We have conversations with others that reveal what’s in our hearts. We have conversations with ourselves that reveal how we feel about ourselves.
When you and I have our internal conversations, when it comes to self, is it mostly positive or negative? Does it make you feel better afterwards or worse?
Much of the makeup of that conversation has to do with self-esteem which can be argued is strongly connected to our mental and physical health.
Self-esteem is as important to our well-being as legs are to a table. It is essential for physical and mental health and for happiness.…….Louise Hart
How do you know if you have low self-esteem? There are some signs. From time to time we turn to the person on the street for their view. Before we listen to a professional about how we can bolster our self-esteem, it was intriguing to analyze the work of a blogger with a following and his view on low self-esteem.
Let’s start there.
By Emmanuel Segui
People with low self-esteem rarely live their life to the full. They distance themselves from others, and are thus denied their love and support. They rarely, if ever, make full use of their abilities. Instead, they end up brooding about the injustices of life. Such people are a loss to themselves, their family and to society. Some of them even take to crime, alcohol and drugs.
There is overwhelming evidence that the higher the level of self-esteem, the more likely one will be to treat others with respect, kindness, and generosity.…..Nathaniel Branden
Invariably, people with low self-esteem are uncomfortable with success. They tend to believe that they don’t deserve success, and they have no clue as to how to savor success. At the same time, they do not hesitate to blame themselves if things go wrong. They take sadistic pleasure in telling the world that they knew things would go wrong. This is an important symptom of low self-esteem, and needs to be treated at the earliest.
People suffering from low self-esteem also have the habit of putting themselves down. They repeatedly tell themselves that they are not good enough and that they are bound to fail. Over a period of time this negative self-talk turns into a negative self-belief. More than that, they try and implant these seeds of negativity in people around them. They also gravitate towards people who suffer from similar problems. The end result is that they feed on each other’s negativity, and become much poorer individuals than they initially were.
To establish true self-esteem we must concentrate on our successes and forget about the failures and the negatives in our lives.…….Denis Waitley
A high level of dissatisfaction is another indicator of low self- esteem. There are people who spend all their time complaining. They neither see a positive thing in others nor in themselves. This cynicism eats away their self-belief, and erodes their self- confidence. In contrast, people who value their abilities enjoy high self-esteem.
Also, people with low self-esteem spend most of their time brooding about the past and worrying about the future. They don’t spend enough time living in the present. As a result, they don’t enjoy the present, even though it may be full of success. The net result is that they prevent themselves from enjoying life, and make themselves unhappy. It finally becomes a vicious cycle that feeds upon itself, and prevents them from breaking out of their negative mold
such people are rarely relaxed and at ease. They keep looking for different jobs and lines of work. The reason why they are always looking for something else to do is that they are lack self- confidence. They drift from one crisis to another, and blame fate for their woes.
A few of them take to alcohol, drugs, food, sex etc. to get a temporary “high”. But this rarely helps them in the long run. They fail to generate a sustainable feeling of happiness and contentment.
People with low self-esteem also have problems getting close to others. They are not comfortable with intimacy and create barriers to prevent people from coming close to them. They don’t like to open up to people and to reveal their innermost thoughts. They may be nursing some old bad experience with someone who caused them a lot of pain or who let them down when they were most vulnerable. By forcing themselves to live in a world of self-denial they are doing a great damage to themselves. They fail to benefit from the company of others, and keep entrenching themselves deeper and deeper into their negative world. They may ultimately reach a stage where they may be declared beyond salvage.
But this is not good for society. People with low self-esteem must be helped. Their symptoms must be diagnosed, and help provided if they have to be turned into useful members of society. This help can be given by family members, friends, and teachers or by trained psychologists.
Thank you Mr. Segui.
Oh, God, I struggle with low self-esteem all the time! I think everyone does. I have so much wrong with me, it’s unbelievable!….Angelina Jolie
Perhaps we can now travel to the opposite site of the spectrum and listen to the thoughts of a professional who speaks to higher self-esteem.
Mr. Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. enlightens us with 7 Steps To Higher Self-Esteem.
Self-esteem can be defined as healthy respect for yourself, as well as healthy self-worth. In our competitive, material driven, image conscious, and achievement oriented society, the propensity to be affected by low self-esteem is chronic and pervasive.
The good news is that having low-self-esteem is largely a learned phenomenon. Low self-esteem issues are essentially poor habits in our attitude and our intra-personal communication (self-talk). By learning empowering perspectives and effective intra-personal communication skills, you can progressively replace poor self-esteem with healthy self-esteem. Here are seven keys to changing low self-esteem:
- Avoid Generalization
In private coaching, I often hear clients say: “I have low self-esteem.” There are several problems with this statement. First, it presumes a general, “all or none” perspective, as if either one has high self-esteem, or one has low self-esteem. If you take an honest assessment of yourself, chances are that you can come up with a list of qualities that make you feel good. For instance, if you’re reading this article, it most likely means that you possess self-awareness, the willingness to learn and grow, and a desire to realize more of your potential, all of which bode well for your future success.
Most of us are somewhere in the middle on the spectrum between high self-esteem and low self-esteem. If you ever find yourself saying or thinking: “I have low self-esteem,” please stop. It is a general, all encompassing, personalizing, and self-defeating comment that simply isn’t true. Saying you have low self-esteem can also make the problem seem so big and daunting that you may feel relatively powerless to do anything. Instead…
- Divide and Conquer Your Low Self-Esteem
It’s more accurate and empowering to be specific about particular aspects of your life where you lack confidence, be it your weight, your competence to speak publically, your capacity to attract the “right” romantic partner, or your ability to deal with a difficult individual. Saying “I have low self-esteem” is very different than saying “I have self-esteem issues about my weight.” The first is general and personal – it makes low self-esteem into an all-encompassing character flaw. The second is about an issue that you have. It does not invalidate other aspects of who you are as a person. As an issue, the problem can be diagnosed and solved.
“Soft on the person, firm on the issue.”
― One of the four key characteristics of effective communication, from the author’s book (click on title): “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People (link is external).”
- Notice Your Negative Thought Patterns – from a Distance
To change low self-esteem, it’s important to observe when we’re engaged in thought patterns that sabotage self–worth. When low self-esteem issues have been conditioned for many years, the resulting negative thought patterns are likely automatic and unconscious, until you pause them with your Observer Self.
The Observer Self is a useful psychological resource that helps increase awareness in many situations. It is the part of your consciousness that exercises mindfulness, and helps you make intelligent, thoughtful choices.
For example, if you have the tendency to look at yourself in the mirror in the morning and think “I’m unattractive;” instead, simply notice and make a mental note to yourself that “I just had a negative thought.” This objective observation is your Observer Self in action. Notice your negative thoughts without judgment. Avoid beating yourself up about the low self-esteem issue(s). Simply notice, with curiosity as if you’re watching yourself in an experiment, and even with compassion and humor. Say, for example, from your Observer Self to your lower-esteem self : “There goes my lower self again. Hello! That’s alright. You can feel this way if you like. I’m here for you. I know what to do to take good care of you.” When you utilize your Observer Self in this way on a regular basis, you progressively distance yourself from the negative thoughts, psychologically and emotionally. This gives you the opening to introduce heathy self-esteem habits outlined in points #4-7 below.
- Talk Back to Your Negative Thoughts with Assertive Responses
Once you distance yourself from your negative thoughts, you can more easily talk back to them, and replace the negative thoughts with positive, empowering thoughts. This action is positive habit forming with repetition, persistence, and determination. Here are just two examples:
- Reducing negative personalization. When you feel adversely about someone’s behavior, avoid jumping to a negative conclusion right away. Instead, come up with multiple ways of viewing the situation before reacting. For example, I may be tempted to think my friend didn’t return my call because she’s ignoring me, or I can consider the possibility that she’s been very busy. When we avoid personalizing other people’s behaviors, we can perceive their expressions more objectively. People do what they do because of them more than because of us. Widening our perspective can reduce the possibility of misunderstanding.
- Reducing the fear of rejection. One effective way to manage your fear of rejection is to provide yourself with multiple options in important situations, so that no matter what happens, you have strong alternatives going forward. Avoid putting all of your eggs in one basket (emotionally) by identifying a viable Plan B, and also a Plan C, should Plan A not work out. For example:
Increased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for my dream job. I’ll be devastated if they don’t hire me.”
Decreased fear of rejection: “I’m applying for three exciting positions. If one doesn’t pan out, there are two more I’m well qualified for.”
For more in-depth information on reducing or eliminating over fifteen types of negative attitudes and feelings, see my book (click on title): “How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions (link is external).”
- Recognize Where You May Be Running Your Old Tape
When we contemplate where we might have picked up certain low self-esteem issues, we may recall past experiences when we internalized negative or “double-edged” influences. For example:
- Watching “beautiful,” skinny models in the media as a child may have caused insecurity about one’s own body.
- Being teased in front of class while giving a report may have induced a fear of public speaking.
- Witnessing the parents’ divorce as a young person may have affected one’s confidence in having a successful committed relationship.
- Being taught socially or culturally to respect authority may have inhibited one’s assertiveness in dealing with difficult managers.
Being aware of the possible origins of one’s low self-esteem, and recognizing that low self-esteem is largely learned is an inherently empowering exercise. As a learned anomaly, low self-esteem can also be unlearned, just like replace a poor habit with a healthy habit. In “How to Let Go of Negative Thoughts and Emotions (link is external),” I present a step-by-step exercise on how to recognize and eradicate one’s negatively conditioned “old tape”.
- Change Negative Social Comparisons to Humanization
One of the easiest and most common ways to feel bad about oneself is to compare yourself unfavorably to others. We may be tempted to compare ourselves with those who have more accomplishments, seem more attractive, make more money, or boast more Facebook friends.
When you find yourself wishing to have what someone else has, and feel jealous, inferior or inadequate as the result, you’re having a negative social comparison moment.
Two interesting notes about negative social comparison:
- Negative social comparison has elements of narcissism.
When we wish to look, be, or have like others, we’re not really wishing for everything about that person, but only the idealized aspects of the individual. This idealized and grandiose perception of another is narcissistic in nature. Chances are, not even those whom your compare yourself with can live up to your idealized images of them. This is why so often when people spend some length of time with their “heroes,” “heroines,” “role models,” or “idols,” they discover that those whom they look up to also have weaknesses, flaws, difficulties and problems just like everyone else.
- It’s relatively easy to change from idealizing to humanizing.
For example, you may wish that you have the perfect career and a lot of money like your manager Joe, or the good looks of your friend Kelly, or a wonderful romantic relationship like Samantha. Comparing yourself with them might cause you to feel somehow “lesser.” But when you look at their lives more objectively, you know that Joe has health problems and family issues, Kelly is actually insecure about her looks, and it took Samantha a painful divorce and many hard lessons before she found a compatible mate. Looking at them from a more balanced perspective, you realize there’s more than meets the eye, and that they’re human beings with their own share of challenges like you.
- Create Positive Sanctuaries In Your Life
The final tip to change from low self-esteem to healthy self-esteem is to create positive sanctuaries in your life, where on a regular basis you can receive supportive, realistic, and affirming messages. This can occur in the company of positive family members, friends, counselor, therapist, support groups, teachers, colleagues, or community organizations. Identify and embrace your basis of support based on acceptance of who you are as a person, empathy for your weaknesses and vulnerabilities, and encouragement for you to move forward in your life in a healthy and constructive way.
Thank you Mr. Ni.
Other works by Mr. Ni can be found at http://nipreston.com/new/publications/
He adds, “For more on personal and professional success, download free excerpts of my publications (click on title or cover): “How to Communicate Effectively and Handle Difficult People (link is external),” “Communication Success with Four Personality Types (link is external),” “The 7 Keys to Life Success (link is external),” “Seven Keys to Long-Term Relationship Success (link is external),” and “Confident Communication for Female Professionals (link is external).”
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Sources: brainyquote.com, Wikipedia, fciwomenswrestling.com, fciwomenswrestling2.com, FCI Elite Competitor, femcompetitor.com, photos thank you Wikimedia Commons.