Sunday, October 19, 2008

Building Up Your Self-esteem

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If you feel that you are not “good enough”, or that you are undeserving of prosperity & friendship; if you feel that you “don’t belong” or are afraid of success, the odds are good that you have some problems with self-esteem.

Having low self-esteem takes an enormous toll on the quality of your life. You take fewer risks, which limits your opportunities, both personally & professionally. You are reluctant to voice or acknowledge your needs. You are probably also haunted by past mistakes & making future ones.

The good news is that self-esteem is self-taught (no one was born with low self-esteem), & the solution to raising your self-esteem lies within you. The tools you've used to (unconsciously) lower your self esteem are the same ones you use to raise it. Here are some hints to help you raise your self-esteem:

1. Stop comparing yourself to other people.
If you play this game, you're likely to compare yourself in a negative way & set yourself up for continuing to have low self esteem.Why continue to play a game where you've set the rules against yourself, so that you're less likely to win! You will never be as rich as Bill Gates or able to hit as many home runs as Barry Bonds. You can’t be them, but they cannot be you, either.

2. Don't keep putting yourself down!
You can't develop high self esteem if you constantly repeat negative comments about your skills and abilities. Other people will pick up on it and take on board the negative way you view yourself. How are they likely to treat you? Also don't beat yourself up over "mistakes" that you've made; learn how to re-frame them so that they work for you.

3. Accept all compliments graciously.
Don't dismiss or ignore them. Don’t look at your feet and say, “aw shucks, I really don’t deserve this praise”. You do deserve the praise; that is why you are receiving it. The proper response to any compliment is simple, say ‘Thank you” & mean it.

4. Mix with positive & supportive people.
Negative people can put you & your ideas down & it lowers your self esteem. On the other hand, when you are surrounded by supportive people, you feel better about yourself, which helps to raise your self-esteem. Learn how to develop your positive personal support network.

5. Acknowledge your positive qualities & skills.
Too many people with low self esteem constantly put themselves down (back to no 1 again!) & don't appreciate their many positive attributes. Learn how to truly affirm & value your many excellent qualities. If you find this difficult, ask others to tell you. They'll come up with things you would never have imagined!

6. Stop putting up with stuff!
Not voicing or acknowledging your needs means that you are probably tolerating more than you should. Find out what you're putting up with and zap those tolerations. By doing so, you're giving yourself the message that you're worth it.

7. Make positive contributions to others.
This doesn't mean that you constantly do for others what they could be doing for themselves. But when you do make a positive contribution to others, you begin to feel more valuable, which increases your sense of your own value & raises your self-esteem.

8. Involve yourself in work & activities that you love.
So many people with low self esteem stop doing those activities that they most enjoy. Even if you're not in a position to make immediate changes in your career, you can still devote some of your leisure time to enjoyable hobbies & activities.

Start taking action!
The universe rewards action.

Backing away & avoiding challenges means that your self esteem muscles become weak & flabby. When you start to take action regardless of the outcome you will start to feel better about yourself, develop your self confidence, & raise your self esteem.