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Boosting our self-esteem

There are days when nothing seems to go right and the world seems to delight in picking on us. Nothing we do seem to go right; our luck just doesn’t seem in. We begin to question what on earth could be going wrong. Questioning our judgement and potentially losing self-belief. Slowly and surely our self-belief begins to suffer.

Self-esteem might be defined as our belief in our ability, our character, to handle problems that we face.  This is so central to our sense of self that if it is badly knocked we can begin to question ourselves. We can become very self-critical, running ourselves down. We can become very adept at doing this even when there is no evidence, no facts, we base our judgement on what others might think.  The question must be can you improve your self-esteem?

Portrait of the elderly woman. It would seem that we value people who have belief in their character, their values and principals and can express them. We might think of heroes like Nelson Mandela, spiritual leaders like the Dalai Lama or Political leaders like Aung San Suu Kyi all who seem to have a centre of calm and know who they are in the face of the maelstroms that they face.

Motivating yourself is a big part of the battle, one of the ironies of low self-esteem is it means that you do not value yourself enough to invest in. You have to just take that first step in faith that it is worth taking to make things get better.

On this journey to improve your self-esteem you will need to pay attention to your thoughts and feelings. A big part of what you will have to do is to challenge the negative thoughts. Look for the evidence, and remember that feelings are not evidence. Look for positives notice the difference when someone notices something positive about what you do.

That noticing the positives and celebrating your successes, noticing them and giving them at least the value of the negative things in your life balances out your mood. It is easy to dismiss compliments or successes as a fluke or that the person must be wrong. Yet if they were negative comments you would not be so quick to dismiss, so apply the same standards and lose the negative bias so you can celebrate your successes.

Changes can be difficult and are rarely straight forward, so it is reasonable to expect setbacks as well as good days.  The important part is to keep focuses on the positive steps you are making and how that will improve your life. It is certain that while making these changes you will find it easier if you have support.  That might be a friend or family that you trust, someone you can express your feelings at the difficult times and who can celebrate the success with you.

You always have the option of considering a counsellor. Professional help offers an extra dimension. By exploring your thoughts and feelings with your counsellor it is possible that you may discover that there is a common process or triggers that drive your low self-esteem and there may be changes that you can take to make a difference in your life.