Successfully Managing Low Self-Esteem

Roberta tragically lost her father in a freak accident when she was eighteen years old. Her mother took the reins and controlled Roberta’s life by making her stay at home and work for the family business, rather than going off to college as planned. To escape her mother’s firm grip, Roberta married at the age of twenty and began her family. Five children later Roberta found herself depressed and lonely, although she loved her family.

self esteemShe neglected herself except on rare occasions and secretly felt like a failure. When her ‘baby’ was about to go off to the college of her dreams, Roberta finally decided to get some outside help. Over time she realized that she had traded in her mother for a controlling husband. Her self-esteem was damaged, but salvageable. Roberta needed to become aware of her inner feelings around loss and neglect and find her true voice. In addition, she had to learn how to create healthy boundaries with her husband and how to take better care of herself physically and emotionally.

Healthy self-esteem is central to emotional well-being. It is the way a person perceives herself and her personal value. It is the core belief that you are competent, resourceful and resilient in the face of life’s challenges.

Some characteristics of a woman with low self-esteem

  • She operates out of fear and an inability to step up to the demands of challenging situations.
  • She does not feel worthy or deserving of happiness, even when she acts like she does.
  • She compares herself to others and does not measure up.
  • She fears rejection in her relationships.
  • She does not feel worthy and often does not take good care of herself except in superficial ways.
  • She personalizes the feedback of others, even when it is well intended.
  • Her external actions and behaviors don’t match her inner beliefs about herself which makes matters worse.

Some characteristics of person with positive self-esteem

  • She believes she is a worthy person and deserves to be happy.
  • She has confidence in her ability to think things through.
  • She respects herself and expect others to do so as well.
  • She knows that her value is not measured by her material possessions.
  • Her relationships tend to be strong because she feels good about herself and she values these connections.
  • She exhibits confidence in her ability to offer something unique to other people–herself.
  • She internalizes constructive criticism without personalizing, thereby deepening her capacity for growth.
  • She likely experiences success personally, professionally and relationally.

Making yourself conscious of your internal feelings is the first step toward boosting your self-esteem.

Strategies for Boosting Self-esteem

1.  Focus what’s good in your life – the things that make your life worthwhile. Rather than accepting and dwelling on negative experiences, find ways to see the positive angle in your experiences.

2.  Meditate: Meditate to connect you with your inner wisdom, strength and well-being.

3.  Discover the qualities that you like about yourself. Think about things about yourself that draw your friends and family to you i.e. your creativity, generosity, integrity, communication skills and your ability to care for the welfare of others.

4.  Learn to change your inner critic from a negative, criticizing voice into a positive voice that offers constructive guidance. Use affirmations to help you change negative self-talk. Remind yourself that you are already worthy and deserve to be happy.

5.  Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments. Start appreciating what works. Small accomplishments create the pathway for bigger accomplishments.

6.  Surround yourself with positive and supportive people. When you surround yourself with negative people, you are more likely to think negatively. Similarly when you surround yourself with positive and supportive people, you are more likely to think optimistically and feel good about yourself.

7.  Keep a gratitude journal. When you start paying attention to all the good in your life, you are likely to feel more grateful and better about you self.

8.  Resist comparing yourself to others. There will always be people that have more than you and less than you. Focus on what is yours and how to make the best of it.

9.  Turn your home into a haven where you can escape the busy, hectic world. Surround yourself with music, books, art, friends and a space that makes you feel good.

10. Learn to let go and forgive yourself for not being perfect. Perfection is a setup for failure.

What strategies do you use when your self-esteem needs a boost?

Painting by Alison Seiffer

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