Struggling to overcome low self esteem?
10 things you can start today to overcome low self esteem. Start gradually. Try one new thing at a time.
#1. Overcome low self esteem: Be aware of your gremlin
If you’re struggling to overcome low self esteem, it’s likely you’re vulnerable to what you could call ‘your gremlin’.
Think of it like this. We all have a negative voice lurking inside us. This voice speaks up when a challenge arises. I am talking about any situation that takes you out of your comfort zone. This voice can be powerful enough to stop you doing the things you know you should do. For some people it whispers quietly and struggles to be heard, for others it shouts loudly and succeeds. I call this voice ‘my gremlin.’
This gremlin feeds on low self esteem. This gremlin creates imaginary barriers inside your head. It’s behind that tempting voice that says “GIVE UP!” when the going gets tough or “AVOID” when you are feeling under pressure.
The simple fact is that your gremlin has won when it stops you doing something you know you should do. You just cannot let this happen if you want to overcome low self esteem.
The first step to dealing with your gremlin is to be aware it’s there. That way, it can’t surprise you. This makes it a whole lot easier to deal with. If you’re on your toes and you’re expecting it, you can counteract it.
Your gremlin can massively affect the way you come across to people. If you let it get the better of you, you’ll be seen as a person who is at best unhelpful and at worst lazy and not worth having in the team. Remember, the gremlin is NOT your friend. It’s not there to help you stay out of the limelight or stop you doing something challenging. The gremlin is your enemy. It loves and thrives on low self esteem.
Action: Identify your Gremlin and make a conscious decision to challenge it.
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#2. Overcome low self esteem: Do something for yourself. Something you enjoy.
It’s not selfish to do something you enjoy; it’s sensible. In fact, you could go one step further and say it is essential to do things you enjoy. And, what’s more, there is no need to feel guilty about it.
To overcome low self esteem you need to feel you have achieved something specific, ideally every day. It’s easier to achieve and succeed at things you enjoy. Ask yourself if you’re doing enough of what you really like doing.
It’s really important to make sure you do something you actually enjoy doing every single day. This could be; reading a magazine, going for a coffee, watching your favourite TV programme. Then, every now and then, treat yourself. Buy yourself a present, go to the movies or out for a meal.
The important thing is not to feel guilty. You really do deserve it. This is a fantastic way to improve self esteem and feel good about yourself.
Action: Identify something you enjoy doing and make time to do it. Don’t feel guilty.
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#3. Overcome low self esteem: Do something for someone else.
Going out of your way to do something for someone else could well transform the way you feel about yourself. Some people are naturally considerate, others have to work at it. So if you want to overcome low self esteem quickly, think about what you can do for someone else. It will actually make you think positively about yourself.
Think ahead. Reflect on what’s going to happen that day. Plan your act of kindness. It will make you feel really good. Feeling the gratitude someone expresses for your efforts can make a huge difference to your self esteem. Just look around you and you’ll see that the kind, generous people are often the most fulfilled.
If you show consideration, sensitivity and kindness to other people, you are more likely to get a positive response from them. Keep this positive feeling for yourself. Don’t dilute it by telling other people about your kindness. By keeping it to yourself you retain all the positivity. Being positive is the key thing which you need to focus on if you want to overcome low self-esteem.
Action: Do something for someone else today but don’t tell anyone about it.
#4. Overcome low self esteem: Set your bar realistically.
A lot of people who struggle to overcome low self esteem don’t realise that they’re sometimes their own worst enemy. They set their achievement bar too high and line themselves up for failure.
The message here is simple. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Setting yourself challenges is exactly the right thing to do but the key is to be realistic with your plans. You are looking for achievable challenges, not impossible ones.
Try writing a list of things that challenge you most, both at work and at home. Pick one at a time and force yourself to address them. Tick them off the list when they’re done. Work on the easier things first. Start the bigger challenges once your confidence builds. This is a manageable and practical way to overcome low self esteem step by step.
Action: set yourself a challenge which is realistically achievable.
#5. Overcome low self esteem: Cement your successes.
When ancient Greek armies travelled across the sea to do battle, the first thing they would do after landing was burn all the boats. Why? Because it left them with no way of returning home. Sounds radical does not it. But actually it was quite clever. Their only option was victory; they could not turn back. As a result, the resolve of the soldiers was strengthened. When success and failure are the only options, you have no choice but to follow through.
Try to apply this principle to the way you think. Burn the bridge that connects your mind to failure and bad memories of the past. If you keep travelling back over this bridge, you will just end up where you started. Yes of course, learn from the mistake you made and understand why you failed but then MOVE ON. There’s nothing to be gained by dwelling on the past once you have extracted all you can from it in terms of lessons for the future.
To help you with this, each night before you go to bed, write down three positive things that happened or that you did during the day. Do this every night for the foreseeable future. Some people find it helpful to have a special notebook. This will make it easier to keep the list together and to reflect on the positives you record. It won’t be long before you have a comprehensive list. Use this list to remind yourself regularly of the positive things you have achieved.
Regularly reflect on your positive achievements. Praise yourself. Reward your efforts.
Action: make a list of the positive things that you’ve achieved during the day. Then praise yourself regularly.
Have you downloaded The 4 Step Confidence Plan?
#6. Overcome low self esteem: Try something completely new.
Don’t let your low self esteem paralyse you. Trying something new isn’t easy for anyone let alone someone who struggles to overcome low self esteem. Why? Well simply because ‘new’ is ‘unknown’. It’s a place you haven’t been before. In your mind it may well be fraught with danger or insecurity.
Stop. You can’t think like this if you want to overcome low self esteem. You need to think completely differently. You need to think of ‘new’ as exciting and different. Not scary and impossible. It’s very important to change your mind-set here.
Imagine yourself choosing a dish from the menu in your favourite restaurant. You order the house special because it’s new and you haven’t tried it before. Your mind is thinking positively. It is saying ‘try it, you might like it!’
Approach every new challenge like this from now. Say to yourself “try it, I might like it”. You will need to be disciplined in your mind to do this. You’ll need to stay alert. Remember, your gremlin from tip1? It will still be lurking!
Action: do something that you’ve never done before. Think of it as exciting and different.
#7.Overcome low self esteem: Pick a reference point.
To overcome low self esteem, it helps to have achieved something. This is difficult to do if you just don’t know where you’re going. You will never get there if you don’t where ‘there’ is. So work out what you want to achieve by setting some personal goals. If you have never done this before (I mean actually written down some goals), then use this blog as the catalyst to get started. Look at the longer term first and then think about the shorter term. You could start by asking yourself:
- What was I doing five years ago?
- What’s happened since then?
- But more significantly – What have I achieved since then?
These questions should get you thinking about whether or not you are making the most of your life. Be honest with yourself. Don’t try to find excuses. If you haven’t achieved a great deal, then acknowledge and accept it. Don’t blame yourself, there’s no point. Your job now is to make a commitment to not let the same happen over the next five years.
Most people I help to overcome low self esteem do come to the conclusion that they have not achieved as much as they could or should have. This is valuable information but it’s meaningless if you don’t treat it as a lesson.
Here’s what you can do:
Positive thinkers focus on the future and that’s what you must start doing if you want to build your self esteem and self-confidence. Always looking back and dwelling is not going to help you. That time has gone.
So you MUST look forward and create some meaningful personal goals. Try creating a Mind Map. Mind mapping is a simple, practical creative thinking process. It involves jotting down everything you can think of that has relevance to the strategic period you are looking ahead at in your life. Consider your needs, your wants, your aspirations, your responsibilities, your family, your career and anything else you think is important.
Mind maps only work if you challenge yourself to be bold and imaginative. Don’t be scared to write down your aspirations. This will help you to think creatively. Then using all the ideas you have come up with on the Mind Map, draw out some personal goals that you’d like to achieve. I suggest you focus on a strategic period first (maybe two years) and then drill down to a more tactical level once you have done that (say six months).
An example could be:
- Strategic Goal; To run a marathon by the end of 2017.
- Tactical Goal; To run a half marathon by November 2016.
Be sure to keep track of the goals you decide on and challenge yourself every day to do something towards achieving them.
Action: set yourself some personal goals and keep on top of them.
#8. Overcome low self esteem: Know how people see you and do not assume the worst.
I meet many people on my confidence courses who think they come across a whole lot worse than they actually do. These people have a very negative perception of how they look and how they sound. This can have a massive effect on their self esteem. Sometimes their self-perception differs quite radically to the perception others have of them. This can be quite a shock for them.
For some people this mismatch can be quite striking. Their self-perception may be that they lack confidence whereas the perception others have of them is that they actually come across very confidently.
If you struggle to overcome low self esteem, these false negative perceptions can sometimes be so strong that they actually stop you doing things.
So it’s essential to find out how you really come across to people. You can do this by watching yourself on video, asking someone you know well or by completing the Think Confidence Reality Check Questionnaire.
Be honest with yourself; write down how you think you come across. Then compare this with how other people see you.
Action: find out how you really come across to people. Don’t assume you lack confidence.
#9. Overcome low self esteem: Stop apologising.
There’s no need to keep apologising. A lot of people who take my on-line confidence course struggle to overcome low self esteem because they have a habit of apologising when they don’t need to. They say sorry for everything even when it’s not their fault. Most of these people do not even know they’re doing it. By saying sorry, you are sending the message to people that you doubt yourself. This negativity will not help if you’re trying to overcome low self esteem. It may also contribute to or exacerbate any feelings of inferiority you may have.
So, if this sounds like you, only apologise if what you have done actually warrants an apology.
Action: consciously think about how much you say sorry.
#10. Overcome low self esteem: Stop comparing yourself.
Comparing yourself to other people is definitely not going to help you overcome low self esteem. Comparing yourself to others normally means making a comparison between yourself and people who you deem to be better, luckier, happier or more successful than you. If you do this, you’re bound to think negatively about yourself. The result? Your self esteem takes a hit.
You need to stop comparing yourself to other people as soon as you can. It’s destructive. Yes, learn from others, particularly those who are good at what they do but never compare yourself to them. It is a false economy. You have your strengths, they have theirs. You have your weaknesses, they have theirs too. No one is perfect.
So try to base your expectations of yourself on what you do and your own aspirations, not what others are doing. There is nothing positive to be gained from worrying about how you compare to others.
Action: Next time you compare yourself to someone else. Take the time to think about your own strengths. Say to yourself, “I am lucky to have what I have. I am lucky to be who I am”.
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