What do we mean when we say someone suffers from low self-esteem?
Well, it’s a term that describes how we see our worth, or value, in our relationships with people and with society in general. If you think you’re suffering from low self-esteem, then what you’re really saying is you don’t believe you have much value and you don’t believe you’re liked or loved.
Most of us have suffered from a lack of belief in ourselves at times, and this is healthy, but when you have long-lasting feelings of low self-esteem and doubt yourself and have negative thoughts about your ability to succeed or to be loved, then this is a problem.
Low self-esteem can be an awful and depressing experience. The more you doubt yourself and think negative thoughts, the more your behaviour and feelings will continue to reinforce who you, falsely, believe yourself to be.
To help you climb out of that deep black hole, here are 5 simple ways that will help you alleviate and overcome your feelings of low self-esteem:
1. Be Yourself
Don’t pretend to be the person you perceive others want you to be. And stop trying to please everyone else all the time, instead, please yourself. Pretending will only exacerbate your feelings of low self-esteem (knowing one day that somebody will see through your pretence, will almost certainly stifle any self-esteem you have even more). You’re only fooling yourself.
And although you may feel vulnerable and afraid to let the real you shine through, do it anyway. At first, you’ll probably be filled with fear and anxiety – that’s to be expected – but once you take the plunge and drop the pretence, you’ll feel uplifted and liberated … and a lot more positive about your self-esteem.
2. Mean What You Say
Do you find yourself saying yes when you really mean no? Very often we say yes because we’re afraid of hurting someone’s feelings, or we’re afraid of letting someone down by saying no. Well, saying yes all the time is not necessarily the best policy.
Let’s imagine you say yes to someone at the office who wants you to do a job for them but you really wanted to say no. Odds are that you’ll only make a half-hearted attempt and won’t do the job with any real enthusiasm.
Afterwards, two things will happen – one, you won’t be happy you said yes when you wanted to say no and two, you’ll feel awful that you did a lousy job, therefore adding to your feelings of low-esteem.
You need to break this trying-to-please-everyone cycle and start saying what you mean and mean what you say. You don’t have to be rude when you say no, but you should be decisive and assertive. There’s an art to speaking your mind in a kind-hearted but determined fashion, and once you start doing that you’ll begin building long-lasting self-esteem.
3. Give Yourself Permission
You have to develop the habit of giving yourself permission to make mistakes. But at the same time, you must promise yourself that you’ll learn from them. Positive reaction to our successes is fine but it’s how we react to our failures that matters.
If you’re a low self-esteem person, you probably beat yourself up whenever you make a mistake or fail at something. Well next time, why not try giving yourself the permission to make that mistake or failure, and then promise yourself you’ll learn from it.
We all make hundreds, no, thousands of mistakes in this life and we all fail many times, but if you let that chip away at your self-esteem, you’re heading for problems. Rather, accept your failures, learn from them, and move on … you’ll be amazed at how empowering and good it can feel if you do.
4. Take Responsibility
Time and time again, you’ll make choices that may disappoint others or let them down in some way. When that happens, the last thing you need to do is make a lot of excuses. You should rather face up to what you’ve done and accept the consequences of your choices. Be bold. Take responsibility. Say ‘I’m sorry’ and ask how you can make things right. Then go ahead with all the positive energy you can muster and find a solution that’s acceptable to everyone involved. In this way, your self-esteem will grow to the size of Brazil!
5. Help Others
What gives most of us a great feeling of pride and a sense of worth is a genuine ‘thank you’ from somebody we’ve helped in some way. We all need to stop being so wrapped up in our own lives and start to help people around us, those who have much bigger problems. This is when your low self-esteem flies out of the window and is replaced with great big happy chunks of self-worth and self-esteem.
Article provided by Mike James, an independent content writer working together with Sussex-based specialist Brighton and Hove Psychotherapy.