Low self-esteem can play a significant part in determining how much you get out of life. It can trick you into thinking that you are not capable of enjoying a challenging career, being a good mother or being a valuable member of society for example. Therefore, it is vitally important that you look after yours. In this article, How To Build Self Esteem For Women, we will look at exactly what self-esteem is, how yours comes about and what you can do to improve it.
What is self-esteem?
Self-Esteem is essentially your opinion of yourself. It is made up of various perceptions which include what you think about yourself, what others think and also what you believe others think about you!
Ask yourself the following questions and see how many you answer true or false to.
- I have the confidence to follow my dreams
- I am kind to myself and don’t talk to myself negatively
- I like myself!
- I think I have something to offer the world
- I take care of myself
- I stand up for myself
- I believe I am worthy of happiness
- I believe I am lovable
- I am not afraid to fail
- I surround myself with uplifting people
If you answered false to any more than two or three of these then your self-esteem could do with a boost.
What causes low self-esteem?
There is a small percentage of how you view yourself that is genetic, but largely your experiences growing up will have been responsible for your current level of self-esteem but events can happen at any time to really give it a knock. Here is just a sample:
1. Going through a divorce
2. Being bullied – either as a child or an adult
3. Being in an abusive or controlling relationship
4. Being made redundant
5. Having a physical or mental illness
6. Feeling unable to cope with your job
7. Having felt unloved by a parent as a child
8. Having been treated as though you were stupid by a teacher (or anyone!)
9. Being a victim of any type of prejudice
10. Having a poor body image
I could go on but that will do for now!
How does it feel to have low self-esteem?
For some people, it is like there is a critical voice in their head giving a running commentary on how useless they are. They can apparently do nothing right, and it is almost like the voice is not their voice and it never gives up! Any attempt to step out and do something is met with ‘you can’t’.
I heard a woman say recently that she thinks she is not interesting enough so she doesn’t go out, so people stop inviting her places and then she actually becomes less interesting because she never goes anywhere and it is a vicious circle.
It really is important to take action for 2 reasons.
1. You only get one life and you CAN learn to enjoy it.
2. Low self-esteem can lead to anxiety and depression which can be harder (though not impossible!) to treat.
What can you do about it?
There are lots of things you can do to start viewing yourself in a more positive light.
1. Discredit your limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are beliefs that for some reason we have adopted as true and we act accordingly. For example, if you have always wanted to write a book but are not confident in your writing skills, it is unlikely that you will create the necessary energy and excitement to get started writing a book because you think you can’t. So you could ask yourself, who in the past struggled with the same thing but overcame it? Could you perhaps take a course and learn that skill? I can guarantee if you look for answers to that very question you will find them.
2. List your accomplishments. What have you done in the past that you are proud of? Maybe you have a skill that you have been complimented on, maybe you have raised a family, maybe you have overcome some adversity in your life. Write these down and keep them handy so if you are having doubts over your abilities, you can have a quick read to remind you that you are a competent person.
3. Learn something new. I wrote about the benefits of learning something new very recently in How To Improve Brain Function And Memory. Find something that you would enjoy learning (it could be that creative writing course! – or Italian Cookery – anything). This will give you confidence and a sense of accomplishment as well as being enjoyable and boosting your brain function!
4. Get rid of ‘neg heads’. It is vital that you stay away from people who drain your energy and who will join in if you start to criticize yourself. Sometimes family are the worst for this! Spend time only with positive people who always look on the bright side of any situation and encourage you.
5. Refuse to be controlled. One of the hazards of having low self-esteem is that it can attract people who are controlling or abusive. Because of the way you treat yourself, they see you as fair game and can be very mean. There is no excuse for this and you are not to blame. Make a decision now that you will not let anyone treat you badly.
6. Help someone. One of the best ways to make you feel good about yourself is to help someone else. At the time of writing there are lots of volunteering opportunities in local communities to help people who perhaps can’t go out. If you are unable to go out yourself, perhaps you can call some people who would just love to have someone to talk to. Even when times are back to ‘normal’ there are all sorts of opportunities to make a difference.
7. Do not compare yourself to others. There is no on else on the planet like you. We all have our own gifts and talents to discover and use for our own purpose in the world.
8. Show yourself some love. Be kind to yourself, know that you matter. When you hear that critical voice, change it to the voice that you would use to talk to a dear friend. Cook yourself a nutritious meal – especially if you live alone. Do something you like to do even if it is just reading a book or watching a funny movie. You are worth it! Then repeat. Often!
9. Make an effort to look your best. Generally people who suffer from low self-esteem don’t make an effort because they don’t think they are worth spending the time on! Although seemingly insignificant in the moment, this sends a message to your subconscious mind that you are not worthy which will then deepen feelings of low self-esteem.
It is your responsibility not to allow low self-esteem to persist and become part of your identity. Believe me when I tell you that you deserve to live a full and useful life as does everyone. If you are struggling on your own, then please seek help before it turns into anxiety and depression which often go hand in hand.
Have you suffered from low self-esteem? Did you overcome it or not? What has the impact been on your life? I would love to hear from you below in the comments.