How’s your self-esteem? Do you value yourself and believe you are worthy? Or are you like thousands of women who have an innate ability to put themselves down?
I am passionate about self-esteem. If I could wave a magic wand and make every woman in the world feel good about themselves, I would. Unfortunately, I don’t have that wand, but I do have some words of wisdom on this crucial issue.
Self-esteem is the term given to how you feel about yourself. It’s your measure of worth in your eyes. You can have low self-esteem or high self-esteem. In other words, you can feel good about yourself or bad about yourself. You can feel worthy or worthless.
Whatever you choose has a knock-on effect on every aspect of your life. I say choose because at some point you chose to feel this way. Maybe subconsciously but still a choice.
Having low self-esteem can affect everything from what you wear, to the food you eat, the people you hang out with, how much you get paid and everything in between.
Even if you don’t suffer with low self-esteem, there will always be times in your life when it will be affected. Losing a job, a partner, being passed over for promotion, bullied, exiled, having a baby, putting on weight, losing too much weight, not having good friendships, social circles. There are so many life events that can affect our self-esteem.
If your friends suddenly leave you out of the group or do something on you, you’re gonna feel pretty shit in yourself. “What’s wrong with me?” “Did I do something wrong?” “I must be worthless, nobody likes me”.
Well I am here to tell you to forget all those things that people did on you to make you feel crap in yourself. Stop blaming yourself for other people’s mistakes. Don’t put yourself down, belittle yourself or think any less of yourself. These tactics don’t work. They haven’t worked in the past. Won’t in the future. And will only make you feel worse than you already feel.
If you have read any other part of this site, you will know by now that I have a real interest and love of the ego and spirituality. These two play a pivotal role in my life and I bring them into every aspect of my experience.
I come from the understanding that we are made up of the ego/personality and spirit. Our spirit connects us to all other spiritual beings on earth and to our higher power. Our ego is what we take on for this lifetime experience. We need both to live a successful life. And it’s my belief that we can never fully get rid of our ego but we can tame and direct it in the way that we want.
I like to separate these two, as I believe it makes the issues of life so much easier to deal with. If we see ourselves as spiritual people who are whole and pure, then we can deal with the dysfunction of our ego. The essence of who you are is spirit and your ego is the shell. So, when you suffer with issues of self-worth, it’s not you who is suffering, it is your ego.
Losing a connection to your true self
An issue for many people with low self-esteem is that their ego has become them. They have lost a connection to their true self, their essence. When they suffer with low self-esteem, their entire being suffers and not just the part that is the low self-esteem. They are operating subjectively i.e. from their subconscious. This has become so magnified, that they can’t get a hold of their issue of low self-esteem.
I would like to help reverse this way of being. If you review your experience objectively, you can separate it from you and work with it to make lasting change. From an objective viewpoint, you can see how the habit of low self-esteem was formed.
How we think and feel has been formed out of habit. Most of these since childhood. Others, through the experiences we have encountered throughout life.
I’m not an expert on mental or emotional issues. But I’ve enough understanding to know that when we form unhealthy habits, they wreak havoc on our life.
I have slipped into some unhealthy habits mentally and emotionally throughout my life, but I’ve also been able to get myself out of these too. To combat my unhealthy habits, I read books and blogs on the area I want to improve as part of my personal development.
One such book is Alex Korb’s, The Upward Spiral. The focus on the book is depression and how the brain is wired. This wiring is formed through habit. Even if you don’t suffer with depression, it is worth a read. It shows how habits are formed and gives exercises on how to change them.
The beauty of this book is that it takes a complicated subject and simplifies it. It’s empowering to know that everything we do is formed out of habit and that we have the power to change these habits.
Low self-esteem is a habit. And one that every woman should prioritise as part of their daily personal development work.
Feelings are the energy that makes things happen
Creation begins with our thoughts. But our feelings are the fuel that make our thoughts a reality. Put a match to your feelings and you can make anything happen.
I know this may sound a bit like the law of attraction. But many people who study the law of attraction focus too much on the outcome or the outer world. They focus on the objects they want in their life.
The focus here is about feeling good about yourself, regardless of what you have in your life.
How you feel about yourself will have a direct impact on the quality of your life. So, it’s important to feel good about yourself, not just for improving one aspect of your life but for improving the overall quality of your life.
And no matter how bad you may feel about yourself now or how low your self-esteem is, you can form new feelings about yourself. And in doing so create new healthy habits.
Let’s talk a little about choice
Let’s say you were left out, bullied, isolated or whatever it was that made you feel bad, in that moment you made a choice to feel bad about yourself. This is only natural, right? When we continue to do this, we form a habit. And when we let enough terrible things in, we form an unhealthy habit.
The mistake we make with painful feelings is that we either ignore them or allow them to sink in without questioning them. Doing either of these only enhances our feelings of low self-esteem.
But now we are going to become masters of our feelings.
Time to choose a new habit
Do you ever see those people who just don’t seem to let anything get to them?
They have just formed a different habit.
“The power of choice happens when you consciously choose not to let the harmful stuff in”.
The next time you are bullied, left out etc notice how you feel. Pretty bad, right? Just acknowledge that feeling. When you notice the feeling, you can say something like this to yourself;
“Ok, I feel pretty bad right now, but I am not letting this feeling sink in. That was a lousy thing for them to do but I’m not gonna feel bad about it. It’s their loss, not mine. If I had any hand in it, then I will do whatever to fix my end but I’m not gonna be bound by their end. I don’t need people like that in my life. And I don’t need anyone in my life who is gonna make me feel bad about myself. And I certainly don’t need to make myself feel bad. Yes, it’s pretty shit what they did but I am a strong confident person and I believe in myself. I know my worth.”
It doesn’t really matter whether you believe any of this or not. The point is that you say it. Our belief system is dumb. It will believe anything we tell it. So, keep saying these things to yourself and watch how your belief system changes.
Choosing to do something different is how you break your habit.
Keeping the new habit going
After you say these words to yourself notice how you are feeling. If you start to feel bad, then say it again and again. And again, and again. Say it until those words become a barrier for that sinking feeling.
Master this technique. Watch how your confidence grows a little each time. Now press repeat. Keep doing it until one day it becomes a habit or as they say, 21 days. Or in my view, do this continuously and you can’t help but feel different about issues that normally effect you.
Self-esteem is a muscle that needs to be flexed regularly. Don’t be afraid to feel good about yourself on a constant basis. You are not doing yourself any favours by feeling crap in yourself. And those people who made you feel bad don’t care how you feel anyhow. So why would you feel bad in yourself because of them?
From today, make the commitment to turn your self-esteem on its head. No matter how shit you feel in yourself, don’t let the feelings sink in. Rise up. Be strong. And focus all your energy on feeling good. Find that Warrior Within.
Fake it til you make it
I went through a traumatic period in my life. I was miserable. I looked miserable. I felt miserable. I walked around with a sour puss on my face. Until one day I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I looked ugly. The negative feelings inside of me had caused my mouth to droop downwards and my chin to sink in. I said to myself, “no wonder I am so god damn miserable”. It wasn’t just the external traumatic events that were causing me problems. It was my own inner feelings that were causing even bigger ones.
I made a decision then and there to turn my life around. I decided to start feeling good in myself. It was hard. But I am an optimist. An optimist mixed with realism and practicality, so I know the effort that goes in to making change.
Stuck in a toxic situation?
As well you know, if you are in any type of toxic situation you need to remove yourself from it. But sometimes that can take time. That doesn’t mean that you can’t make some internal changes during this time. It’s the work that you do on yourself during this time that will give you the strength to leave the toxic situation. And remember that in the long run, if you don’t remove yourself from a toxic situation, it will have an impact on your mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health.
Top tips for improving self-esteem
- Start with the viewpoint that you are a spiritual person who has an ego. It is your ego that is suffering with issues of low self-esteem. Separating it out like this makes the issue not feel so overwhelming and all encompassing. It’s only an aspect of your ego that is suffering with low self-esteem and you are going to work on this part.
- Understand that the ego tends to veer on the negative side. It’s natural. Don’t beat yourself up if you have these tendencies to be more critical or negative towards yourself.
- Know that issues of low self-esteem are only a habit.
- Your belief system will believe what you tell it to believe. In the past you may have told it negative things about yourself, now you are going to tell it positive things about yourself.
- Your ego is kind of dumb! It needs to be directed or it will veer off in the wrong direction. You’ve got to stir the car in the direction you want it to go. Don’t be dragged along by your ego.
- You can reprogram your limiting beliefs using positive self-talk and daily affirmations. Affirmations are the holy grail of personal development.
- Remember that the habit of low self-esteem was formed out of a choice. You can now choose to create a different one.
- You can change your habits.
- Don’t beat yourself up over allowing yourself to feel bad – we all do it.
This blog post isn’t a substitute for therapy. I am not a trained therapist. I am a certified coach but that isn’t the basis for this content. I write because of my deep passion and commitment to personal development. Everything that I write about on this blog I write from experience.
I have been to different therapists over the years. Some I’ve benefited from. Others I haven’t. But what has been the most valuable to me, is my own personal work.
I know how to make changes in my life. And the particular areas that interest me, are the aspects of our ego that prevent us from living the best life possible. Those such as low self-esteem.
I know that changes is possible for all of us. We have the power to live the best life imaginable. But I also know how hard it can be. Working with a therapist or a coach is a good starting point. But never underestimate the power of Self. Personal development of your own making is empowerment. If you can work though an issue of low self-esteem by actively choosing how your development will go, then you have empowered yourself.
With empowerment comes high self-esteem. Nobody can give you that. You give it to yourself in how you feel about yourself. So, start to feel good about yourself by making a choice to feel good about who you are, no matter the circumstances.
Photo by Kari Shea on Unsplash