You Can Do It — Understanding and Overcoming Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem can often be traced back to childhood. For those who had a difficult upbringing or suffered through a traumatic event, low self-esteem is fairly common. However, its possible to develop self-esteem issues in adulthood as well.
When you go through a difficult time, it can affect the way you see yourself. For example, if you experience a relationship break up, or loose your job, you may internalise these negative experiences and consciously or subconsciously believe that it’s your fault and that you caused these bad things to happen. You may also feel a sense of loss, dreams dashed and an unknown future that lies ahead. It’s no wonder you can become uncertain and fearful.
Self esteem can also be effected by seemingly positive life experiences such as becoming a mum. Your expectations of yourself of your new role and the realities of parenting your baby might be very different. This can lead to the feeling of not being good enough.
7 steps you can take to overcome low self-esteem:
- Avoid telling yourself you “should have,” “could have,” or “would have.” If you’re constantly telling yourself “I could have done this,” or “I should have done that,” you’re focusing on things that have already happened and that you’re unable to change. Its better to look to the future and say, “Next time I’ll do this,” or “I’m going to do that.”
- Set reasonable expectations. Accept that your human and we all make mistakes. If you’re unwilling to accept anything less than perfection from yourself, you’ll feel completely discouraged when you inevitably make a mistake. Remember that every mistake you make is simply a chance to learn and grow.
- Recognise and celebrate your accomplishments. If your self-esteem is lacking, you might spend a lot of time focusing on the negative. Acknowledge your accomplishments and allow yourself to be happy. It’s okay to be proud of yourself.
- Take up the practice of Meditation. Meditation teaches you to let go of the past and accept the present just as it. This acceptance of what is happening right now can help to reduce generalising negative thinking such as “I always” or “I never”. A regular practice of mediation can also lead to the ability to step of the emotional roller coaster and instead simply notice feelings and emotions coming and going instead of being swayed by them.
- Make a list of all your best qualities. Get a pen and paper and write down your strengths, skills, talents, and positive personality traits. When people have low self-esteem, they often focus on all of the things they dislike about themselves. Taking some time to focus on your good qualities can have a very positive effect.
- Stop comparing yourself to others. There are 7.6 billion humans on the planet but only one you. It would be a boring world if we were all identical. We all have different resources available to us, such as money, time, knowledge and support. So it never works to be compared to another who may have had an unfair advantage. If you find yourself constantly comparing yourself to others on social media is getting you down it may be helpful to take a social media holiday.
- Consider seeking professional help. In more extreme cases, low self-esteem can have a negative impact on a person’s life and mental health. A person with very low self-esteem may have issues in their relationships, trouble in their careers, or a number of other challenges. Sometimes esteem issues can lead to anxiety, social withdrawal and depression. At this point its time to ask for help, because on our own we’re only tackling the tip of the iceberg. A professional can help you to be able to deal with the underlying issues that caused your low self-esteem in the first place.
There are many factors which can cause or contribute to low self-esteem. The key is to figure out how to overcome your low self-esteem and start feeling good about yourself again. Start by taking baby steps, doing one thing daily will have a bigger impact than trying to do everything, struggling and then giving up.
Final words go to Marianne Williamson, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be?”