do not allow your weaknesses to define who you are or your worth as a human being. Focusing on what you are not good at diminishes your self-esteem and self-confidence. Everyone is good at something; so, focus on what you are already good at.
You have abilities that are unique to you. Please make a list of all the things you do well, dwell on them, and do them more often!
Live consciously and take charge of your life. No one is coming to save you; your life is literally in your hands. Develop trust in yourself and your abilities; set your aims high!
Trust in your future self. Believe that you can and that you will.