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How can I improve my self esteem?

Updated: Feb 3


Chris Maragkakis. Blog author and life coach

What is self esteem and how do I get it?

Self esteem is in essence the confidence that we have in our own abilities. Maslow defined it as encompassing confidence, strength, self belief, personal and social acceptance and respect from others and stated that it was a basic need to for us to achieve self actualisation.


There are three types of self esteem.


1.Overly high, which sees people tend towards arrogance and feeling superior, they may be self indulgent, feel entitles and tend to overlook their own flaws while openly criticising others.


2.Low self esteem. Which sees people tending towards feeling inferior and believing that others are better than them. They may find it difficult to accept compliments, be afraid of failure and focus on their perceived weaknesses rather than the strengths that they have.


3. Healthy self esteem. Which sees people in a more balanced place with an accurate self view, able to identify and accept their strengths and weaknesses and hold realistic expectations for themselves and others. When we have healthy self esteem, we are more likely to feel secure and confident and look less for external validation which allows us to display individuality and conform less. we can maintain positive relationships, have a more positive outlook, make good decions, demonstrate advanced problem solving skills and adopt a growth mindset as failure is seen as an acceptable part of learning. Because of these core traits, people with healthy self esteem are less likely to suffer from anxiety or depression, eating disorders and addiction.


Low self esteem tends to be the most detrimental as it can negatively impact on all areas of life including school and the workplace, relationships, decision making and health.


How do I know if I have low self esteem?

Firstly, as always, we need to be mindful of our thoughts and behaviours so that we can begin to identify the ones that aren't working for us.


People with low self esteem tend to think in black and white, it's either all good or all bad.


They tend to over generalise, so if they have a negative experience, they then assume that all their experiences will go wrong.


Emotions are often mistaken for facts, so if they are feeling lazy or ugly, they will identify with that feeling and adopt a belief that they are lazy or ugly.


They tend to turn a positive into a negative as they have learned to look for what can go wrong and subconsciously try to head off failure by either sabotaging something themselves or not trying in case of failure.


People with low self esteem also tend to personalise everything and accept responsibility for everything that goes wrong whether they had anything to do with it or not.


How can I improve my self esteem?

Obviously through mindful awareness we can challenge and change the thoughts and behaviours that are undermine our security and confidence.

We can start to look for shades of gray in our thinking.


We can begin to train ourselves to look for something positive no matter how small in the situation and start to reframe the way we respond to our thoughts.


Once we have begun the work on identifying, challenging and changing our thoughts and this won't be an overnight miracle. We have to unlearn conditioned behaviour that we have bought into for a long time. But don't lose hope. Anything that has been learned can be un learned and small consistent tweaks are far more successful that huge sweeping changes. We can then begin to stretch ourselves a little and look for ways that we can begin to take risk and build our resilience.

Resilience is the knowledge that we will survive life. It doesn't have to be pretty and we may be hanging on by a thread at times but underneath it all we have faith that we will handle it.


Each time we take a risk and come through it our resilience grows The risks don't have to be huge. Start small with maybe trying something new to eat or sitting in a different place and as you grow in confidence, take more risk.


I'm not saying that you should take up skydiving but maybe say yes next time you're invited out or try a new activity. Risk assess it first and if you're not actually going to die, ask yourself what is the worst thing that can happen if it doesn't go to plan. Often things not going to plan have the best outcomes.


Stop comparing yourself with other people. We all have our unique skills and we can't possibly know what someone else feels like or what they have had to go through to have whatever it is that you think is better than you. They may be miserable and desperate but really good at hiding the truth.


Start to set effective boundaries. You don't have to do what everyone wants you to do and you don't have to put up with the way you are treated but standing up for yourself can be overwhelming.


Drawing a hard line in the sand or having a confrontation is very difficult to manage and can cause more stress than it's worth.


Instead have a set of responses that you can use to create some space for you to think or get yourself out of a situation Things like, I need to check my diary or I know I can't do that day but thanks for asking, it was very kind of you.


You could start looking at the people at situations in your life and let the ones that don't support you slowly fade away. Be busy when they ask you out or make less effort to contact them. Walk a different way to work so you don't bump into them or change your routines so that you don't find yourself having to do the things that aren't working out for you.

There's no hard and fast rule, do what you're comfortable with and try making kittle deals with yourself, If I do this, I can soak in the bath tonight or If I do that, I can but myself a new mascara. Reward yourself for putting yourself out there.


Have coaching. Work with a life coach on changing your mindset, how you view the past and how you manage to future and see how quickly your confidence, resilience and self esteem builds, reducing your anxiety, fear and loss of identity.

If this description of living with low self esteem sounds familiar, let that understanding settle for a while and be kind to yourself.


Then each day try something from this list of suggestions and slowly reclaim the confident and resilient person that you are under all that conditioning as begin to take control of your life one small, consistent step at a time.


If you would like to work on your self esteem,please get in touch.

Chris.



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