In this blog post I am going to address the following questions:
- What is Self-Esteem?
- How to figure out whether you have low or high self-esteem?
- Why is it important to have a high self-esteem?
- What are the factors/ causes behind low self-esteem?
- How to build higher self-esteem?
We have heard this word “Self-Esteem” many times in our lives but we never really had enough time to sit down and think about it. I have always rated my own self low on the scale and I have always wanted to have a higher self-esteem because I deserve to be happy. Right? Everyone deserves to be happy in or with their lives.
(A lot many other reasons too. If you are interested to know more of my reasons, write a comment below this post and I will write a new blog post about it since I have a very long list 😀 )
Anyway, I decided to read about it. I came across a wonderful book on this very topic that helped me grasp the basic idea behind it. I am going to share the name of the book and Author in the end of this blog post and I recommend you read it yourself if you really want to work through your problem of having low self-esteem.
You should read this post until the end if you feel any of the points I have listed down here relate to you.
- You feel like a victim in your life
- You don’t feel like you deserve happiness
- You feel that you are unworthy of love
- You find it hard to say no to other people
- You find it hard to accept yourself (Good and bad, both parts of you)
- You find it really hard to love yourself
- You feel powerless in your life
- You don’t feel like you have a control over your life or over your emotions
- You are constantly thinking about what people think of you
- Your self-worth depends on other people’s opinion of you
- You constantly try to make everyone around you happy
- You feel like a doormat
- You find other people taking advantage of you
- You are too nice (only because you want everyone to like you)
Did it ring a bell? It’s hard to accept but most of us suffer from at least one or two things mentioned above. It’s important to outgrow them to rise above and enjoy your life the way it is meant to be.
Make sure to read it until the end because I am going to share three practical techniques to apply the solutions to get over low self-esteem. Also, I have a surprise bonus for you. You will find out soon 😀
Let’s begin, so what is self-esteem?
As the author describes,
“Self-esteem is the disposition of being able to cope with the daily challenges of life or being worthy of happiness.”
The definition has two basic elements which are equally important in understanding the idea.
1st component: Self- efficacy – The ability to think for yourself and to decide for yourself.
2nd component: Self-respect – Do you believe that you deserve happiness?
If you feel like a victim in your life, you are probably lacking self-efficacy hence, low self-esteem.
If you feel like you are not worthy of happiness or love in your life, you are lacking the 2nd component which is Self-respect hence low self-esteem.
So how do you measure your self-esteem and figure out whether you have low or high self-esteem? Let’s do a little exercise.
If you feel like whatever happens in life you have the power over it, you can change it or deal with it, that means you have a higher self-esteem. Rate yourself on the scale of 1-10 on this. The problem could be of any sort. Bad relationships, toxic people, fake friendships, education or health.
The next step is to ask yourself do you think you deserve to be happy?
If you feel like you don’t deserve happiness or love you would rate yourself low maybe somewhere between 1-4.
Now that you rated yourself and figured out where you stand at this very moment.
Also, here I would like to mention that we are looking at this generally and not in one specific event or problem in your life. If you generally have this feeling of being helpless and powerless then you fall somewhere low on the scale.
Now Let’s try to consider the reasons and causes behind low self-esteem.
As the word itself explains “SELF-esteem”, it pretty much lies in our idea of who we think we are, what our values are and who we want to be. Our “Self-image” plays the vital role in building it up or tearing it down. “Self-image” is something we make consciously (maybe 10% only) but most of it is built unconsciously depending on our life experiences. Our past or some traumatic events in our life mostly define our own worth to us unconsciously.
For example, maybe when you were a child someone told you they didn’t love you and nobody ever will. Or maybe someone (your parent/ sibling/ uncle/ aunt/ friend/ teacher or a bully) told you that you are not good enough (in comparison to someone else may be) and now you hold a belief unconsciously that you are not good enough.
This kind of negative self-images is one of the major factors behind your low self-esteem. In our society (Pakistan), most girls (women as well) have very low self-esteem. We actually tell them even in their homes that their brothers/ husband/ father are more worthy only because they are the ones supposed to take care of them. We almost kill their self-esteem when we tell them to always depend on the male counter-part to survive in our society. We make them believe that they on their own are no-ones and they must compromise and do whatever the male head of the family says/wants. Here I am not at all suggesting to not to respect your male head of the family. All I am saying is that we need to start treating girls as equals in terms of human beings and let them make their own decisions for their lives as every girl deserves to be happy as much as any boy out there.
I can write endlessly about how we discriminate girls and how we make them so vulnerable with such low self-esteem. But I am not going to do that here now.
Let’s stop complaining and start taking some action about it.
So, what you can do about building a higher self-esteem. In the book, the author states 6 pillars that can build up a higher self-esteem.
1ST Pillar: The practice of living consciously
How can you live consciously? You can start doing it by developing a small but very powerful habit of not comparing yourself to others. “Comparison” can bring you no good. You should focus on improving what you can change and learn to accept what you cannot change.
An important point to consider: There are people who say that self-acceptance goes against self-improvement. It doesn’t. Self-improvement can only follow self-acceptance.
2ND Pillar: The practice of self-acceptance
Learn to accept yourself, good and bad both aspects of your personality. It’s way important to accept the bad parts more than accepting the good parts. Otherwise, you will always be stuck at the same place in your life with low self-esteem.
3RD Pillar: The practice of self-responsibility
You must start taking responsibility for everything that happens in your life. It is easy to play the victim and blame someone else for our unhappiness. You should stop playing the victim and concentrate on learning how you can stay authentic to yourself even under pressure.
4TH Pillar: The practice of Self-assertiveness
You must know your own values and you should learn to be assertive about them.
5TH Pillar: The practice of living purposefully
You should have a purpose in life that you can look up to. It will bring you motivation and energy to keep moving forward with your life. So, find your purpose or build one for yourself. For example, the entrepreneur will always have the higher self-esteem because he lives with a purpose.
6TH Pillar: The practice of personal integrity
Always put your personal integrity first. If you act against what you believe in, your inner voice will tell you how worthless you are over and over again. When it comes to self-esteem your inner voice is what matters the most. You can’t let your inner voice tell you how worthless you are and build higher self-esteem at the same time.
Notice how each pillar starts with “The Practice of”. It is not something you are born with. It is something you build by constantly trying and practicing in your life.
The book is called “Six Pillars of Self-esteem” by Nathaniel Branden.
As promised, I am now going to share 3 techniques that can help you get started with building a higher self-esteem.
- Journaling (Self-development).
Take some time out and sit down with something to write on and really dig into your past. Write down every single thing that you can recall that has been or could have been affecting your self-esteem. Write it all down and analyze it. Talk yourself out of your negative limiting beliefs and negative self-image that you have. Break those existing patterns by reasoning rationally with yourself.
Practice daily affirmations and I have a special surprise for you.
You can also use the second page to write your own affirmations and see how it helps you over time. The trick is to stay consistent with doing them daily as a part of your morning routine. When you wake up in the morning take 5 minutes out of your time and read that list of affirmations to yourself. You can print and put up this list somewhere you can see it. If you are too conscious, just put it inside the door of your cabinet. In that case, whenever you will get up and take out clothes out of your cabinet you will be able to see it. It will train your unconscious mind.
- Get Life coaching or Therapy if you can.
That’s how you find a mentor to help you guide through the practical steps to take to get out of your negative self-image and limiting beliefs.
I hope you commit to yourself to build a higher self-esteem. To be honest, I personally rank myself low on the scale of self-esteem. But I am committed to building a higher one. If I can do it, you can do it too.
There is one last idea from the book that I would like to share in the end. Nathaniel Branden writes and discusses with examples how your beliefs can turn around your life. If you believe that something good is going to happen it will and on the other hand, if you believe that something will not work out, what happens is that you unconsciously produce that ripple effect that it eventually never works out for you.
So, believe that you can and you will.
Last but not least, share and let’s all grow together.