Confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing. Self-confidence is a belief in one’s abilities where as self-esteem is a sense of ones own dignity or worth.
Considered an important component of emotional health, self-esteem encompasses both self-confidence and self-acceptance. It is the way individuals perceive themselves and their self-value.
If you have low self-esteem you are not alone. Many people suffer from it including outwardly confident people. One of the most famous examples of this was Diana, the late Princess of Wales.
Self-esteem comes from our beliefs about ourselves, many of which are formed in childhood. If we are brought up to believe we are loved unconditionally we are more likely to have high self-esteem. Unfortunately only too often our parents, teachers and friends cause us to question whether we are ‘good enough’ which leads to lack of self-esteem. Our beliefs are usually deep-seated and often we are not even aware of them.
Even people who once had high self-esteem can lose it. The main causes of this are failed relationships and redundancies. It is amazing how much influence we allow people to have over us.
To identify limiting beliefs you need to become self-aware. Notice what you say to yourself, i.e. what the voice in your head says. No, its not just you who talks to yourself, we all do it and you need to become aware of when the voice(s) is being negative. If you are telling yourself you can’t do something then question why you think you can’t do it. Examine where your beliefs came from and whether they are still true for you now or whether they are outdated and irrelevant. So, if your voice is saying ‘I can’t do that!’ identify why you can’t do it. Is it really impossible or do you just need to learn some new skills?
The good news is that beliefs can be changed. There are simple exercises that a Coach or NLP Practitioner can do with you to help you to do this.
Ten small steps to improving self-esteem
1. Start to improve your self-esteem by allowing yourself some ‘me’ time. As a minimum allow ten minutes a day just to sit quietly and clear your mind of clutter. If you can give yourself long than ten minutes then arrange to do something you enjoy. Read a book or magazine, meet a friend for coffee or a drink, have a manicure or a massage – whatever you do make sure it is self-indulgent.
2. It is also important to cut negative people out of your life. If your friends drain your energy then don’t see them. You need upbeat, positive people in your life.
3. Accept compliments gracefully with a simple ‘thank you’ and believe the good things people say.
4. Make a list of all your good qualities. List everything that is good about you, the way you look, your personality, things you have achieved, things you are good at. Keep the list for a few days and add to it as you think of new things. Then ask your friends and family to add to the list. You’ll be surprised at how other people see you.Keep this list somewhere you can easily see it.
5. Learn to say ‘No’. If you don’t want to do something or go somewhere then say so, don’t feel guilty. Do what is best for you.
6. Check your feelings regularly and pull yourself up if thinking negatively. Where focus goes, energy flows. Focus on what you do want, not what you don’t want.
7. There is no failure, only feedback. People who adopt this attitude are usually successful. If what they have done hasn’t worked then they learn from it and try something else. They don’t fail – they experiment to see what works.
8. Count your blessings. Be grateful for what you have. List at least 6 positive things that have happened during the day before you go to sleep at night. (a piece of work well done, a beautiful flower, a bird singing, a lovely sunset, something someone said, a new piece of knowledge, a delicious meal, a good deed, good health)
9. Read self-help books and articles on positive thinking. Do the exercises which many of them contain.
10. Take responsibility for your own life. Don’t expect other people to make you happy – make yourself happy.
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