Low self-esteem is something that plagues the workforce, etc. For instance, in our own businesses, we may charge poorly for the services we offer to our clients due to a lack of self-worth. When we are not paid commensurate with the value we offer to our clients, it’s our fault, not theirs. In job interviews in organizations, we don’t negotiate enough at the time of job acceptance because we doubt ourselves. We are skeptical of the value we offer. There are countless other examples in which low self-esteem manifests itself in our everyday life.
Low self-esteem is a lack of self-worth — it’s a verb or action that produces a noun or result called self-worth or confidence. Self-esteem is how we feel about ourselves and having confidence and respect for our worth and abilities.
Here are some things we can do to build our self-esteem for the long term. Note that this has to be a daily exercise, and we need to be doing these things consistently. As the aphorism goes, if we don’t use it, we lose it.
Having a healthy self-esteem begins with being proactive. We may not be responsible for the situations in our lives, but how we respond to them is certainly our choice and responsibility. The first thing that we can do toward building our self-esteem is to practice proaction. We need to take responsibility for our lives, which means internalizing that “my life is my choice” and my responsibility. That involves fulfilling all commitments without excuse and not blaming others for the troubles in our lives. Always focus on the positives.
We need to accept (and internalize) that life is difficult. Only after we accept this can we start seeing difficult situations as opportunities for learning, improvement, and growth. We embrace them instead of running away from them. The only way out is through.
We need to focus on what we can change, accept what we can’t change, and make our peace with it; self-improvement follows self-acceptance; also, not every battle is worth fighting, so pick your battles. Self-acceptance follows self-improvement; it’s hard to improve ourselves without accepting ourselves unconditionally.
Don’t be afraid to get help from others. No one knows everything. We could all use help with something. That is why we have experts. Seeking help is a sign of proaction, not a weakness.
We need to strive to be a person of high integrity. When all is said and done, that is all that matters. That involves doing the things we’ve committed to. When we act against what we believe in, we experience an incongruence within ourselves, which causes our inner voice to tell us that we’re worthless, over and over again.
We should have the faith to believe in ourselves even when others around us don’t. We need to make our own choices. We need to believe in ourselves even when others make choices that are contrary to our own. When we fall in the minority, we must not feel the social pressure to act otherwise.
Nothing improves our self-worth faster than having fewer, deeper, and fulfilling relationships. The more we feel valued from our closest relationships, the higher our self-worth will be, the happier we’ll be, and the more confident we’ll be in everything we do.
Abandon or improve poor relationships. I previously wrote that I never give up on my personal relationships. This comes with a caveat that you can’t keep yourself in a relationship to the point that it becomes toxic to your own existence. If a relationship reaches this point, you need to let go no matter how hard it gets (easy to say, difficult to do). Remember, we need to take care of ourselves first before we (can) help others.
Stop spending time with people who drain you and bring you down because they are projecting their self-limiting beliefs onto you. In any case, life is too short to spend time with people who drain you one way or another. A simple test to gauge this is to evaluate your time spent with others. If you felt energized from your conversation, you probably want to spend time with them again. And if a conversation left you feeling drained, chances are that you might want to reconsider spending time with them in the future.
Practicing forgiveness with others can be critical to our self-esteem. Our self-worth suffers when we don’t forgive others from past situations. If left unchecked, we could be permanently enslaved to others mentally from past situations despite them not knowing or not realizing it. Learn to forgive others even though it’s difficult; let go of the past so others can move on because you have forgiven them, and (more importantly) let go for your own sake so you can move on with your life. Keep yourself from being bound mentally or stuck in the past from relationship issues.
Stop taking unsolicited feedback from others, which in most cases is entirely for the giver. Instead strive to get regular feedback from those you trust. This is the best way I know of improving your closest relationships at home and at work, and by extension, your self-esteem.
Don’t let doubt and fear bring you down. Instead of putting yourself down due to your weaknesses, focus on your strengths, then build on them to bring yourself up. Avoid spending too much time fixing your weaknesses. Also, examine your beliefs as they hold the key to your attitudes and behaviors.
Never be afraid to take reasonable risks. When you’re 80% ready, you move. No one cares about the final 20%. Plus, you can always make mid-course corrections later. This is true for most things. I wrote about this in my piece on perfection.
It’s easy to complain about things, but that gets us nowhere. Always choose to see the good in others. That is a choice only proactive people can make. Reward others by praising their positive behavior. Recognize them when they are good. Seeing the good in others improves our personal well-being, and therefore raises our self-esteem.
The words we use to talk to ourselves and with others can be crucial in shaping our experience. For instance, think about your problems as challenges to be overcome for learning/improvement/growth. It can have a huge impact on our reality, and it can mean the difference between building our self-esteem and losing it.
Self-worth is not about walking on hot coals. It’s about having tangible, practical skills, not crazy self-affirmations. We all have our doubts, and low self-esteem can be a problem for all of us. We have to work on it because it can make all the difference. And, it doesn’t have to cost anything either.
Self-esteem is the confidence in one’s own worth or abilities. Lack of self-esteem is by far the biggest hurdle in the way of personal growth. We all have doubts and fears, but it’s up to us whether we succumb to it or fight it out. We can build our self-esteem by working on ourselves and working on our relationships with others. Building self-esteem is not for “damaged” people, but for talented, intelligent people who want to live life to their fullest potential.
When we have high self-esteem, we carry an unshakeable confidence. Nothing is invincible, and everything becomes doable. We also become more resilient against setbacks because our sense of self-worth is not tied to the things we do. We raise our personal standards and are able to take on bigger things and not be overwhelmed by them. We need to trust our abilities to do things and believe in the value we offer to others. Unless we believe in ourselves, others won’t believe us. Who we are is greater than what we do.