It was World Mental Health on Tuesday but it still feels that we are a long way off reducing the stigma that surrounds issues of this kind. However, raising awareness and generally pushing people to open up more is a big step in the right direction.
It really should be a priority to take care of ourselves and look after ourselves our minds. Loving yourself is part of that parcel.
You should go and love yourself. Yes I did just quote Bieber 🙂
Working on your self-esteem can be great for all aspects of your life. You feel better in your own skin and actually start to believe in yourself and in turn this translates to a more improved, healthier and happier you. Even the notion of feeling positive can have such a vast impact on improving your quality of life. Who doesn’t want to feel more positive, happier in their skin and be in better health?
What actually is Self Esteem?
From a psychological point of view, self-esteem is the subjective feelings that a person attributes to themselves about their own worth or value. People with high amounts of self esteem believe they are good, worthy and deserving of love and good things, whilst people with low amounts believe the opposite to be true. Of course this is over-simplistic as we fit somewhere along the continuum, and as with all aspects of our lives it’s more intricate and interconnected with the context, time and situations changing how a person views themself.
We all have a self-esteem lens through which we see the world based on psychological makeup, life events and our upbringing. We are inclined to interpret the world in line with our beliefs we seek out those examples that provide evidence to support our views and disregard those that do not fit our biases. For example, the person who is inclined to think negatively might received 10 compliments and 1 piece of criticism (or what they may interpret as such) yet ignore the praise and be fixated on the negative. It fits with their perception of their self.
Whilst self-esteem is somewhat learned from being a child you can help yourself if you feel like you want to boost it. However, replacing negative views or a negative lens does not happen overnight. Building self-esteem is the same, it’s all part of an ongoing process of self-development. As with any process of building any new habit, it takes time, determination and process. But trust that process. Believing in yourself is SO IMPORTANT for a healthy and happy life.
Below are my ways to boost self-esteem.
Talk about believable positive affirmations.
Positive self talk and affirmations are powerful tools that relatively easy to implement. But the key is whether you believe them or not. Telling yourself something unrealistic such as that you had a great day when you feel down in the dumps will not make you feel better. Telling yourself you are beautiful when you don’t truly believe it only leads to feeling worse! The key is to remove the permanence in the statement and you might be more inclined to believe it. e.g. replacing ‘I am beautiful’ to ‘I look OK/good/great today, I particularly like my x/y or z today’. Don’t kid yourself into positive self talk that you simply do not believe. Be more realistic.
Making lists about yourself is a good start. Write down qualities that you believe to be true and start there. Make a list of your strengths: are you friendly, creative or caring? Or list your greatest achievements, or things you admire about yourself. Are you really stuck, merely list 5 things you could do to help someone else. Re-read these lists. These lists can be your positive self talk.
This might be a learning curve but when you receive a compliment, write it down. Not all the time. But when you receive a compliment that makes you feel good, or is about something that you don’t usually feel positive about or that has taken you by surprise. Re-read your list/book of compliments and try to find extra evidence! Better still, turn these compliments into positive affirmations because they are based on real life evidence. You might not believe your own thoughts but I bet you’ll believe in other people’s words.
Challenge negative thoughts.
When you find yourself slipping into negative talk, e.g. I’m useless, I did a bad job, I look terrible write these down. Imagine that your best friend/partner/mother said this about themselves, what would you say back? What would a more reasonable thought be? If you feel comfortable share these with others and get their objective views. Replace the permanence and subjectivity with a temporary statement or find the objective evidence. This can help you to take a step back and realise where your disordered thoughts lie. It might be that objectively speaking really are not fat, or last week you received praise ‘My boss said thanks on that job, so it must have been good’. Find the evidence in the world that you might have overlooked. You really are not a failure and you are not useless. Do you have a job, a degree, certificate in something, friends, family or a roof over your head? You really are not a failure.
You have power to boost your self-esteem and choose to think positive thoughts
Replace bad habits with good ones
You always have a choice of feelings