How do we define esteem and what does it mean to have low self esteem?
Esteem is defined as follows according to the Oxford Dictionary Online:
As a noun it means: respect or admiration
As a verb it means: respect and admire
When you esteem something you respect it and admire it because it has positive qualities which you value. Self esteem means how you regard and value yourself.
Having low self esteem would mean that you do not respect or value yourself highly. If you feel like this about yourself you will not feel in control and negativity may take hold of you. Your confidence may be low also and so you will not believe in your ability to be successful. You may be more likely to believe other people’s negative comments rather than trust your own opinions.
It is possible to have too much confidence and pride, but too much self esteem? I don’t think so. If you do not know your limits and have unrealistic confidence then you may be heading for a big fall. In the same way, pride can result in a large ego and if things do not go according to how you expect, you may really get hurt. As with everything else, you need balance and self esteem will give you that.
What else do you need to know?
There is more to self esteem than first meets the eye. On the one hand, someone may clearly lack confidence and have a low opinion of themselves, whereas, some people may appear to have confidence but their efforts to take charge and be in control is a cover for their low self esteem. Many of these people do not admit to themselves that they have any problem and continue to aggressively appear full of self esteem. There are many people who have leadership positions who deep down have low self esteem despite pretending to be someone who is in control and who makes decisions confidently. This will lead to a lot of stress and pain as the pretence is covering up the real person inside. You will see the true reality of this kind of person when they face real problems and when things go wrong. They will be unable to accept any criticism and demand others do what they say without question.
True self esteem is always positive and honest. When a person has true self esteem they are never anxious or angry and can always accept valid criticism. The confidence they have will help them most in difficult situations. They will be able to ask others for help if they need and will not be afraid to admit they don’t know everything. Confidence is genuine and is backed up with self awareness, that is, knowing our own limits. There is no need to be in control of everything and everyone. Allowing others to make decisions for themselves and giving responsibility to others while being responsible for your own life, that is true self esteem. Everything is in balance.
Relationships are such a big challenge so when things go wrong here the person who is truly OK with himself has the natural confidence to question himself and examine what needs to change. The difference that true self esteem makes is that this change includes personal soul searching and the ability to consider personal improvements that may be needed. Taking personal responsibility for one’s own behaviour and contribution to relationships and the ability to admit fault makes a huge difference.
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Blame is mostly pointless and often serves to make you feel better by allowing you to avoid taking responsibility. When you blame someone else you deny to yourself that you have any fault. Taking responsibility for your own self esteem and confidence means that you need to understand what happens to you is at least partly down to you. Rather than blame, which is very negative, ask what you could do better to improve the situation. What can you change and what would be the result of that?
One way to improve your life is to stop holding grudges and working out ways to get back at someone. You will be so much happier if you learn to forgive
- Tell yourself “I can do”, “I can have” and believe that whatever you want in life, you can have it because you can create it.
- Work out exactly how and when you are not valuing yourself by asking yourself “What annoys me? When do I get most annoyed?” Think about the feelings you experience in those situations and try to understand why you are not valuing yourself in those situations. What can you change about how you think so you can value yourself more in those moments?
- Starting a daily journal may help you to explore the times when you get really irritated as above and will allow you to examine what is happening in your mind and what you should do about it.
Make a real effort to find the real you. If you are not living true to who you are then one result is low self esteem. The real you is natural and confident and totally unique. You should spend time to find out exactly who that real you is. This adventure leads to happiness because when you live according to your values and strengths, your life will be fulfilling and meaningful.
Self Development v Self Improvement
There is quite a big difference between the two. Why is this important for you? Well, if you focus on improvement you may think there are things wrong with you that need fixing and this is quite a negative way of thinking. If you think in terms of self development you can appreciate that life is all about learning and developing by moving forward, it is not about constantly fixing things. When you are building your self esteem you need positive changes not corrections or fixes.
To improve your self esteem and confidence you need to change. The biggest change is in your way of thinking. Perhaps you also need to make changes in your life too with go with this new way of thinking. You should aim to replace negative thoughts with positive ones and this will enable you to take positive steps leading to your self development. These changes need time and energy.
Have you ever noticed how confident people have lots of energy? In the same way, those with low self esteem have little energy. So building up your energy levels is a good first step to breaking the negative cycle. How do you improve your energy levels? Here are a few suggestions:
- Get more exercise – which not only makes you more energetic but helps you to look and feel better.
- Eat well – diet is so important. Don’t skip or miss meals and eat healthy food. You should respect your body by thinking carefully about what you eat.
- Sleep well – do everything you can to get a good night’s sleep. Don’t take sleeping tablets but aim for natural sleep as a result of being tired from healthy exercise. If you want to enjoy restful natural sleep – read this – it really helped me when I was suffering from insomnia.
- Spend time as often as you can with those you love. Make time in your week for activities and passtimes you enjoy.
Improving How You Feel Inside
How can you improve your self image?
The best way to answer this question is to tell you how I improved my self image and esteem and I hope my experience will help you to do the same. First let me briefly tell you that I suffered from very low self esteem, low confidence and depression for many years. I went through my youth and even into my late twenties as a very shy person who had few friends and little social life. I felt inferior and thought I was unattractive. I hated any attention and avoided it like the plague.
Now my life is very different and I have confidence. I know back then my view of myself was completely unrealistic. If only I knew what I know now I would have been a happy young man. How did I make the change?
I did it step by step. I tried to change my thoughts from negative to positive. I filled my brain with positive things. I know that is easily said, it took me many months really at least to recover my self esteem and rid myself od my depression. I also saw a therapist and took medication to allow me to relax enough to work on my thinking.
I started writing about self help and my experiences. I began to help others like you who were suffering from the same problems. Changing the focus from you to others is another great step in conquering poor self image. I also started to be kind to myself. I thought about what I wanted and planned ways to go about getting that.
I even wrote a best-selling book called “Self esteem Secrets” which guides you through twelve steps to improving how you feel about yourself. Check out my e-book here.
My life–and my confidence–is incredibly improved now and depression is a thing of the past for me.
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