Your self esteem isn’t hard wired. By taking control of your thoughts and putting positive interpretations onto present and remembered situations, you can improve your self esteem and become a more confident, positive person.
Begin by focusing on your strengths. We have all developed strengths through our education, training, work and life experience. All too often, however, we take these strengths for granted, not giving ourselves the credit we deserve. So get into the habit of writing down a few of your successes each day, and relating these to your individual strengths. Take responsibility for your actions and praise yourself when you do a job well! And don’t worry that this might make you big-headed. Its all done in the privacy of your notebook and your thoughts. But paying attention to what you do well begins a momentum of actually building on your existing strengths, quite apart from giving yourself a confidence boost.
You should also spend a little time analyzing your weaknesses. Every one of us has gaps in our education, a tendency to procrastinate or to set off without proper preparation or some other “failure habit” that needs to be straightened out. There are some failings (principally physical limitations) we simply must accept, but many of our weaknesses can be worked around or eradicated. We have to be honest with ourselves about what we need to change and how much change is possible. But concentrate on small individual steps and little by little we will improve. Making time to praise yourself should be part of your end of day routine. You know that complimenting someone on a job well done reinforces that behavior (that’s why it’s a cornerstone of good child rearing) – well, it is just as important to praise ourselves as anyone else! It won’t come naturally at first, but as with anything else, if you practice giving yourself a mental “pat on the back” each evening, you will soon find yourself in an upward spiral of improving behaviors and greater success.
It is essential to plan ahead, knowing what we need and want to get done. Achievements are what really improve our self esteem. Each and every one of us has the same time available to us this week. Seven days of twenty four hours each. It’s up to us to find the best use of this time. The only sure thing is that however we spend our next week – we’ll never get that time back. Making a plan gives us a far greater chance of using the time most effectively. Write down your week’s goals along with a timeline to achieve them. Be sure to leave some slack in the system for the inevitable “firefighting” and hiccups that crop up. And be sure to build in some “me-time” where you can reassess your progress and even just chill out. Just don’t try to change your entire world in one week – only set goals you have a reasonable chance of completing in the time you’ve allowed.
Encourage yourself by seeing your goal already achieved in your mind’s eye. Develop a “can-do” attitude by celebrating each small goal you achieve as well as the major projects you’ve worked on for months or longer. You’ll soon see how an encouraging word can give you renewed energy. Be sure to encourage those around you, too. Family, friends and colleagues will always react positively to an appropriate word of praise or encouragement, offered at the right time.
Most of all, to boost your self esteem, you must value yourself. No-one else knows all the individual qualities that make you the special unique person you really are. No one else has seen all of the little kindnesses you’ve shown to help someone along. No one else has seen all the effort you put in to showing the world a happy face when really you’re not feeling that great inside. No one else appreciates all the times you went the extra mile … but you should pause now and again to remember, and give yourself a silent “Well Done. No-one else did that”.
To summarize: your self-image affects how you interact with others and how you set and achieve goals. Your current level of self-esteem is mainly due to your unique personal experiences and relationships. But your self-esteem can be changed – by taking control of your thoughts and putting positive interpretations onto life situations you can improve your self esteem and become a more confident, positive person.