A healthy self-esteem is important to an individual’s mental health and ability to relate well with others. By strengthening one’s self-esteem, you will automatically become more content in your relationships which covers almost every aspect of your life which includes; family, career, social life and health. You will not need to rely so much on the opinion of others to feel good about yourself.
Understanding the role self esteem plays in our lives is very important. It is therefore a no brainer to actively seek to build and strengthen our self-esteem. Knowing deep within you that you are lovable just the way you are is a pointer that you have a healthy self-esteem. That does not mean that you will not continue to aspire to grow and develop, it means that you are not seeking approval before embarking on things that you love and enjoy. It also means you are not afraid to try something new or take risks.
Self-esteem is made up primarily of two things: feeling lovable and feeling capable. ~ Jack Canfield
How to improve your self-esteem
- Stop blaming and criticizing yourself.
Oftentimes, being consistently exposed to environments where you are constantly put down, judged and criticised leads to low self-esteem. You are now struggling because you have developed a negative perception of yourself. Unhealthy environments could be those found in your work place, relationships sometimes family. You have to retrain your brain and begin to appreciate yourself instead of blaming and allowing yourself to wallow in shame. The moment you begin to think that there is something wrong with you then you are inviting the feeling of shame into your heart. In the words of John Bradshaw feeling of shame means “There’s something wrong with me” whilst guilt means “I did something wrong”. Understanding the difference between the two will go along way in helping adjust your mindset.
- Develop awareness
When we are aware, we can recognize how we react and respond to our concerns, establishing a gap between our emotions and actions. Then we can choose to respond more healthily. For example one of my clients needed to apply for funding towards a project that was dear to her heart but was held back by the fear of rejection and disappointment. Once she recognised what the emotions she felt was and how it stood between her desired dreams she took a leap of faith and applied for the funding still ‘feeling afraid’. You see she recognised the limitations of her emotions but chose a healthier response by her actions. What negative or self-sabotaging emotions are you harbouring and what will your reciprocal actions be?
- Write in a journal
Many of our thoughts and feelings are buried deep within our subconscious minds, and writing can help us bring them to light. Writing on how we feel and think can aid in the separation of negative self-perceptions from the truth of who we are. You can start keeping a journal today, you never know what you will unravel!
- Be non-judgmental
When we approach our lives non-judgmentally, we just accept ourselves, our experiences, our failures and accomplishments, and other people for who they are, no matter how good or horrible, without shame or pride they may be.
- Participate in your own life
Being conscious of our own needs allows us to take control of our life by encouraging us to be active and assertive. Awareness of your thoughts and choosing your responses to them enables you to take action and participate in your own life, rather than be reactive you are proactive.
- Study your habits and form new ones
If you’re not conscious of your current habits, you won’t be able to establish new ones or harness the power of positive thinking. Is there anything that sends you down a path of self-doubt? Do you react to situations openly, or do you use defence mechanisms? If so, what are they? You can start by keeping a journal after a while you will notice a pattern of habits that you have that are creating fear, self-doubt in you. Once you are able to identify and label them you can now begin to think of healthy habits to replace them with.
Again remember nothing changes until you do. You can improve your self-esteem by taking decisive and intentional baby steps!
7. Praise and Approval
As couples it is important that you support each other by offering genuine appreciation and praise. By your actions you are validating your partner and also helping him/her to become more confident. Saying something along the lines of . “Your dedication to the children is unparalleled, I feel so blessed our children have you in their lives” or “Your ability to be spontaneous helps me to relax and enjoy myself”. Comments like these have a way of reinforcing the positive attributes we have as humans.
Always remember that the way we communicate with each can affect ourselves- esteem one way or the other as well.