Self Esteem isn’t something we consider working on until we realise it’s become weak. And by then we’ve forgotten how to build it back to optimum health. Break a leg and the doctors will do the necessary in A&E – you can expect it to be back to normal in a matter of weeks. Your leg will be strong enough to hold you up, let you move to where you want to go.
If only A&E could help with the more complicated multiple fractures that damage Self Esteem.
It takes time to build poor Self Esteem and time to repair it fully.
Depending on the choices you’ve made – decisions, actions and reactions – the disenchantment with yourself would have spread over time. If you forget to care for your garden, weeds will take over. Have you ever noticed how easily they can creep in, masking the beauty of your previous efforts, using any space available without permission? Constant weeding is a must unless you can find a way to fill the spaces so that weeds are either unable to flourish or become an insignificance.
Think about that.
If your Self Esteem was a rare and precious plant, you’d nurture it. You’d feed it. You’d water it. You’d place it in the best position in your garden to give it the best chance to thrive. You’d check it for harmful pests. You might offer protection from frost. You wouldn’t allow next door’s cat to wee all over it!
Your Self Esteem needs the same quality of care.
To nurse your Self Esteem back to health means that you need to understand what it is that makes you feel less than you really are, what you need to do to repair it and secure the belief that you deserve to feel better about yourself than you currently do.
You will need to educate yourself, break unhelpful habits, create new, positive ones.
Take steps that will reward you with some fast, initial progress. Beware of the superficial sticking plaster, however. Noticing positive change quickly will prove that you can change how you feel. It will boost your confidence, motivate you to continue, give yourself reason to feel brighter.
For significant, inherent, lasting power, you need to keep feeding it.
This kind of work is a pleasure and as you form new habits, will simply merge into life. The motivation to care for yourself, respect yourself and love yourself will be self- perpetuating as you and others witness positive change.
Your self-respect increases, so your self-care increases.
Your faith in your own ability broadens.
You find new confidence.
You recognise your achievements.
You know that you can build a positive future and believe that you deserve it.
You demonstrate to yourself and to others that you are worth hearing.
You face your challenges and have belief in yourself to overcome them, rework them, change them into what you want.
You feel happier. You look happier.
The fine details of repairing Self-Esteem are very individual and that makes sense, when you think about all the personal experiences you’ve accumulated over time that have damaged it. Find a Life Coach with the experience to support you on your journey. Certain things are universal, however, and you can do these for yourself:
It’s easy to forget yourself. In the busyness of your Day to Day, you know something’s got to give. You shouldn’t have made that something You, however!
Unthinkingly, you rank others’ needs above your own – burgers instead of fish, because they prefer it, a comedy night instead of classic theatre because they love that, cancelling your yoga class because they wanted you to meet their friends. You show them how much you care by putting them first.
You teach yourself that you matter less.
When you love someone – your child, your parent, your partner – you naturally want to care for them. You want to know that person is eating well, sleeping well, taking regular exercise. You need to do the same for yourself. Follow a good sleep routine. Allow yourself your ideal start to the day. Cook food that’s healthy and delicious – when you sit down to eat, you’ll get the added benefit from the knowledge that you made the effort for yourself. It won’t be just the nutrients that nourish you.
Continue to care for the ones you love and start to include your preferences in the mix. You deserve to live, eat, have space to think in a way that works for you. You shouldn’t shelve your self-respect just because you care about others. Balance is needed in a busy household and in every relationship if it’s to thrive. The people around you may not have a clue of what you’ve rebalanced in order to be there for them. Kindness towards others without care of the self isn’t healthy. Over time it causes negative change. Take a look at your scales and identify ways that everyone can get what matters. And remember that “everyone” includes you!
Be honest about your relationships
Unhealthy relationships result in lowered Self-Esteem. Examine your relationships and notice patterns in behaviour – yours and others. And then see if those behaviours match the type of relationships you really want in your life. Sometimes, relationships continue just out of habit. If you think they are worth the effort, you could work to improve things in a way that respects your own boundaries. But there might be relationships you need to rethink in order to align yourself with your values. Constant arguments, bickering, jealousies are toxic and unnecessary. Decide which relationships you need a little distance from and give yourself a chance to see whether you feel happier. I once heard the phrase, “why would you keep hitting yourself over the head with the same brick?” That’s one to think about!
Recognise your qualities
Know when you’re good at something. Are you the one who supports people when they’re down? Do you make your colleagues laugh? Are you the go-to person when the team needs to think outside their usual box? Or are you the family director, making sure everyone has the best chance of success? When Self-Esteem is low, you notice what others are good at. You forget that you, too, have talents or qualities that are valued.
Make a list before bedtime, of the things you did well each day. Big yourself up a bit! Did you make a perfect cuppa? Did you present well at the meeting today? Did you comfort your kids when they needed it? All those things count. Add them to your list. This is about the quality of what you did, not the quantity. Take a moment and congratulate yourself for doing a good job.
We all know that social media is not the full reality, it’s just what someone’s chosen to display. And there’s a lot said about how it can drive your mood down if you spend too much time with it or take it too seriously. Set a timer on your phone to avoid getting sucked into that world for too long!
If you want to catch up with someone you care about, have a real, private conversation so that you can hear the tone of their voice. Meanwhile, use the extra minutes you free up from social media to prepare some healthy food or take a relaxing bath, enjoy a walk in the fresh air…use the time to allow your mind to wander…laugh…breathe.
Repairing Self-Esteem is personal. You can’t rush it. But you can be sure of making improvements. You can take steps that will start to help you feel better quickly. Your confidence in yourself will grow, your belief in yourself will develop and you’ll start to notice that you value yourself more. You’ll begin to feel equal, important, proud of your achievements, pleased to look in the mirror and really see yourself.
Self-Esteem needs to be fed. You can’t do that if you leave yourself at the bottom of the pile all the time!
Enjoy your journey.