Self-esteem can you empower it?
Self-esteem is a difficult thing to define exactly, but a working definition might be the value or the confidence we have in ourselves. Studies have shown that low self-esteem is a learned behaviour. Often we will take on false beliefs about ourselves and treat them as if they are true. We may get a new outfit and meet one of our friends for lunch and they say, “That’s new and very bold” which we hear as a judgement. We falsely believe that we have made too bold (an unwise) choice. You can see that these false beliefs may not be directly said to us but often we infer them from what others say or do, especially those whom we look up to or value. It is possible to recognise how you can incorporate these beliefs into how you value yourself (your self-esteem).
There are times when we are more vulnerable to negative ideas about ourselves for example when we are young, when we have done something wrong, when we feel guilty, when we feel useless or helpless. Similarly the powerlessness of stress and anxiety can attack our self –esteem (we should be able to beat this). It is possible to see how low self-esteem can become a vicious circle because you never have the self-belief to tackle the issues to challenge the beliefs holding you back.
Changing your self-esteem as so often starts with knowledge, acknowledge, perhaps even write down the negative things you are saying about yourself. Notice the difference between saying them to yourself and to your best friend. Notice how harsh your inner critic is being not valuing any of the positive things that you are doing. If this were a friend saying these things, they would be out of your life double quick.
When you notice yourself in the future starting to have negative thoughts ask yourself what is it you are feeling? What made you feel that way? Was that a fact, an opinion or something you decided by telepathy? Perhaps your harsh inner critic is trying to attack you again. Perhaps there is a more realistic way to think of the situation. In our above example: You might think well the outfit is new, but I don’t understand the bold there aren’t any facts to support bold. So you ask what do you mean by bold and your friend says that they wish they could be confident enough to wear the outfit. What a change!
By checking the beliefs that are driving your behaviour and noticing any gaps you are in a much better place to both know your own mind and to judge whether other’s opinions are of value to you or not. Remember the adage, just because someone says it to you doesn’t make it true. Value yourself and banish that inner critic.