By Guest Blogger Heather Matthews
People get confused about what self-esteem is and how to get it. Some think that having healthy self-esteem means you need to be worthy of it first. It’s a common belief that being popular or well-liked is a prerequisite to having it.
Also, people often equate good self-esteem with good physical appearance. They may even believe that in order to have it, you first need to be successful to some degree.
This couldn’t be further from the truth.
When you really get down to it, healthy self-esteem is about being okay with yourself as you are, right now – no ifs, ands, or buts.
It’s about loving yourself unconditionally.
It’s about being happy with who you are TODAY – and not reserving that love when you’re 20 lbs thinner, 5 inches taller, a million dollars richer, etc.
It’s about accepting who you are – warts and all.
And it’s about being okay with where you are in life at this very moment. Healthy self-esteem is celebrating your strengths and acknowledging your weaknesses.
Of course, not everyone is in a place where they can accept themselves 100%.
Sadly, some people might even take a lifetime to start being okay with who they are.
Even if you’re not completely happy with yourself right now, it doesn’t mean you should stop trying.
And more importantly, you owe it to yourself to be happy with who you are no matter what.
You’re not helping anyone by wallowing in self-pity or having a low opinion of yourself.
“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.” – Maxwell Maltz
Don’t worry though, healthy self-esteem is something you can develop. With practice, you can easily improve the way you see yourself and live a better life as a result.
Here are some tips to help you do just that:
1. Focus on the Good
Sometimes, we can get bogged down by the things that are wrong in our lives.
It’s easy to get preoccupied with the negative aspects. And this can distract you from the good things you’ve got going.
Body image, for example, is one of the most common reasons people give when they’re asked why they have low self-esteem.
A lot of people subscribe to the belief that we have to look a certain way in order to be deemed attractive or worthy. This way of thinking is so ingrained in us that we don’t realize we’re already awesome the way we are NOW.
We worry because we don’t have the things we think we’re supposed to have. We also worry that we don’t fit into someone else’s idea of who we should be.
And because of that, we forget to appreciate the goodness that’s already inside us and the blessings that we take for granted.
“Talking about our problems is our greatest addiction. Break the habit. Talk about your joys.” – Rita Schiano
Every time you feel like crap or think you’re not worthy, try to reverse your way of thinking.
Instead of ruminating over something you can’t change (i.e. yourself or your circumstances), focus instead on the wonderful things you already enjoy in your life.
Think about the qualities that make you the amazing, dynamic and unique person that people know and love.
You have so much to offer the world. There is so much beauty in you that you shouldn’t overlook.
2. Stop Being Your Worst Critic
Cut yourself some slack. I mean it!
Be your best supporter and stop letting that inner voice of doubt and fear dominate your life.
It’s good to be aware of your mistakes and strive to improve yourself, but DON’T be too harsh about it either.
“Beating yourself up about a mistake you made is only going to make you more inclined to do it again. Just accept that it happened and move on.” – Ryan O’Connell
When our self-esteem gets low, our knee-jerk response is to criticize ourselves for having low self-esteem. It’s behavior that’s counterproductive and illogical, but we do it anyway.
So when we lash out at ourselves for not feeling 100%, this, in turn, makes us feel worse.
It’s a vicious, self-perpetuating cycle that will go on and on until we decide to STOP FEEDING IT.
Instead of berating yourself for what you did wrong, play the role of cheerleader instead and try to learn from what happened.
“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” Mark Twain
Don’t criticize yourself to the point of crushing your self-esteem. Be as compassionate to yourself as you are to friends or loved ones.
Lift yourself up. Your inner cheerleader should say, “It’s okay, you can do better next time” or “You may feel terrible right now, but it’s not as bad as it seems.”
Or you could say something like, “Is it really the end of the world, or does it just feel that way? Will you feel the same tomorrow? A week from now? Next month?”
Mistakes come and go, but its lessons stay with you forever. Use that knowledge to pick yourself up and do better the next time around.
3. Know Your Own Self-Worth
Only you can say what your true value is. While other people’s constructive input and criticism (with emphasis on ‘constructive’) are helpful in keeping you grounded, it’s ultimately up to YOU to decide what you’re really worth.
Once you realize your self-worth, you’ll develop an authentic, rock-solid and unshakable core – and no one can take that away from you.
The negativity will roll off you like water on feathers and you’ll shine as bright as you want to.
“Don’t rely on someone else for your happiness and self-worth. Only you can be responsible for that. If you can’t love and respect yourself – no one else will be able to make that happen.” – Stacey Charter
Remind yourself of your worth every day. Affirmations and positive thinking can help with this.
Remember, your self-worth and self-esteem should never be attached to someone else’s opinion. Don’t let anyone have that power over you.
“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”- Eleanor Roosevelt
Wealth, prosperity, love and happiness are easily achievable – it only takes a simple shift in your thinking to have it ALL.