How to develop a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Positive self-esteem is the key to your success.
As you grow up your self-esteem changes and develops based on our life-experiences. You find out what your talents are and what you enjoy doing. You also become aware of the areas in which you don’t perform well in and don’t like doing. You grow and learn. Your ideas about the world and your interests change. People come into your life and open your eyes to new things. Unfortunately some people will also try to bring you down. This is part of life – a reality that is inevitable. All of these experiences make you who you are and determine how you view and feel about yourself. Your self-esteem greatly impacts the decisions you make, the relationships you have and ultimately the person you are. It is therefore necessary to understand yourself. You have to actively evaluate your self-esteem and if perhaps you have a low self-esteem, you have to work on it and find ways to boost your self-esteem if it affects your daily life negatively. Often a low self-esteem is a distorted view of yourself. All you have to do is change your mind and perception on how you think you are and ought to be. These negative views hold you back from reaching your potential. Your imperfections and lack of abilities have very little to do with what you can and cannot accomplish.
Self-esteem isn’t always the same as having self-confidence. Self-confidence has a lot to do with the confidence you have in your ability to perform well in certain areas as well as the qualities and talents you possess. Self-confidence (or the lack thereof) can be illustrated in the following scenario: You are confident painting in the art class. You enjoy painting and do well in art class. However, you are doubtful of yourself and your abilities when it comes to sport. You aren’t athletic, you don’t have ball sense and lack hand-eye coordination. For some, the lack of confidence in their abilities on the sports field can cause them some temporary stress without causing self-esteem issues. Some accept that they aren’t talented in that area and they focus on what they are good at – such as painting and drawing – and they better those skills. Such individuals still live happily with a good self-esteem. Why is this? Self-esteem has a lot more to do with your internal values and self-respect that is rooted deep within you.
Over a longer period a lack of self-esteem can influence your ability to perform well in areas that you used to be good in – which can negatively affect your self-confidence. Also, if you are continually placed in situations that expect you to perform well in those areas that you aren’t particularly good at, your self-esteem might suffer, because you are lead to believe that you aren’t good at anything. However, for the most part we want you to remember that you can work on your self-esteem and self-confidence separately.
Now that you know the difference between self-confident and self-esteem, here are fundamental principles that will help you to shape a positive self-esteem:
Know that you are a miracle.
The odds of you being born in this particular time, place and circumstance is 1 in 400,000,000,000. It means that you are literally a miracle! Think about it. If that is the case, you cannot ignore the fact that you have a specific purpose on earth. This world would not be complete without you. Our Creator made you in this specific time and place for a reason. You have an obligation to find out what your purpose is in life and strive everyday towards reaching that goal. Your time is limited, so make the most of it. Acknowledge that you are a miracle and a unique human being. You are worthy of a beautiful and prosperous life! No one can or should make you feel undeserving of this life.
Accept yourself regardless of your imperfections.
Self-acceptance is the key to a healthy self-esteem. Sometimes it can be very difficult to accept yourself as you might want to change something about your appearance, abilities or talents. Perhaps you want to run faster, perhaps you want to be less shy around friends or perhaps you still haven’t come to love your freckles. These are all normal thoughts every child and teen experience at some point in their life. Although you should always try to improve yourself in all aspects of your life, it shouldn’t become obsessive or hinder you from living your life. We all have our flaws and the world is full of flaws. Beauty, youth, strength and appearance are subjective qualities. Yes, of course it is important to take care of our bodies; to enjoy and foster our many talents; but remember that everything fades with time. It is therefore all the more important to love ourselves and be able to live with ourselves – learn to love each other with all our imperfections. Self-improvement should be motivated by your drive to fulfil your purpose on earth and doing what you were meant to do. Find that magical spark that burns within you and keep the flame alive. Lucille Ball said it best, “Love yourself first and everything else falls into line. You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world.”
Live in the moment.
When you go about your day, truly experience life. Be aware of your surroundings. When you eat – really taste the flavours in your mouth. When you listen to friends speak – truly give them your full attention. When you live in the moment you will stress less about the future and the past. Whatever you do in your daily activities, be fully present.
Positive thoughts about yourself will lead to a positive life.
Our self-esteem is shaped by our thoughts about ourselves. Talk to yourself the way you would speak to a friend. When you have a positive thought about yourself – write it down or say it out loud. When you have a negative thought about yourself – allow yourself to think that thought and then add “but” afterwards. For example: “I’m not good at math, BUT I am learning about fractions and I’m actually making tremendous progress.”
Each evening, write down 3 things that you believe you did well that day. It can be something you have achieved or even something nice about yourself. Write anything, even if it is only a small thing. Every day you should write something new. For example:
- Today I opened the door for a friend that were carrying heavy books.
- I made a really funny joke and my brothers and sisters laughed out of their bellies.
- I did better in my English test than I have ever done before, even if I only got 60%.
- I stood up to a bully that made fun of me today.
- I smiled at a stranger and then she smiled back.
- I drew a nice picture of a motorbike – I think I’m going to do well in art class this term.
Focus not only on the big things that you do well, but also the little things. The science behind this is that when you keep focusing on the good things you have done that day, the next day your brain will start to search for more good things. Psychologically, you will adjust your mind for a higher self-esteem simply by acknowledging the little things you’ve done well.
Spread positivity as far as you go.
Lift others up. Look for the good in others. Don’t give them compliments simply for the sake of conversations – but truly notice the good that someone does, acknowledge it and tell them that you are proud of them.
Start today by making little changes to your behaviour to build your self-esteem. You are worthy of happiness, love and success. You are a gift to this world! It doesn’t matter what background you come from, this world won’t be the same without you and that you are needed to make a difference in the world. “People are like stained-glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within.” – Elisabeth Kübler-Ross. Let your light shine from within!