Are you concerned about others’ opinions of you? Do you refrain from standing in the spotlight at work or avoid expressing your beliefs? Perhaps you engage in people pleasing? As a result, these actions might lead you to achieve less than what you are capable off.
Self-esteem is sometimes referred to as self-worth or self-respect. Research has indicated that genetics play a role to what degree we develop a healthy self-esteem. However, a lack of self-worth often originates from situations we encountered previously. The past might have shaped us to develop certain deep-seated negative images and beliefs about ourselves. These are often perceived as facts and truths about our true identity. In reality, they are simply opinions that we hold of ourselves. These views do not define who you are, you can turn your self-esteem around.
Reinvent your “ideal self” image
We all have an idea of the “perfect me”, the person we are hoping to become. This is often heavily influenced by other peoples’ attitudes and the environment we live in. If this image is unattainable, we might experience feelings of shame and guilt.
To define a more authentic self, map out what is truly important to you. It can help to think of situations when you felt empowered and happy with yourself. The best version of you when you acted in ways you enjoy, respect and admire. Identify a clear realistic objective, then work through any fears that might be hindering you from obtaining it. Try not to disguise but own your imperfections.
Confront your inner critic
Most people have an internal negative voice or dialogue and the impact it has on you depends on whether you listen to it. The less attention you pay self-criticism, the more silent it becomes. Challenge negative self-talk through questioning the statements and replace the thoughts with more realistic ones. You could ask yourself; how can I absolutely know that it is true?
Another approach is to notice the thought, thank it for trying to help you and consider what a friend would say instead.
Avoid being harsh on yourself
Many people have a deep fear that they don’t fit in. It is natural to want to be part of social groups, indeed our survival as humans once depended on being part of a community. However, avoid trying to fit into groups that you do not particularly want to join. Instead, open up about your vulnerabilities, you are more prone to be liked by people who matter. There will always be people who do not like you for whatever reason. Finding a like-minded supportive group that accepts you, will provide a more relaxed and safer environment to express yourself.
Sidestep approval seeking
When we feel insecure about our appearances or the work we produce, it is common to feel an urge to ask for reassurance from others. However, this habit does not lead to lasting self-esteem. Trust your instincts that you are good enough, you do not have to be perfect. Learn to accept positive feedback without making excuses or playing down your efforts. Even though it is tempting, try to avoid comparing yourself to others.
Strengthen your assertiveness skills
Practice defining and firming up your boundaries. Identify what is truly important to you. Acknowledge that it is fine to decline requests. Initially, it might feel awkward as people are not used to this more assertive you. It could be easier to start practicing speaking up for your beliefs in less threatening social situations, e.g. a restaurant or a shop. Eventually you will build up your courage to express yourself more freely extended to other parts of your life.
These strategies aim to develop a more realistic well-balanced view of yourself and your abilities. It is by no means an exhaustive list on how to increase your self-esteem. You might want to seek professional clinical assistance to examine and transform your deep-seated core beliefs about yourself.
If you are interested in scheduling an appointment with Malin Rignéus or would like to learn more about self worth, please contact us today.