What makes low self esteem so destructive is that it occurs at such a young age, permeates our entire internal thought process which then impacts our actions creating a vicious circle that feeds itself holding us back from being who we really are capable (and meant) to be in life.
Even more damaging is the fact that we learn, very early on in life, to defend against this low self esteem with "masks" that allow us to cope and appear to others as if the "external, masked facade" is our true personality.
As a result, we may appear to be uncaring, unhappy or detached when really these behaviors are the result years of defenses we have built against low self esteem.
Recognizing low self esteem and its triggers in our life is hard enough to do, but then admitting and working on improving our self-esteem rarely happens in our lives leading to a life of being stuck in an internally induced prison that suffocates us, keeping us from being happy, fulfilled and preventing those around us from seeing our real potential.
Low self esteem often leads to:
- High levels of anxiety
- Abnormally high levels of shyness
- Monumental levels of stress
- Health challenges that impact digestion, blood pressure, the pancreas, muscles and our entire immune system
- Low levels of income as we struggle in jobs that we are unfulfilled in because we can't overcome our own limitations preventing us from moving ahead
- Substance abuse as a coping mechanism with a very high probability of addiction (as we try to dull the pain associated with low self esteem with alcohol, drugs, gambling, or other "escapist" behavior
- Substantial challenges with relationships as we have a tough time loving someone else when we do not even like ourselves
- Withdrawing from society when one of the basic human needs is to belong
Does anything on this list connect with your life?
If so, the good news is that IF you have the insight, courage and motivation to improve self esteem, you can turn all of these negatives in positives and experience more fulfillment, higher levels of health (we have had people that have worked through the steps in Attracting Greatness completely reverse many health challenges) and finally live life knowing that you have escaped from the internal turmoil of having to bend to your insecurities and anxieties because you are confident you have the self esteem needed to handle anything.
Let's outline 5 of the most effective ways you can use to improve your self esteem
1. Recognize Negative Thought Patterns
We have all been programmed and have, in turn, programmed our own thought process with millions of negative thoughts over our lifetime…hundreds of times each day we think to ourselves "I can't do that", "I wish I could be like ___" or "There's no way I could ever do ____" Some of this comes from our parents, much from school, some from friends and MOST of it becomes part of our normal internal thought process. Until we recognize that we have been programmed over years to think in a certain way about ourselves, we can't fully appreciate how we have arrived at this point in our life with low self-esteem. We are not born with low confidence, we have been programmed that way which means we can re-program ourselves undoing the negativity and replacing it with much higher levels of confidence and self esteem
2. Realize You Are Not Your Thoughts
In our experience, practicing some form of meditation is a huge benefit to the process of improving your self esteem. To many people meditation is about relaxation, to us it is about gaining a new perspective on your emotions and the emotions of those around us. When done correctly, meditation allows you to put all of your baggage on the shelf and literally view life in the present – we can put all of the negative programming into a separate bucket, see it for what it is which allows us the ability to move on. You see, you cannot just "think positively" and remove years of negative programming, instead it takes something like meditation where you can objectively look at highly emotional thoughts and see them for what they are before you can begin re-programming your thoughts, take new, exciting actions and open new doors in life
3. New Visualizations
Over the years we have negatively programmed our minds to believe we can't do things, can't handle tough situations, can't deal with stress, anxiety, failure, etc…not only with abstract thoughts, but through very vivid visualizations. We can all recall times when we have painted very REAL pictures in our mind of what COULD happen if you took a chance. When we lose our confidence about speaking in front of a group (for example), we run a very clear movie in our heads of how badly that could go don't we? What we need to do starting today is consciously focus for 15-20 minutes daily on positive visualizations – how we could make new friends, impress our boss, win over a crowd, be interesting in our relationship, ask a girl or guy out, etc…In these movies we want to see, taste, smell and hear everything going incredibly positively and put ourselves in the middle of that movie. Over weeks you will be amazed at the improvement in your life
4. Find Your Inner Courage
Most of us don't realize it, but you have already been through incredible challenges in your life and you have made it through. Your first day at school, learning to read or write, overcoming health challenges, losing a loved one, a failed relationship…all things you may view negatively today but look on these experiences in a new way. Namely, you made it through! We are far more resilient than we believe or have built up in our own minds. Think back to those times to convince yourself that YOU can handle anything…that gives us confidence to overcome fear and take the leap required to do something once, then twice and so on…
5. Just Do It
The first time you do anything it often takes a leap of faith. You have taken that leap of faith many times in your life and you are still standing today. So, it's time to make taking that leap of faith a "normal" part of life instead of just an exception. In other words, turn taking first-time action into a normal habit instead of a once-in-a-lifetime event. Soon it becomes commonplace (as any habit does) and suddenly you improve self esteem dramatically as you add bricks to the foundation replacing submission with taking charge of your life. Now you have replaced the circle of defeat and despair with a circle of winning and greatness – the result is that the REAL you will finally be your life.
Remember, it all starts with realizing that "I have low self esteem" and then knowing (full belief) that you no longer will be victimized by low confidence that you can break out and build your self esteem within a few short weeks (continuing the process for a lifetime to bring greatness into your life). From this point on your life will change, you escape your internal "prison", climb out of the rut and begin to really live life no matter is you are 15 or 50.
What can you add to this – do you have low self esteem, or have you been able to grow your confidence in life? Leave us a comment and let's help others build their self confidence today!