A Guide to Improve Self Esteem
It’s a fact that many people experience low self esteem nowadays. Low self-esteem can arise in one’s life for various reasons. It’s likely that a person with low self-esteem may have picked up verbal cues from those around him/her from a very tender age. It is during these formative years where the child’s mind is most impressionable. Most people with low self-esteem have been repeatedly subjected to verbal abuse, perhaps from loved ones or those close to them. Verbal abuse may be defined as any untoward or unwanted criticism from another person.
Life is challenging at the very best of times; given the complexity of living in a modern world. Being subjected to criticism or otherwise can make life unbearable, particularly when one is already suffering. You never know what is beneath the surface of another person. Often times, we’re only exposed to the facade of the people we encounter. Drawing on the Iceberg Principle, 90% of a person’s constitution lies beneath the surface. Given that analogy, rarely do we comprehend what is going on behind the scenes of others.
The following are six principles to help you improve your self-esteem. I suggest you put them to practice in your life immediately. We can never fully embrace a teaching until we’ve lived it and embodied at a cellular level. As you implement these principles, you’ll notice a more complete picture begin to emerge. This picture is the essence of who you really are. You are not defined by your thoughts, your beliefs, your values and principles. These are qualities you have.
Acceptance means fully embracing who you are. Part of this acceptance means acknowledging your imperfections and flaws. Remember, you have two sides to your nature – you cannot be completely imperfect. By focusing on your imperfections alone, gives weight and energy to them. The principal may be akin to pain in the body. When you have a headache, your awareness is directed to the pain in your head. You are less aware of other body systems that are simultaneously occurring. Similarly, focusing on your imperfections is much like focusing only on your headache. Your awareness is drawn to the pain, thus amplifying its intensity.
2. Self Belief
Self belief is a muscle that continually requires your attention. Successful people attribute their success to consistent persistence. Their persistence arises from their self belief and self talk. Their inner dialogue is frequently in the positive and affirmative sense. At their level of success, there is very little negative self talk. On the occasion self talk emerges, successful people are mindful of their thoughts; thus not engaging nor accepting the thoughts as valid.
It is vital that you regularly look for evidence in your own life where you have excelled. Develop an inner dialogue that is one of kindness and empathy. You’ve heard the expression, become your best friend. Treat yourself as you would a family member or a loved one.
3. Be Present
Get your mind out of the past by refusing to draw on your prior failures and mistakes. When you repeatedly draw on the past, you bring your sad memories into the present moment. Come back to the moment by staying orientated in your present surroundings. Most people go about their life either stuck in the past recalling unfavourable memories, or in a stressed state anticipating the future.
The past is only a figment of your imagination and the future never arrives as you planned. Consistently train your mind to stay grounded in the present moment when it looks to the past, by focusing on your immediate surroundings. Take regular walks in nature and observe your surroundings. Note the colour of the trees, the grass or anything which grabs your attention. It might only be momentary, yet it orientates your mind toward engaging in a current state of awareness.
Personal growth allows you to reframe failure by seeing opportunities in everything that has taken place in your life. You see that there are no mistakes in life. When combined with mindfulness and self-awareness, self-improvement is strong and powerful, helping you achieve your deepest wishes. It takes regular work and discipline to form a person of character.
5. Develop Mindfulness
Become aware of your predominant thought patterns – for example are they self sabotaging? Develop an inner dialogue to reframe such thought patterns. Trip the circuit of the mind by refusing to accept these thoughts as REAL. Thoughts are mostly meaningless conversations taking place in your head. You don’t have to pay attention to the incessant chatter.
As an exercise, learn to identify with the silent gaps in between your thoughts. As you become better acquainted with this practice, you’ll be able to synchronise your thoughts with your breathing. This allows the mind and body to harmonise with one another, thus creating a peaceful physical state.
6. Empowering Beliefs
Examine and challenge any outdated beliefs by writing a new script. Your current beliefs may have been created long time ago and not relevant to your current life. Review them often, particularly if they’re related to your self-worth. Remember, you are more than the beliefs you hold about yourself. Beliefs are stories you told yourself long ago and in many instances have now become redundant or obsolete.
Successful people repeatedly revise and review their predominant thoughts. They continually challenge the validity of these thoughts. Successful people refuse to be drawn in to the inner dialogue taking place in their mind.
Improving self-esteem is a slow yet fulfilling journey. It can take years to become a person of strong character. Do not be dissuaded by the length of time to become the person you wish to be. An aeroplane can go no faster to arrive at its destination from one corner of the globe to the other. Wishing for more self-esteem without doing the required work will not draw you closer to the person you wish to be.
Be kind and gentle with yourself as you undertake your journey of improving your self-esteem. Become the observer when things don’t go as planned. Instead of criticising or judging yourself when you do wrong, simply observe yourself as you would if your eyes were closed – don’t label the thoughts. It is well worth every challenge that arises along your journey, so treat it as such.
Tony Fahkry is an expert in integrating the mind-body connection with health & healing and personal growth to achieve greater human potential.
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