No matter how much we criticize others, point out their mistakes or mock them, we are still our own worst enemy. We mentally beat ourselves up for every mistake and failure. Even people who take pleasure in finding fault in others (we all known them and secretly desire to punch them) are almost always seeking to punish what they hate so much in themselves. Nothing runs deeper than the pain of not loving ourselves or not considering ourselves worthy. Low self-esteem is like the little pig’s house of straw: one blow to your ego and it all comes crashing down.
A lot of people wonder what the difference is between self-esteem and self-confidence. Here is how Queendom differentiates it:
Self-confidence is your self-esteem in action. If you aren’t very happy with yourself, you’re less likely to take risks and jump on opportunities that come your way. Your demeanor around others may be inhibited or, on the other extreme, over-confident and arrogant (oftentimes, what lies behind a big ego is a very tiny sense of self-worth). Self-esteem forms the core of who you are. If there are cracks in this core, at some point, they’ll show up on the outside.
If you were fortunate to have parents who praised you when you succeeded and nurtured you when you failed, there’s a good chance that it allowed you to build a solid foundation of self-esteem. It might even have helped you get through the gauntlet of high school, in spite of your pimples, flat chest, nerdy glasses, and fashion faux pas. Every “failure” in life, from getting dumped to screwing up your first job interview will hit your ego hard. Whether it makes a dent or not, and how quickly it heals, depends a great deal on your level of self-esteem.
How can loving yourself and considering yourself worthy make a tangible difference?
Research done by Queendom reveals that people with high self-esteem enjoy higher grades in school, higher salaries ($75, 000+ USD), and tend to be better performers at work. Those with low self-esteem criticize themselves often, get discouraged easily, worry constantly about whether people care about them, and are more likely to feel depressed. Makes improving our self-esteem a worthy endeavor, doesn’t it? So here are some tips to boost your self-esteem. And keep in mind that self-esteem is changeable, and thus can be improved.
- Spend some time getting to know yourself. This doesn’t necessarily mean hours of reflection (although some reflection is beneficial). You can learn a lot more by getting out into the world and doing things. Meet people, take up hobbies, volunteer for a worthy cause – you’ll discover much about the world and reinforce your own sense of self at the same time. Get involved in your life!
- Set personal goals. Decide where you’d like to go, and make a reasonable yet challenging plan to get there. Set deadlines and a system of rewards to keep you going. A goal, by the way, doesn’t have to be a huge life decision like “Become a doctor”; it can be anything you want, such as “Make one new friend” or “Learn to kickbox.”
- Learn from – but let go of – mistakes. Absolutely everyone, no matter how perfect they may seem, messes up from time to time. This is how we learn – like the process of learning to walk as children. If we don’t stumble, we won’t learn how to get up and keep our balance. Keep this in mind as you venture out into the world. Be gentle with yourself.
- Don’t compare yourself to others. You may look at someone and think they possess some quality or advantage that you don’t, but the fact is, they may be looking at you and thinking the very same thing. Someone may be better than you are at tennis, for example, but you can tell a much better joke. Judge yourself by your own standards – you are a splendidly unique individual.
- Associate with people who affirm who you are. Do you have toxic relationships with people who criticize you or make you feel small? Take a good look at the people you surround yourself with and how they affect your self-esteem.
- Shun perfectionism. Interestingly, there is a high correlation between perfectionism and low self-esteem. The more you strive to be perfect, the more frustrated you become when you realize it’s impossible! Be aware of any perfectionistic tendencies you have and keep them in check.
- Do things for others. It’s easy to get wrapped up in your own little world and forget that there are people out there who are in need. Give to others – your time, company, whatever you have to share – and you’ll find yourself feeling much better about yourself.
- Take care of yourself physically. Eat well, get some solid sleep time, kick nasty habits, and get some exercise. Treat your body as it deserves to be treated!
How is your self-esteem? Got any tips to boost it? Share your comments below!
Join me for next week’s discussion on assertiveness!