Upgrade your Self-Esteem

Ambitions or goals give us particular aim and direction in life. All of us have certain ambitions, want to obtain and reach something or be someone or have something. For any ambition to come true, It is not always just about the ambition or climbing your career ladder or to get ahead in your work, but it is often more about how you do it…you must be confident in your abilities in striving for them in a positive manner and should not get controlled by negative characteristics like fear, greed, desire for fame or power. If you are controlled by these negativities deep down your ambitions and dreams can be crippled. Failing to address your inner fears and negative beliefs lowers your self esteem which further leads to unproductive and dysfunctional behaviours.

Don’t let your low self-esteem limit your ambitions

Most of us experience low self esteem levels at some point in our lives. This is particularly true among even highly successful and achieving individuals. This might be due to variety of reasons and varies in levels for different people. For some the reason might be when they are facing hurdles, they may not be stronger in overcoming them and easily give up. For some others it may be due to coming out of their comfort zones. More often we feel confident in our comfort zone. When things feel good and things feel familiar; you know what to expect, you know what to do and you feel at ease and in control. But the moment you step out of your comfort zone, some begin to feel stressed and this lowers their self esteem. Besides the skill, what decides whether you can achieve your goal or ambition is your self esteem. Healthy self-esteem provides you the motivation to give your best when faced with any difficult or uncomfortable situation in life.

What is Self-esteem ?

Self esteem refers to the way we feel about ourselves and is an important aspect of our emotional well-being. High self-esteem means that we are comfortable about who we are and accept ourselves for the way we are. Low self esteem means otherwise. We all at some points learn the traits of being confident and it is injected into our identity. Most of the times, we use self-esteem as a meter that reads out the state of the system, when you are doing well, the meter will register high. When you are doing not so well, it will register low. Many times we equal self-esteem to various other self concepts thinking it is the same. Here is how it is different .

1. Self-concept is not self-esteem. Self-esteem may be part of self-concept. Self-concept is the perception that we have ourselves.

2. Self-esteem is not self-image as self-image is based on false and inaccurate thoughts about ourselves. Our self-image may be close or far from reality.

3. Self-esteem is not self confidence. Self-esteem is more about the internal measure. Self confidence is based on external measures of success such as the trust in ability to deal with challenges and solve problems. One can have high self-confidence in certain field, but still lack a healthy sense of overall value or self-esteem.

4. Self-efficacy is not a self-esteem. Self-efficacy is the belief in one’s ability to succeed in certain tasks. It is based on external success than the internal worth.

What causes low self-esteem

Most of the times, the unrecognised and unacknowledged core fears are the root cause of low self-esteem which can lead to our unattained potential. Yet not all those fears are not necessarily bad. You can use them to improve your performance. If you are willing to address these fears or negative notions and beliefs of self as to where they are coming from, you can channel them productively.

Here are certain fears that lower your self-esteem.

Fear of being wrong

Harbouring this thought makes you focus more on rules, ethics, standards, and ‘ right vs wrong.’ This makes you deeply afraid of making a choice that will later prove to be objectively wrong.

Fear of not being good enough

Constantly thinking not being good enough makes you insecure, more focused on your image, and desperate to prove your worth. Because you are motivated by how you are seen by others, you may tend to fudge facts and lower your authentic inner worth.

Fear of missing out

This makes you to constantly seek new possibilities and experiences. The down size is it can scatter your attention and muddy your decisions. Pursuing multiple interests at once can lead to more frustration and confusion.

Fear of taken advantage of

Afraid of being seen as weak, you feel the need to win every battle. This can make you more defensive and controlling. The underlying anxiety can make you low on emotional quotient and suffering from not being good enough can further lower your self-esteem.

If you are low in self-esteem, you will have difficult time focusing on a task as you constantly doubt your inner worth. You even be justifying the self-doubt and will cause trouble which lowers your chances and opportunities in life. It creates a sense of hopelessness and low resilience. At times when your confidence runs low you might give into self destructive behaviours and self deprecating thoughts by going into a downward spiral. In such times, it is important to make a conscious effort to boost your self-esteem. You can rebuild your self-esteem and go after the goals you have dreamt of by believing in your abilities once again.

Ways to boost your self-esteem

Expressing personal emotions, attitudes and cognitive thoughts are highly associated with self-esteem.

Having healthy sense of self -esteem guides you towards accepting reality, thinking critically about your failure to achieve your ambitions, and problem-solving instead of wallowing in self-pity or giving up. With Higher self esteem you can accomplish what you set out to achieve. to achieve your goals, ambitions and the life that you want to lead.

Here are some strategies to upgrade your self-esteem.

Name your negative emotions and fears

Scientific research shows that naming the emotion can dampen the activity in the amygdala, which is the emotional hazard detection centre of the brain. This allows your brain to take back the control and become more aware of your emotions and to separate yourself from them. This helps you to take the edge off your anxiety and help you feel more in control. Simply acknowledge the emotion and name your feeling. You might say ‘ I am feeling angry’ or ‘ I am feeling pessimistic.’

List your ambitions

Write down your ambitions and aspirations. Writing them down can boost your motivation and get you fixed up in the right mindset to accept challenges and to take risks. This helps you in gaining more clarity and makes your goals more attainable than just thinking about them as a mountainous tasks. Write those things that really inspire you and give you a lift, the things you’d love to achieve.

Use social media positively

Studies suggest that social media usage negatively impacts self-esteem. Even though we need social media to interact, we also use those around us as comparisons to measure and track our progress in work, relationships and life in general. Social comparisons with unattainable standards is clearly a bad habit to get into because the image projected is often curated as polished and perfected appearance. Comparing yourself to others makes you experience negative emotions. You can use social media more positively by drawing inspiration and motivation rather than unhealthy comparison.

Stop yourself from dwelling on past

Dwelling on past mistakes and regrets, or worries about the future, can be very damaging for your inner self worth. Stop the cycle of frequent reviewing of past blunders and preventing future problems by engaging yourself in present moment awareness. Distract yourself from such self destructive thoughts. If you continue to dwell on some issue, structure your thought by writing it down and making a plan for either dealing with it in future or moving on from past regrets and failures.

Through meditation

You can develop self-esteem through meditation. When we meditate, we cultivate our ability to let go and to keep our thoughts and feelings in perspective. We learn to simply observe and loosen the grip we have on our sense of self. We gain the ability to become aware of our inner experiences without over-identifying them. A regular meditation practice can upgrade your self-esteem by helping you let go of your preoccupation of negative self. When you have the ability to step back and observe your fears and self deprecating thoughts, you begin to de identify the negativities that lower your inner worth.

Dealign with your fears

Understand and admit your fears if there are any. Take a close look at the choices you’ve made in the past and the reasons behind those choices. Spend some time considering what it means if you failed at something. What would happen if you took on an ambition that didn’t play your strengths? Acknowledge your fears and move past them. Align your actions and behaviour more closely with your ambition and not with your fears

Achieve your ambition with confidence

When you pick a big goal, break it down into small, manageable goals that are with in your power. Tackling one issue at a time can help you build required skills and improves your performance. You might not be able to complete all of them straight away. Figure out the first few and focus on them. Working out the tasks and challenges will gradually stretch you and build your skills towards achieving your ambitions.

Finally, Arduous self-examination of your fears can turn your self-esteem around. Acknowledge both your accomplishments and mistakes and have s honest and realistic conception of yourself. This will help you to keep a positive outlook and drives you to make positive changes.

Conclusion

If you want to boost your self-esteem. you need to start from within yourself and speak to your negative inner voice that says you can’t do something or you are not good at something else. Challenge negative thoughts by taking responsibility and change your mindset to positive. Boosting your Self-esteem will help you find the courage to try new things, builds resilience to bounce back from failure and makes more susceptible to success.

While you are working on your self-esteem, remember to

• Be less critical of yourself and others.

• Be assertive about expressing yourself.. your likes, dislikes and feelings.

• Be open to criticism and in acknowledging mistakes.

• Avoid dwelling on the past and focus on the present.

• Accept challenges and take risks.

• Value yourself and communicate well with others.

• Be optimistic and hold a positive outlook on life.

• Build strong and honest relationships.

• Have self-realistic expectations.

Make a positive connection with your Inner-Critic

There is an inner critic inside all of us who is constantly scrutinising and criticising our every action. Our inner Critic can be far more vicious than that we might hear from the outside. Our inside have intimate knowledge of us and can zero in on our weak points. This can be damaging to our self-esteem and self-image and holds us back from achieving what we want to. We end up beating ourselves up about not being and doing good enough.

Your Inner-Critic is developed by your constant self-talk. You might be told by this critic that you are not competent or intelligent enough, and the other things that you don’t like about yourself. Sometimes the guilt of what ifs caused by this critic can make it difficult to accomplish your goals and you can have tough time to let go of the never ending story of imperfections that are created by it.

Is Your Inner-Critic always damaging?

More often, your Inner-Critic is the baddest and biggest bully that keeps you from making progress and delays you from becoming the best version of yourself. But at the same time, this may not be true always. Your critical inner self can also be an effective motivator and a protector. Your Inner-Critic is judging you in order to protect you from hurt and pain. It helps you in being cautious, in perfecting something, in getting successful and intelligent.

Most of the times, It tries to fit you into a perfect ‘self’ by prescribing some rules and attacks you when you try to violate them. Even though it gets you acquainted with your imperfect self or with the things you don’t like about yourself, it need not make you less acceptable. Instead, by establishing a positive connection, you can come up with constructive self-criticism and can turn that into a taskmaster. This will get you to work hard or to be disciplined or to avoid being mediocre.

Know what your Inner-Critic is doing for you.

Your critical self is made of opinions that come from the environment you live in, parents, teachers, peers, media and from your own conclusions. It is a voice based on your so formed beliefs. To know whether your inner voice is helping you or lowering your self-worth, it is important to know which type it belongs to according to the following:

Perfectionist:

If your inner voice has high standards of behaviour and performance then it tries to get you to do things perfectly. On the downside, it might prevent you from creating anything for the fear of not being good enough and can make you work forever trying to perfect something.

Guilt-tripper

This inner voice tries to point out mistakes and attacks you for some of your past action or behaviour that has been harmful to you or to others. Because of the violation of a deep-help value, it takes you on a guilt-trip.

Inner controller

This critic tries to control your behaviour that might not be good for you or might be risky. It tries to be harsh in certain situations where you slip up.

Underminer

This kind of inner voice tries to make you feel worthless and undermines your self-confidence. It undermines your confidence of taking up to difficult tasks and keeps you away from taking risks so that you won’t fail.

Destroyer

This critic tries to state facts like — You are a loser, You will never amount to anything and so on and attacks on your fundamental self-worth. It shames you deeply thereby stopping you from taking action.

Moulder

This critic tries to get you to fit a certain mould. It attacks you when you aren’t and praises you when you are thereby making you feel inadequate.

Taskmaster

This gets you to work hard and to be disciplined in order to be successful. It can also lead to over-striving and workaholism.

By having a clear sense of what your Inner-Critic is, what it sounds like and how it is directing your behaviour, you can decide to either work with it or try and make necessary changes to make it into a constructive critic. You can do this by being aware of both its benefits and its consequences. Follow these steps to establish a positive connection with your Inner-Critic

Know your thought patterns

How you respond to your inner voice depends mostly on your thought patterns. Analyse your critical thoughts. Certain thought patterns may make you experience motivation and achievement. Others might be negative patterns acting as your enemies. Ask yourself the question: would you put up with a person saying negative things constantly about you? If you wouldn’t tolerate, then why put up with you own negative self. Identify the triggers and content of these negative patterns in order to break out of them.

Make a list of your self-critical statements

Writing down your self-critical statements heightens your awareness and allows you to take a closer look at their usefulness. Look at some of your statements that you wrote down and ask whether they are guilting or are they trying to protect you or improve you. Some of them can be negative beliefs you hold about yourself. How well these statements are serving their purpose? Come up with some alternatives or constructive statements to use next time when any of these pop into your head.

Challenge your Inner-Critic

Challenge your critical inner voice or statements to test their logic and authenticity. You will come to know how realistic their concerns are or if they are just unnecessary fears. Analyse how likely each of those things are true. Reframe some of these statements and get a correct perspective. Find the positive things about you — you as a person or your achievements and focus on these when your Inner-Critic tries to break you down. Next time you hear your critic, ‘turn it off’ by replacing negatives and shifting your attention to something more positive.

Work on your self-esteem

People with very low self-esteem have a more vicious and demoralising Inner-Critic. It makes them stop being challenging and since they can’t live up to their own critical voice, they lose trust in their abilities. If you base your confidence on the evaluation of your achievements and the validation or approval of others, your confidence keeps varying every day. Keep it irrespective of these factors. Seeking validation from others leads to negative and unproductive thinking. Don’t let others’ opinion take control of your thoughts. Be confident in your own abilities. Higher the levels of your self-esteem, the more productive will be your Inner-Critic and its critical analysis of you.

Practice self-approval

Sometimes when you fail to meet your standards, your Inner-Critic because of its protective nature focuses on your short comings, triggers discontentment and prompts you to become defensive and avoidant. When you try to silence your inner self-talk, you tend to intensify its judgement. Instead try to approve yourself by viewing your mistakes with understanding and patience. Express empathy towards the fears held by your Inner-Critic. This way, you are more likely to take responsibility for your part and can focus on mending the situation.

Adopt a positive attitude

Adopting a positive attitude towards your life will free you from your damaging critical and negative self. Your Inner-Critic corrupts your mind and gradually pollutes your behaviour, emotions and your attitude. By developing a positive attitude, you get freedom from your inner voice like ‘How can I achieve that?’, ‘I am incapable of doing that’, ‘No, I am not good enough for this’, ‘I am a failure’, ‘what if something goes wrong?’, and similar thoughts. Inner-Critic makes you succumb to your fears and prevents you from taking a step forward because it makes you feel incapable of doing something. By keeping a positive attitude, you need not surrender to them and you can make yourself strong enough to stand your ground. You become free and liberated and can see different possibilities.

Replace negative words with positive

What kind of words do you usually tell yourself? Are they helpful?, or do they make you feel burdened. When you say things like, ‘I cannot get anything done’, or ‘I am sure I will fail’ and so on can make your Inner-Critic more strong in making you believe that you cannot improve and are incapable of doing something. Therefore these words need to be eliminated. Replace them with positive and affirmative phrases. For instance, When you find yourself thinking ‘ I am not good enough for this job,’ you can tell yourself ‘I may not be the best at this job, but I will learn to improve.’

Stay clear of using phrases like I already know, I’m sure, as they make you burdened with the responsibility of doing something in a certain way as this leads to self-doubt and you might lose yourself to negative thinking. Don’t resign to the fact that you will never be able to do something just because your Inner-Critic is telling you so.

To summarise,

• Be conscious of your Inner-Critic.

• Make your Inner-Critic work for you and not against you.

• Don’t let your Inner-Critic’s ‘you-can’t’ suppress your ‘Can-do’ attitude.

• Remember that your Inner-Critic is just one part of you and not whole of you.

• Take your Inner-Critic seriously when it comes to correcting your faults and weaknesses.

• Practice positive self-talk. Cultivate a habit of using words like ‘can’, ‘will’ and ‘yet’.

Conclusion

All of us do our best to achieve our goals. It is not always easy, there are probably times where we think we could do more. Our Inner-Critic will always beat us up about not doing enough. But if we spend more time feeling guilty about it, the less time we will spend putting positive steps in place to achieve our goals. Do not let your Inner-Critic try convincing you to give up. Instead make a positive connection and work with it in order to reach your goals.

Practice Self-appreciation

“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” – Iyanla Vanzant

Do you ever wonder why you are unable to accomplish your full potential. May be it is due to your inner critic who is constantly scrutinising and criticising your every action. This lowers your self-esteem and self-worth both which are essential for you to achieve your goals. Without these, your talents, skills, knowledge and intelligence can go untapped.

In today’s world, increasing competitiveness has led to a lot of achievement anxiety. Many suffer from dissatisfied selves and they often fear being left hopelessly behind. We begin to torture ourselves with thoughts about our inadequacies, starting from our appearances to the work we do to the success we achieve. This leads to people practice a habit of disesteeming. So how does one unlearn the practice of lowering their self-esteem and confidence?

Unlearning disesteeming can happen with learning to develop self-appreciation.

Importance of Self-appreciation

Self-appreciation is accepting yourself without the conditions of being perfect or attaining personal summit of any sort. This is a process of understanding your own value, and accepting what is real about yourself and what you want to do and what you want to be. By learning to appreciate yourself you receive positive reinforcements which further improves your self-esteem.

All of us nearly lose touch with our innate goodness and fail to love and appreciate ourselves. We cover it up with or come under the shadow of people’s opinions and expectations out of us. So, as a result we feel only partly deserving and begin to berate ourselves. If your mind is obsessed by thoughts of insecurity and inadequacy, it is due to the fact that such things have dominated your thinking for a long period of time. Deep within you begin to mistrust your ability to grasp opportunities and to meet responsibilities.

How deserving you are mostly depends on what you believe you deserve and only to the degree that you appreciate your inner worthiness. Success involves talent, effort and creativity, but first of all it requires self-confidence. Self-appreciation is sum of your overall sense of value, worth, goodness and deservedness and so is the measure of your confidence.

You need to learn how to start appreciating yourself and learn to give credit for strengths you possess. It is very essential to reappraise your self-esteem.

Here are some toxic thoughts you can eliminate in order to grow your self-appreciation and self-esteem.

Stop criticising yourself

If we tell ourselves that we are okay, no matter what is going on, we can make changes in our lives easily. It is when we make ourselves bad that we have great difficulty. When we get in the habit of judging ourselves, we lower our self-worth and feel not good enough. We find ways to keep ourselves miserable. We create illnesses, we procrastinate things that would benefit us. We fail to recognise our uniqueness when we get critical of ourselves and obscure it.

Your self-love must not be dependent upon you being perfect. Self-criticism might lead to more negative behaviour. Stop judging your own mistakes so harshly. Do not make the opinions of others more important than your own opinion of yourself. Tell yourself you are wonderful and praise yourself quite often.

“The things you don’t like about yourself don’t make you any less acceptable. Everyone has things they don’t like about themselves. No one is perfect. Learn to work with yourself and not against yourself. Learn to work with the parts of yourself you don’t like as much.”

Akiroq Brost

Stop being unkind to yourself

You need not hate yourself for having negative thoughts. Don’t blame yourself for negative experiences. Being kind to yourself means you stop all the blame and guilt. We all come under constant pressure of being perfectionists. Difficulties and problems tend to sap energy and we tend to yield lot of self-hate.

When you love and trust yourself, you are loving and trusting the wisdom that created you. If you are unkind to yourself, you are not trusting the wisdom that created you and you begin to develop a pessimistic view of world around you. This creates an obstacle that will inhibit your sense of self-appreciation. Begin to develop an optimistic view and appreciate your abilities. It is important to recognise that your view of things around you is based on how much you are kind to yourself and respect you have for yourself.

Stop catastrophizing

When you think that a bad situation is going to end up far worse than it actually is, you are catastrophising. In a way, you are blowing things out of proportion expecting worst out of life and out of many situations.

Scaring yourself with frightful thoughts makes situations worse than they are. Some do this when they are ill often visualising the worst. Some do this with their job. For instance, someone makes a remark at work, they think they are going to be fired. This leads to paralysing thoughts and leads to low self-esteem. Focus on your inner talk and match them with your desires and not with your fright.

When you are tensed and frightened, we shut off our energy. Take few minutes and allow the body and the mind to let go and relax. At any moment, practice taking few deep breaths. Appreciate yourself and affirm that you don’t have to go through life tense and frightened.

Stop negative self-talk

Negative self-talk refers to having negative image of yourself. Every time you say negative things to yourself you are appraising your negative self image. If you repeatedly think negative about yourself, you hold yourself back from having what you want. Very little you can do to better your situation with continued negativity.

Many negatively self-talk themselves out of success. They do this because of some difficulties or it is because they remember somebody talking down to them from their past. Every time a negative thought appears, switch it out with positive. Affirm that you deserve success and remove self-doubt and self-judgment. Unconditionally love yourself and begin with self-acceptance and self-love. Listen to your inner dialogue. Recognise negative self-talk and choose not to engage in it. Expel all thoughts of doubt and all lack of confidence.

“Relentless, repetitive self talk is what changes our self-image.” – Denis Waitley

Stop visualising negative outcomes

If you set out to do something, keep a solid picture of the completed work you are doing. You can create a clear, positive image that enhances a positive outcome. Formulate a mental picture of yourself succeeding. Never think of yourself failing. Doubting the reality of the mental image lowers your self-confidence and self-esteem.

Whenever a negative thought appears, deliberately cancel it out with a positive. Do not build obstacles in your imagination by expecting negative outcomes. Minimise your obstacles so as to eliminate them. Always picture yourself of succeeding no matter how badly things seem to be going at the moment. Mentally visualising and affirming your positives and emphasising them lets you rise out of any difficulty and leads to positive outcome.

Finally, fill your mind with peaceful and loving thoughts. Develop a loving attitude towards yourself. Feelings of self-love, self-appreciation and confidence depend upon the type of thoughts that habitually occupy your mind. Practice self-appreciation by making it a dominating habit. This develops confidence in your abilities regardless of what difficulties arise and you will be able to overcome them. Improved self-esteem disempowers your fears and insecurities.

To sum up—If you can be satisfied with yourself now, you can love and approve of yourself and begin to love and accept others as well.