Do you ever feel like you aren’t good enough?
Are you driven to achieve in order to prove that you’re enough?
The difference between healthy and low self-esteem
The word “esteem” means to regard favorably. Self-esteem is how you regard yourself. It’s your sense of self, how you rate yourself as a human being, how worthy you feel you are. Self-esteem refers to your acceptance of yourself and the value you place on yourself.
Healthy self-esteem exists when you possess a positive and realistic sense of who you are, understand your strengths, and like yourself despite your weaknesses.
On the other hand, when you have low self-esteem you are critical of yourself, focus on your negatives, and ignore your achievements. If this describes you, you’re not alone. Low self-esteem is a common challenge – regardless of age, background, or socioeconomic status.
Tracing low self-esteem to your childhood
Low self-esteem can often be traced back to childhood. It can be common if you come from a background where you were told you weren’t good enough, were made to feel unlovable, or suffered through a traumatic event.
If you experienced any of these things growing up, it’s possible that your desire for success is driven by low self-esteem. And you might not be aware of this or willing to admit it out loud, because the outside world views you as a confident and successful woman. This could make you uncomfortable admitting that you have fears or inner doubts.
When you stop long enough to be vulnerable and acknowledge what’s true, you may see that no matter how much you succeed, it’s never enough. You’re continuously striving for the next goal. And you may begin to realize that one of the reasons you are doing this is to prove something to the outer world.
If you’re wondering how I know this…
I’ve lived it. For my first 27 years, from the time I was born until a couple of years before he died, my father showed no interest in me. So, I was driven to achieve in my efforts to prove that I was good enough, lovable enough, and worthy enough for my father’s attention. And no matter what goal I accomplished, it wasn’t enough.
Of course, this made me highly successful in life. It also led me to experience burnout. And it taught me that childhood experiences can influence your level of self-esteem.
However, it’s not unusual to develop self-esteem issues in adulthood too. Any time you go through a difficult situation, it can affect the way you see yourself. For example, if you lose your job, go through a divorce or file bankruptcy, you may internalize this experience and believe it’s your fault… that you caused this bad thing to occur.
Yet regardless of whether your experience of low self-esteem stems from childhood or adulthood, I’ve learned that there’s a lot you can do as an adult to boost your confidence.
Below are twelve ideas that you can apply to your own circumstances to overcome low self-esteem. Use what resonates with you.
Build your self-esteem by embracing these tips
1. Set boundaries
Let others know how you wish to be treated. Remove yourself from relationships and situations that cause unnecessary stress and interfere with your well-being. Instead, develop stable and mutually supportive relationships. Surround yourself with positive people, including family and friends who are encouraging and appreciate you for who you are.
2. Learn to accept compliments
If you’re fortunate enough to have positive influences in your life, listen to them when they say you’ve done a good job. If you were undeserving of the praise, you wouldn’t be getting it. So, resist the urge to dismiss compliments. Instead, smile and say, “Thank you.” Accepting compliments will help you discover what you’re good at and strengthen your self-confidence.
3. Advocate for yourself
Ask for help when you need it. Be willing to say “No.” It’s natural to feel bad about yourself when you agree to do things you don’t want to do, because you’re disrespecting yourself. So refuse requests when you genuinely don’t want to do them. Give yourself the respect and compassion you deserve.
4. Prioritize yourself
Make your mental and physical health a top priority. Eat nutritious foods, exercise regularly, and sleep well. Treat your time like a precious resource. Plan your days and block time for the activities you love. Investing in yourself helps you to stay strong and maximize your potential.
5. Embrace your individuality
You’re much more interesting than the person you pretend to be. We develop the urge to conform in elementary school. But you’re not like everyone else. You’re unique. You’ll make more friends and have more influence if you respect your unique gifts and are willing to be yourself. Authenticity is the basis of true confidence.
6. Avoid “shoulding” on yourself
If you’re constantly telling yourself, “I should have done this” or “I should have said that”, you’re focusing on things that have already happened and you’re unable to change. Remember that self-esteem is a symptom of detrimental thinking habits. Anything said or done in the past is over. You only keep those things alive with your thoughts. Instead, plan for the future. Uplift your thinking and your self-esteem will rise as well.
7. Set reasonable expectations
Accept that human beings make mistakes. If you’re unwilling to accept anything less than perfection from yourself, you’ll feel discouraged when you inevitably make a mistake. Don’t let mistakes get you down. Remember that every mistake you make is a chance to learn and grow.
8. Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments
If your self-esteem is lacking, you might spend a lot of time focusing on the negative. Instead, acknowledge your accomplishments and allow yourself to be happy. It’s okay to be proud of yourself.
9. Make a list of all your best qualities
When you have low self-esteem, you focus on the things you dislike about yourself. Instead, write down your strengths, skills, talents, and positive personality traits. Taking some time to focus on your good qualities can have a very positive effect.
10. Avoid comparing yourself to others
It can be easy to get into a habit of comparing yourself negatively to other people. Instead, remember that you are unique. And know that your self-esteem comes from within. So, you can choose how you see yourself. Choose to see an attractive, thoughtful, intelligent, and caring person.
11. Use affirmations
Affirmations are great self-esteem boosters. They show your brain what you already know you can achieve. Read affirmations on subjects of your choice or write your own. Affirmations bring positive energy into the present moment.
12. Get a life coach or a spiritual counselor
These are professionals who empower you to deepen your relationship with yourself. They partner with you to create strategies that target your unique skills and gifts. They’re like a supportive friend, only better! Because they are experts, guiding you to enhance every aspect of your life on your journey toward success, so you can maximize your full potential, reach your desired results, and attain greater fulfillment. In this day and age, it is extremely common for any successful individual to have a coach or counselor guiding them, so there’s no need to be embarrassed about seeking one out.
Embrace, honor, and love yourself to healthy self-esteem
As I’ve already mentioned, there are many factors which can cause or contribute to low self-esteem. The key to overcoming your low self-esteem is to believe in your abilities and recognize the areas where you excel, so you can start feeling good about yourself again. The above tips will help you to achieve this.
As you build your self-esteem, you’ll make sound decisions and fulfill your goals with even greater ease. You’ll know with certainty that you are lovable, capable, and worthy of dignity and respect. And you will begin to love and accept yourself for who you are.
You will understand that self-care is a vital part of loving yourself, because you deserve to feel good about yourself. And as I mentioned earlier, investing in yourself helps you to stay strong and maximize your potential.
For ways to prioritize yourself with self-care, click here to claim your FREE gift, 23 of My Favorite Self-Care Activities That Take Less Than 15 Minutes. I hope this list supports you to honor yourself and block time each day to enjoy an activity you love.
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I hope you took some time over the last two weeks to think about a relationship in your life that has been suffering; that you’ve reflected on your memories of time spent with that person.
If you recall, I encouraged you to remove all judgment and consider only the positives that this connection brought to your life.
You may have completed my Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet to help you decide whether to let go with grace or take steps to restore that relationship.
If you’ve chosen to restore a relationship to a place of importance in your life and you’ve set new boundaries, it’s time to talk about how to embrace the path forward.
We’ll frame that path in the context of forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
For many of us, all the strain and added stress from the pandemic and a contentious election year transferred over to our relationships. The loss of face-to-face interaction during stay-at-home measures meant communication had to happen in new and challenging ways, like video, text, email, etc. Our messages and meaning may have gotten lost in translation. We may have felt misunderstood or unheard, and the other person may have felt that way too. And when frustrations boiled over, grace was not always extended.
All of this is understandable. The absence of social interaction has deeply affected relationships. To be able to embrace the path forward, we must first extend forgiveness for all missteps made during this time — to yourself and to the other person.
If we hope to restore a relationship, acceptance must follow forgiveness. You or the other person may have acted in ways that have created feelings of guilt or shame. Practicing self-love can be a powerful first step to overcome these feelings and move towards acceptance of yourself and the other person.
Moving forward, life will return to a version of normalcy. But it is helpful to acknowledge that things may never be the same for this relationship. In some cases, scars from past hurts will remain, but there may also be opportunities for deeper and more meaningful connections.
We must acknowledge the collective loss of connection we have all experienced. We’ve lost precious time together, whether it be family celebrations, life milestones, or normal social activities. The enjoyment we derive from these moments of connection cannot be underestimated. They are crucial to our overall quality of life.
Focusing on enjoying life is a great first step not only to reconnect with this person but to restore some sense of normalcy to your own life. Think about what it was you missed about the other person and relationship. What drew you to each other in the first place? What did you enjoy doing together? Maybe it was that weekly cup of coffee, a chat at the mailbox, or a morning dog walk together. Now is the time to rekindle those simple moments of enjoyment.
Embracing the Path Forward Through Human Connection
In time, we’ll resume some semblance of our past routines and day-to-day life.
Whatever that looks like, we will always have an innate human need for connection. And relationships are essential for our overall wellness.
Your social connections will come from existing relationships and any new ones you choose to cultivate. As for this particular relationship — it has suffered so it is fragile. Restoring it may not be easy, but it is possible when you practice forgiveness, acceptance, and enjoyment.
Before you get started, check in with yourself and your feelings. What is your general attitude as you consider restoration? Then click here to claim your FREE gift, A Checklist For Keeping a Positive Attitude, to help you maintain an optimistic mindset along the way.
Make an effort to stay open to the new things you might discover about yourself and the other person along the way. I wish you luck in your relationship repair.
Until next time, click here and sign up for my future articles to be delivered to your inbox.
The past year’s been difficult to say the least. Our day-to-day lives continue to be impacted by a deadly pandemic. Many of us have lost our livelihoods and loved ones.
Our faith in American democracy and its leaders has been tested as we continue to see what extreme divisiveness can do to a society.
The lack of contact, connection, and understanding has been hard on so many relationships. Whether you have one that’s suffered due to lack of contact or the realization that you don’t share quite the same worldview, this period has revealed a lot about personal relationships.
Perhaps you’ve been disappointed by a shift in a relationship that’s important to you…
Maybe you’re thinking that now that life is starting a return to “normal” and political temperatures are tamping down a bit, you’d like to direct some attention to restoring a relationship with a family member or friend. If so, you’re not alone…
The word “restore” keeps popping up lately. It’s a subject that’s been on my mind, maybe for you too.
So I thought we could spend this time in April focusing on how to restore relationships. That starts with evaluating the relationship that has suffered and determining if there is a path forward.
Restoring a Relationship: Is There a Path Forward?
There are many things that could have contributed to the fracturing of relationships over the last year or so…
Perhaps you stayed connected with a close friend through a monthly lunch date. Without that face-to-face connection, neither of you have really made an effort to stay in touch.
Maybe the differences in how you managed your health risk during COVID restrictions created a deep divide between you and a sibling.
Or maybe the thoughtful public policy discussions you used to enjoy with a friend have evolved over time into something you want no part of.
These are familiar examples of what’s been happening to relationships during these uncertain times.
In order to restore a relationship — whether it be with a coworker, friend, sibling, or other family member — first you need to determine if there’s a path forward. And if there is, how to go about easing back into a relationship that serves you both. Let’s go a little deeper.
At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to take stock of a relationship. We’ve had to decide whether that connection served either one of us and contributed to our growth and happiness.
And don’t get me wrong, variety is the spice of life. I believe surrounding ourselves with different people with unique perspectives, personalities, and experiences makes life interesting and fulfilling. Not to mention it’s one way we humans learn empathy.
But the unusual external stressors we have been experiencing may have identified things we didn’t see before. And depending on what they are, we may have some difficult decisions to make. We might need to ask ourselves if those differences add richness or opportunities for personal growth or do they detract from our happiness and well being. You’ll need to consider that carefully.
If you’ve determined that a relationship that has been damaged is important to you, that the person means more to you than whatever it is that divides you, it’s time to make a commitment to reconnect.
I encourage you to be the first to reach out in an effort to repair. But before you do, take time to center yourself. Consider all the positive memories you have of times together and decide that you’ll keep those interactions at the forefront of your mind. Appreciate all the things you have in common and whatever it was that brought you together in the first place.
To restore a relationship, it’s best for you to choose to stay in the present if you want to enjoy the relationship going forward. That will likely involve establishing new boundaries. For example, you might be making a conscious choice to only engage with the other person in ways that restore harmony to your relationship.
Test the new relationship boundary by planning time to enjoy a hobby together. Start reconnecting slowly and see where things lead.
Up Next: How to Restore a Relationship Part 2
Stay tuned for my next article which will explore how to embrace the path forward for a relationship you’d like to restore. It’s about learning to forgive, accept and enjoy.
Make sure to click here and sign up for my future articles so that you receive them in your inbox.
Until next time, I encourage you to think about the relationships in your life that have been suffering. Take time to reflect on your memories of time spent with that person. Remove all judgment and consider only what that connection brought to your life.
And to help you determine whether it’s a relationship worth restoring, click here now for my complimentary Let Go of What’s Holding You Back checklist and worksheet. This gift provides helpful tips for letting go of the things that cause struggle and overwhelm, thus allowing for more ease.
The checklist is a great reminder of what to let go of so you can accelerate greater freedom, flow, and fulfillment in your life. And the worksheet walks you through how to let go of the specific things that you feel you need to let go of, giving you the steps to do this. You’ll be able to let go of the past and move into a future that you have designed.