Why do some people always seem more self-assured and... happier? Self-defeating habits are living things – they will fight to the end to stay alive. With consistent repetition of behavioural patterns, we become masters of them. Our patterns are the essence of who we are. So ask yourself this: are yours taking you forward, taking you back or keeping you stuck?
It’s essential that you are aware of your behaviour and identify the consequences you are creating because of those patterns. Many people believe that in order to boost self-esteem, they must have things like the perfect body, a massive income, a luxurious lifestyle or even masses of qualifications and a life-long partner.
But let's get real – everyone has flaws. When you have high self-esteem you accept your flaws and shortcomings and value yourself regardless, and promote all the goodness you have going on in your life.
Negative effects of low self-esteem
Those with low self-esteem whinge about how 'unfair' life is, often sabotaging good things as they don’t feel worthy. They compare themselves to others and often suffer from anxiety, stress, and sometimes even low-level depression. Many people seek solace in binge drinking, compulsively eating and don't practise self-love or self-care consistently.
Here's an example: if you grew up with parents expecting you to be perfect and/or you were criticised harshly, emotionally or physically abused, and didn’t get your needs met, the chances are you will suffer from low self-esteem as an adult. However, hope is not lost! Whatever your bad habits or past experiences, there are mindful tools that can help you raise your self-love, self-awareness and self-esteem.
How to boost self-esteem and confidence
1. Consider yourself important
Respect yourself. Get comfortable with being authentic, even when that means paying attention to the bad. Use visualising and meditation techniques to help you face your fears, like, imagine you are wearing an invisible badge saying, ‘I am more than enough’ and 'I got this'. The way you speak to yourself is the secret to boosting inner confidence.
2. Cultivate self-compassion
Be kind to your mind. Most of us don't speak to our closest friends unkindly, so why would our internal dialogue be any different? You will always have a voice within you worrying and judging your thoughts and actions. The key is to recognise those thoughts, facing them, then letting them go. This, in turn, builds more compassion towards your inner being or your true self.
3. Stop picking on yourself
Being your own worst enemy will erode your self-confidence and self-esteem. Separate who you are from what you have done. Face any mistakes and learn from them. Embrace who you are, what you think, feel and believe. Being self-depreciating only invites others to put you down and pick on you, which will not help you develop a more soothing energy for yourself.
4. Accept your shadow parts
If your inner self-talk is negative, a part of you is anxious and fearful. It’s your shadow that wants to fly under the radar, wants you to play small and not to take risks in order for you to avoid failure, criticism, judgment, shame, and maybe even success. Own every part of who you are and stick to this new, positive thought process as a personal project. You'll see how much you can gain from being more compassionate towards yourself.
5. Quit comparing and despairing
The only comparing required of you is to compare where you are now from where you were in the past and celebrate how far you have come. If you recognise qualities you like in others like kindness, sensitivity, discipline, passion, motivation, it’s because you have these qualities too, so stop placing these people above you!
6. Discover your internal compass
It's not realistic to ignore all advice, but it’s crucial you trust yourself and your inner voice. Explore and honour your internal compass and I promise you that your self-esteem will rocket.
7. Make an amend to yourself
Set aside time to list every unkind word you have ever said to yourself, where you have neglected yourself, let others be unkind to you, made promises to yourself and let yourself down. List each wrong you have done to yourself especially those that have plagued you for years. Tear the list or burn with a candle over a bath of running water and let it all go. This can be a soothing tool to help you overcome your fears and judgements and move on from what continuously plagues you in your mind.
No one is super happy and super positive all day long. Raising self-esteem is a life-long journey. Your job is to make it a daily priority to challenge your self-defeating habits. Remember that they are not based on fact and that they have been created somewhere along the way. Low self-esteem keeps you being a people-pleaser, playing 'the nice one' and ending up resentful deep down, and building a wall around yourself which confines you and keeps you from being authentic. This can result in attracting inauthentic people and on it goes. The more genuine you are to yourself, the more you can naturally boost happiness, self-love and respect in your life.
It’s your turn. 2018 should be the year you ask for a raise, the year you step out of your comfort zone, the year you stand up and shine, the year you get what you deserve. 2018 is the year for you to break in, rise up the ranks, be heard, to be seen, be cherished, be valued and be acknowledged in the workplace.
You don’t have to make an extra super effort. You need to master the art of confidence, increase your self-belief and become a person of influence. You can do it!
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