SELF-ESTEEM AND HOW TO BOOST IT
It’s not always easy to stay positive about how we feel about ourselves in this modern world. Being constantly confronted with images of “perfection” through social media, we see people with ideal lives, portraying strong personalities who don’t ever experience self-doubt. How do we then compete with that, stay true to ourselves and still be happy with the person we are at our core? The easy answer is – WE DON’T . . ., we should avoid comparing ourselves to others and only use the positive examples of others to motivate us to be better ourselves.
Unfortunately it won’t be easy and just as any other mental health issue or change that we want to see in ourselves, time is what we need to give to allow ourselves to grow into the fully-functioning people that we want to be. It takes time, dedication and commitment to make ourselves better each moment that we get to be part of this world.
I don’t know where you are reading this blog, whether it be on your cell phone or tablet on the bus, train or taxi, or sitting behind your computer at home or at the office, but do me a favour, sit up straight, push back your shoulders and lift your chin a bit. A small adjustment to your posture can make a huge difference to start with. This small change opens up your core, allows you to breathe easier and more deeply. By lifting your chin, you can look the world square on and allow you to see what is around you. Can it then be possible for you to see the beauty around you and maybe even see possible solutions that you couldn’t have seen before?
It is often very hard to see things around us that we can feel grateful for. We tend to give more attention to the negative in our lives and concentrate solely on those issues. We constantly think of the worries and hurdles that life throws at us and therefore ignoring the avenues of positivity that is struggling to shine through. It is like a big, dark and heavy mass that falls onto our hearts and minds smothering our achievements and accomplishments through the years. So, what do we do? Again, it isn’t always easy to notice our achievements when we have a low self-esteem and it is going to do some searching and maybe a bit of time to see what we have accomplished in our lives so far. Think of one of your first accomplishments in the shape of your first word. Yes, as a baby you heard all these strange words being said to you and you started to make a connection between a sound and a shape or person, which might be “mamma”, “dadda” or even “brrrrrrrmmmmm” for the sound of a car. Whatever the case may be, that was one of your first accomplishments, which was followed by potty-training and building blocks. Now you can build on that and think of your first day at school where you were surrounded by strangers and quickly you had to open yourself up to friendships and conversations, and while doing all that, you still had to learn how to read, write and do maths. Basically, what I am trying to say is, begin small. Appreciate the fact that you accomplished so much in your life, search for those accomplishments and other accomplishments further down the line in your life and let them motivate you to strive for bigger and better things that you can do in your life.
But having only accomplishments in our lives that we can fall back on to boost our self-esteem isn’t all that we can feel grateful for, it is also the people around us that help build and shape us. Look at all the people around you. Do you have a boss that motivates you to reach for the stars by allowing you to run with a project? Do you have a child that winks at you or give you a sly smile when he or she was up to some mischief? Or do you have friends or acquaintances that’s part of your life, who sees you for who you really are and who positively builds and motivates you whenever they have a chance?
Now what about hobbies? How can this build self-esteem? I love this because after every project that you finish, you can see, feel, smell, hear and/or taste what you have made. By having a hobby and concentrating on the project you open your mind and it helps with the process of problem-solving and creative thinking. Once again after finishing a project, it puts a tick-mark next to your list of accomplishments which you can really feel proud of. I found that with my hobbies, it’s a game of trying something, breaking it down most of the way, readjusting my thought process, fixing the problem and starting again until I am happy with the end-product. It is good and feels great to be able to know that you completed a project, doesn’t matter how small, and be proud of it.
Two last bits before I finish my first blog. Number one, go and have a look at yourself in the mirror. At first, find one thing that you love about yourself or that you think looks good on you. It might be your beautiful smile, your shiny hair or even as small as having strong nails, whatever the case may be, you just found something about yourself that you can be proud of. Now, look deeper – are you a good storyteller, do you have a good memory, are you honest and/or are you a good friend? Once again you just found something else that you can be proud of. Next, find something that you want to improve. This can be getting into shape, exchanging risky behaviour for something non-harming or opening your circle to more people who can be a positive addition to your life. Now, write these things on a little piece of paper and stick it on your mirror where you can see it every morning and every evening to motivate you on what you have and where you want to be. You will see, once you have accomplished your goal, it will enhance and grow your self-esteem. You focused on your strengths and allowed it to come to the front where it can help guide you to a mentally stronger and happier you.
Number two bit is to start positive journaling. This is easier said than done, but it is worth it. Every day brings good and bad experiences and as the brain tends to do, especially with people with low self-esteem, we focus more heavily on bad experiences and completely overlooking and forgetting the good experiences. It’s like remembering and ballooning that one awkward social interaction and completely forgetting the other normal social interactions. By doing positive journaling, we make a point of recognising the positive experiences which can help to improve our moods. Begin by just writing three positive experiences down at the end of the day. It might go a bit slow at the beginning to find the positives in the day but try to open your mind and your eyes to good things around and within yourself. While journaling, complete the following sentences: “Something I did well today . . .”, “I felt proud when . . .”, “I had a positive experience with . . .”, “A positive thing I witnessed . . .” and “I felt good about myself when . . .”.
Thank you very much for reading my blog. I truly hope that it helped somebody, somewhere. Please send any feedback or comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and remember to have a look out for a new blog every week.