There are times in all of our lives when we lack confidence and self esteem and don't feel very good about ourselves.  Self esteem is how we view and value ourselves.  When we have high self esteem we tend to feel good about ourselves and about our lives but with low self esteem we tend to view ourselves negatively and critically and find life in general harder. 

Low self esteem often begins in our childhood years.  Parents, siblings, friends, teachers and those around us give us positive and negative messages about ourselves and those of us who are more sensitive or more prone to negative thinking tend to zone in on and personalise the negative messages and feel we are not worthy or good enough.  The problem with thinking we are not good enough is that we can then begin to really believe it, to own it and to behave as if it's true. When low self esteem becomes a long term problem it can have a harmful effect on our long term mental health.  So what can we do today to ensure our self esteem is healthy?  

Learn to identify your negative thoughts  You may tell yourself you're ‘not pretty enough to be liked’, ‘too stupid to get that job’, that ‘nobody cares anyway’.  Start to challenge these thoughts with positive things about yourself.  ‘I am clever because I've always done well in exams’, ‘I have good friends so they must find me attractive’, ‘I am caring, thoughtful etc’.  Anytime you hear the inner critic in your mind challenge it with something positive.

Find something that you are good at doing and do it, everyone is good at something whether it's sport, singing, cooking, cleaning, listening, chatting, helping,  whatever it is find what you're good at and go do it.  Doing something that you like to do and you know you do well always helps you to feel good about yourself. 

Surround yourself with positive people.  We often don't realise the impact of negative people on our mood and lives.  If certain people are dragging you down try to spend less time with them. Recognise the positive people in your life, they will appreciate you more and allow you to feel better about yourself. 

Don’t be afraid to say No!   Often people with low self esteem are yes people, not wanting to say no and hurt other people's feelings.  Remember your feelings are the most important so start checking in with yourself.  If you want to say no feel the fear and say it. You'll survive and chances are you will feel better about yourself after.  

Start treating yourself like you treat your friends.  Often people with low self esteem make great friends because they are thoughtful caring and giving and often put their friends first before themselves.  So today start treating yourself like you would a friend. Would you be critical of your friend like you are of yourself?  Would you speak to your friend the way you speak to yourself?  Be nice to yourself, be gentle and caring and stop the criticism because simply you don't deserve it.

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