“Trust yourself. Create the kind of self that you will be happy to live with all your life. Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.” ~Golda Meir
This is a guest post by Joe Wilner.
When you look at yourself in the mirror, how do you feel? What are the thoughts you have, and what do you say to yourself?
No matter the answer to these questions, everyone has the potential for healthy self-esteem. It’s within all of us, we just need to cultivate it, and understand the many factors that influence its growth.
There are some things that can be changed in life, and other things that cannot. One thing that can be changed, or at least improved, is our skill set.
We can learn how to do new things and improve our ability with practice and application.
We can also develop a greater sense of personal control. We can recognize our ability to make changes in life, and persevere through difficult time.
As well, we can improve our relationships and the people we surround ourselves with.
Everyone has the seed of self-esteem within them, it just has to be cultivated and developed. It's not a simple task, but is a pursuit that will change your life.
Below are 4 essential ways to start building your self-esteem.
1. Appreciate Your Uniqueness
“If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away.” – Henry David Thoreau
Everyone has unique traits, abilities, and ideas, and these are important to find out who you are and person you can become. In some circles, it may be important to fit-in, but other times you need to enjoy feeling different and appreciate your uniqueness and individuality. By doing so you can begin to believe in your imagination and creativity, and step outside your self-imposed box.
Build your self-worth by accepting who you are and who you want to become. Acknowledge your hopes and fears, and know that even if you feel uncomfortable with parts of your identity, these are exactly the things that can help you be extraordinary. In fact, you would be quite ordinary otherwise.
You can start to like who you are and how you look. Begin to believe that you deserve good things, and know your uniqueness can help you grow and expand to further possibility and opportunity.
Start to love yourself for who you are now!
Start paying attention to what you identify with? Allow yourself to be aware of the full range of thoughts and feelings, your strengths as well as weaknesses and embrace these in order to keep moving forward.
2. Build Your Personal Power
“You may never know what results come of your action, but if you do nothing there will be no result” – Mahatma Gandhi
A major part of self-esteem is having the self-trust that lets you know you can deal with obstacles when they arise and still push forward to reach your goals. Taking on challenges is important to improve your self-efficacy, or your belief in what you’re capable of.
Allow time to enjoy small achievement, and appreciate small changes. If you do, over time your belief in your capability will begin to increase and expand as you see success.
By problem solving successfully and focusing on growth, you will be able to set bigger goals, and have the self-confidence to try new things. You can begin to learn how to push past your limits, and deal with life's set-backs and rejection more effectively.
How are you dealing with stress and pressure when it arrives in your life? Do you feel in control of your actions and pursuits?
Even if you make a mistake, know that you can learn from it, and always be willing to keep trying. Look for a more effective strategy or better way to approach the issue next time.
3. Start Connecting Relationships
Self-esteem is intricately related to other people. Specifically, if you are around people who tell you that you’re worthless and shouldn’t be loved, that's exactly how you’ll feel, but if you're around people who build you up, reveal your self-worth, and instill in you a sense of empowerment, this will provide the means to take responsibility for your life and the future you want to live.
Do you have friends who show you respect and encouragement? What about your family?
You need people in your life who make you feel appreciated and are willing to lend a helping hand when you reach out. Though, when it comes down to it, you alone have the power to cultivate your self-esteem. It’s important to recognize that no one can give you lasting self-esteem but yourself.
Likewise, boost your self-esteem by asserting yourself more effectively around other people. Take a leadership role, and start pointing the way for others. Start being a sign-post for other people, and help to inspire them and improve their life. Give back to your relationships and you will certainly get back encouragement in return.
4. Establish Your Values
To have a healthy self-esteem you must figure out what’s really important to you. In this sense, know what and who you respect in life. Clarify your responsibilities and priorities and make sure you're living according to these important areas.
Discover who you really want to be and put energy into this model of yourself, instead of following a lifestyle and personal appeal that comes from someone else. It’s easy to do something for the sake of pleasing others, or because you feel you can handle disappointment better than the other person.
You know your worth and ability, so let go of blame and guilt, and take hold of self-determination to make your life better. Each time you act against your values you are chipping away at your self-esteem, so make a concerted effort to stay committed to those things that are truly important to you.
Self-esteem is more than a life luxury. It's an integral part of healthy living and purposeful existence. You deserve to feel good about yourself and the life you lead. Start discovering what you need to do to improve your self-esteem today, and make the changes one by one.
Joe is an educational entrepreneur and coach who runs the blog Shake off the Grind, where he helps people find success through the up's and downs of life.