Self esteem is an inward acknowledgement of self worth whether good or bad. Good self judgment results to high self esteem and bad self judgment to low self esteem. Your approach to life is a representation of how you measure yourself. When there is high self esteem, there is purposeful living, in true appreciation of abilities and potentials. A person with high self esteem is confident and commands authority and respect within their environment. They possess great positive energy and turn to be very attractive and are often crowd pullers. A man with high self esteem takes responsibility for his actions and doesn’t fear to admit to errors because he knows he can sincerely make amends. He is always in the practice of self improvement. He consciously unites his body, mind and spirit in one happy thought and this generates more positive feelings which work hand-in-glove to unlock his God given abilities that are needed as he walks the path to success. In high self esteem, a person becomes self empowered and can easily overcome negative peer pressure. He/she willingly seeks feedback on initiatives and welcomes the feedback in confidence, carefully choosing which to implement for the greater good of purpose. With the right level of self esteem, you acquire the right approach to life wherein success and happiness are not defined by the absence of challenges but by the ability to overcome challenges victoriously.
Signs of Low Self Esteem.
If you consider yourself as unworthy or judge yourself poorly, your world would eventually see you as same. You are the lens through which others see you and what you zoom out is what is seen by those who look in your direction. Those who judge themselves wrongly end up with low confidence and often lose track of their goals in life because they keep living the lives of others. If you are doing things because you need others to see and approve, you are no longer living a value filled life, but a life of inadequacy. A low confident person suffers from inferiority complex and this is a turn off to those in their environment because very often they are filled with so much negative energy and always playing the role of the victim. When they fail to gain public approval or opinion, they switch to seeking sympathy and adopt the blame habit. They very often consider themselves as failure or live constantly in the fear of failing. Such persons are timid, lack the ability to take initiatives, have no personal voice among peers. They usually turn out to be difficult because their lack of confidence makes them very judgmental, unappreciative, controlling and unapproachable.
Causes of Low Self Esteem:
People are not born with low self esteem. Low esteem comes as a result of some overdue situations and circumstances; some of which include the following:
- Childhood experiences: Some people had a very difficult childhood and as such grew up with the measurement their immediate circle gave them. For example, some were abused, others were called names and treated as alternatives or second class-never feeling loved or given a sense of belonging. Children who had a difficult childhood are most likely to judge themselves poorly and also suffer from inferiority complex. There are adults today whose childhood experiences have given them the notion that they are not attractive or beautiful; smart or capable of any achievement. Others grew up without any form of appreciation or opportunity to learn from their mistakes and today they are so scared of taking initiatives for fear of failure. Some of them find it so hard to appreciate or love others because they didn’t get that as children. Painful childhood experiences make some people grow up with very low self esteem because the values built in childhood last a life time.
- Shame: Shame is a painful source of low self esteem because it feels like a constant reminder of embarrassment. Some adults today are still living with the shame of their past, some of which might have been inherited either by belonging to a particular family or community. Others because of something shameful they did or which was done to them such as abuse, molestation etc. Living in shame brings in very low self esteem. It constantly reminds you of what happened and how embarrassed you were and stops you from making any progress in life. It is like living behind a wall because somewhere at the back of your mind you think others will judge you by that past. Such people often think they are not fit for any task because they might mess things up like they once did.
- Peer Pressure: This affects both children and adults alike. The influence your peers have on you is often big but even bigger when you are constantly trying to belong or gain admiration. This is common among people who grew up in loneliness and constantly live in fear of being alone. The thought of going back to the lonely past keeps them in need of company whether good or bad. Such people are likely to do anything to fit into a group they identify with even if it means compromising their values. It is unfortunate that many of such people pay the price of the sacrificial lamb in the group because of the fear isolation or expulsion. This makes them always seeking approval or admiration and will go to any length. When a person lives life based on the views of others, it is an indication of low self esteem.
- Relationships: Some people have suffered from abusive relationships that have cost them their self esteem and confidence. The abusive nature of their partners has made them dislike themselves and feel worthless. They are unable to take initiatives, nor appreciate anything around them because they think everyone around them is like a repetition of their past experiences.
How to Build self esteem:
Self esteem is something people should constantly work on. It is like taking a birth control pill whereby failure to take a pill will result to pregnancy. In the same way, when you stop working on your self esteem, it drops. Sometimes it could fall as low as zero especially when challenges strike in. Thus it is important to continuously work on it to maintain a high standard of confidence. Below are practical ways of working on your self esteem and raising it from zero to a possible 100.
- Acknowledge your fears and fight them. Acknowledging your fears has to do with confronting your weaknesses as far as your abilities are concerned. For example, if you are often shy, join a group such as social group/church group or choir and be open to new friends. Also take up roles in such groups that give you the opportunity to talk to people. This will boost your interaction and improve your confidence in approaching others.
- Change your inner dialogues; Let your conversation with yourself be positive. Complement yourself and learn to complement others. You cannot give what you don’t have and always remember that what you give is what you get. Tell yourself what you would like others to tell you. For example, if you like to hear people complement your looks, take some time off every day and tell yourself how beautiful you are. Say them until you can feel your mind agreeing to it.
- Don’t judge your worth based on your looks. Physical appearance is no judge of personal worth. Take a minute and write down the things you love about yourself other than your looks. Look at your abilities/potentials/talents/ etc You will be amazed at how many you would come up with.
- Don’t try to be anyone else but yourself. Stop comparing yourself with others because you would constantly be reminded of what you do not have. Competition is not healthy because you end up struggling to be others and unappreciative of the things that make you unique. You are beautifully and fearfully made. Don’t try to seek the approval of others because they have no idea what resides in you. Their judgment is what you let them see. Be proud of the person that dwells inside of you and tap into your hidden abilities.
- Avoid the company of those who make you feel any less of who you are. It doesn’t matter who such company is made of. If it makes you think lowly about yourself, avoid it because they are not deserving of your company. Never see yourself as the problem when a group is concerned because it would only mean that you continuously struggle for their approval.
- Own your errors: People who are fund of blaming others for their mistakes are suffering from very low self esteem. They constantly blame others for their mistakes rather than take responsibility for their actions, in fear of losing the public approval they have fought so hard to acquire. Challenge yourself to admitting your errors and make efforts to correct your mistakes. This will help you in self development.
- Discover your motivation and commit to it. Take a quiet moment and find the thing that lightens your mood, and that makes you remember your childhood big dreams. Such a source of motivation can be very useful as you work on your self esteem.
Think highly of yourself in true appreciation of your worth. You are fearfully and wonderfully made. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Stop attributing your worth to beauty and physical appearances. Rather look at your inner self and appreciate your worth by measuring your abilities and potentials. Therefore, focus on those areas of your life you are proud of and use them to get to those dreams you desire.
© 2017, Pauline Njah. All rights reserved.