Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Self Esteem

Self-esteem is not like a cool pair of shoes that you'd love to have but don't really have to have. Good self-esteem is important because it helps us hold our head high and feel proud of ourselves and what we are capable of. It gives us the courage to try new things as well as the power to believe in ourselves.

Most people's feelings and thoughts about themselves fluctuate somewhat based on their daily experiences. Self-esteem is something more fundamental than the daily 'ups and downs'. For those with good self-esteem, normal 'ups and downs' may lead to a temporary change in how your feel about yourself, but only for a limited time. For people with poor self-esteem, such 'ups and downs' make all the difference in the world. (Lyness 2002)

Our self-esteem  develops and evolves through out our lives as we build an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and events. Experiences during our childhood play a particular large role in the shaping of our self-esteem. As we grow up our success and how we are treated by people close to us and those we relate to at school and work has an impact on our self-esteem. (Counselling and Metal Health Centre University of Texas).

Consequences of Low Self-Esteem

Having low self-esteem can have serious consequences -

  • anxiety, stress, loneliness can result;

  • depression can develop;

  • have an affect on relationships with friends and family;

  • it could lead to increased use of alcohol and drugs;

Worst of all, these negative consequence themselves reinforce the negative self image and can take a person into a downward spiral of further low self-esteem.

Improving Self-Esteem

There are a number of ways to build self esteem; learning how to set personal professional  goals, using affirmations consistently to help stimulate  your imagination  of how you want to change and what you want to create in your life. Reading and using self esteem quotes as a tool for inspiration and motivation can be helpful. (Julie Plenty)

Firstly, in order to improve your self-esteem, you must believe that it is possible too! change is not likely to happen quickly or easily, but it can happen. You need to be conscious of the changes you are making at every opportunity. The following provides some strategies to assist you.

Rebut the Inner Critic

One of the important steps for improving self-esteem is to begin to challenge the negative message of your critical inner voice.

The Inner VoiceYour Rebuttals
Unfairly Harsh Inner Voice -
"people said they liked my presentation, but it was not as good as it should have been.I can't believe that no one noticed the errors.
Be Reassuring to your self -
"Wow, they really liked it. It may not have been perfect, but I put a great amount of effort into it . It was a success - I'm proud.
Generalizes Unrealistically -
I got an "F" on an  assignment. I don't understand anything in the class. Ian idiot.
Be Specific -
"I did poorly on one test, but  I've done well in the class work - there have been some parts that I did not fully understand, as well as I thought. I've done well in my other classes and they are of the same level.
Making leaps of Illogic -
He is pulling  faces. He has not said anything,  I know he doesn't like me.
Challenge Illogic -
He is pulling faces, I don't know why. It could have nothing  go do with me - I should ask.
Crisis -
...turned me down for a date! I'm so embarrassed and humiliated. No one cares about me - I'll never find anyone to love me.
Be Objective -
Wow, that was a surprise. So they don't want to go out with me. I'm an attractive and nice person, there is someone out there for me.

Be Self Nurturing

Rebutting your critical inner voice is an important step. Start to challenge past negative experiences or message by nurturing and caring for yourself in ways that show you are a valuable, competent and deserving person. There are several components to self-nurturing -

  • Practice Basic Self Care - get enough sleep, consider what you are eating; have regular exercise (walking is good).

  • Plan Fun and Relaxing Things for Yourself -  take a nap, potter in the garden, consider meditating.

  • Reward Yourself for Your Accomplishments - consider how you can reward yourself, spend time with a friend, give yourself complements.

  • Remind Yourself of Your Strengths & Achievements - one way to illustrate your strengths and achievements is to make a list, keep a "success file", ask your friends to tell you the strengths they see you having.

  • Forgive Yourself When you Don't o all you'd Hoped - self nurturing can be hard to do. Do not be critical of yourself.

Article by - WorkLifeMatters


Plenty Julie, Self Help Personal Development , online www.self-help-personal-development.com, accessed 15/1/05.

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