How Much Do You Like Yourself?
When I first started working as a hypnotherapist, I worked in a hypnotherapy clinic that specialized in weight loss. One of the key issues with weight problems is low self-esteem and it was important to have some idea of the esteem level of the client. I used a simple little rating scale to get some ballpark idea. I simply asked the client, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, how much do you like yourself?
All my clients were women and their reactions were interesting. Some just gave me a “deer in the headlights” look and blurted out a number. Some burst into tears and said they couldn’t do it. Some gave me “2 or 3 minus” for an answer. Very few assigned themselves a number above 5. That was twelve years ago. Now I ask it a different way but the results are still basically the same. Many women struggle with self-esteem. But low self-esteem is not the private territory of women because men suffer from it as well. And I use the turn “suffer” deliberately because not liking who you are and having no confidence in your ability is a source of keen suffering.
How does low self-esteem show up? In a million different ways. But in general, it keeps people from excelling. from learning new things and going to new places. It keeps them trapped in bad relationships and unfulfilling jobs. It stifles creativity and strangles earning power. It leads them down the path of obesity or of anorexia and entices them to self-medicate with alcohol or drugs. It keeps people comparing themselves with everyone else and always coming out in second place (or worse). It hides talent and kills dreams.
The Source of Low Self-esteem
Low self-esteem often begins in childhood. Our teachers, friends, siblings, parents, and even the media send us positive and negative messages about ourselves. We have all experienced it at some point in or lives. I remember my grandmother telling me I couldn’t sing and should stay quiet. In high school I learned that that was not true, but was still skittish about joining in when the singing began. In eighth grade, we were paraded through the other classes in the order of our grade point average. I was always first, but I often wonder what it felt like for the kids who were at the end of the line. How cruel that was. Parents, when tired or discouraged, often react with anger or impatience and say things they don’t mean, like, “Don’t be so stupid,” or Why can’t you be as smart (or anything els) as your brother?” Ouch! The memory and feeling of these remarks often carry over into adulthood.
Transforming Low Self-esteem
According to Psych Central there are at least eight things you can do to raise your self esteem. These are:
1. Deal with dysfunctional thinking. Pay attention to your thoughts. When you think about yourself, are your thoughts positive or negative? in fact, are your thoughts predominately negative or predominantly positive? Ask yourself these questions and give honest answers:
- “What evidence supports my thinking?
- Would others say this is true about me?
- Does feeling this way make me feel good about myself or bad about myself?”
2. Journal. Keeping negative thoughts in your head only makes them bigger. Journaling about these thoughts brings them down to size.. It also helps you see the good things that do exist in your world.
3. Seek positive support. Surround yourself with positive people. Find friends who support your strengths and give you honest, positive feedback.
4. Create visual cues. Visual cues provide perspective and help you curb negative self-talk, Serani said. For instance, she suggested leaving positive notes around your house and office and keeping inspiring quotes on your desktop.
5. Begin the day with a boost. Read something positve, inspiring and/or uplifting. Repeat positive affirmations that are true about yourself. Watch or read something that is funny and makes you smile/laugh.
6. Soothe yourself. Do something nice for yourself that brings you back to a state of equilibrium. Take a walk in nature. Take a nap. Wata funny or inspirational video, etc.
7. Discover and pursue your passions Find something you love to do and that you are good at doing. This can range from a hobby to a new job/career.
8. Redefine failure, and keep trying. Don’t give up. You are worth it even if you don’t feel like it or believe it right now.
Perhaps, instead of getting “bent out of shape” about who you are or are not orwhether or not you are “good enough,” perhaps you can see yourself as a work in progress. Even better, that you are continuously created the person you are. I encourage you to watch the video below: