Before you get to any of the steps, you need to know one thing. You can’t read this and gain self-esteem. Self worth is not something you can achieve for yourself by reading an article, a book, or watching a video.
It comes from taking action.
It comes from doing the inner work necessary to clear the negative thinking patterns you have developed and then stepping out of your comfort zone and using the unique talents and gifts you have inside. Even if you don’t feel not good enough… yet.
You might believe you don’t have any gifts to share. The truth is we all have gifts…not just some of us; all of us. Self- esteem starts to build when you use those gifts to provide something good in the world. You need to work through the fear and the self-sabotage and start doing to make things happen.
The rift lies in the fact that when you are suffering from low self-esteem, it feels impossible to take risks and to “put yourself out there.” Remember the sports shoe commercial that said, “Just Do It’?” Well, that does not apply to those of us for whom self-esteem doesn’t come naturally.
You first need to change the thoughts making you have the perception you are not good enough, smart enough, attractive enough, or talented enough. Remember, our daily thoughts create our long-term beliefs.
If you are anything like I was, your daily thoughts about yourself were not exactly loving and encouraging. Berating yourself continually with these thoughts actually forms neuro pathways in your brain that create the repeating cycle of failure and prevents you from living the life you were meant to live.
Here are some steps you can take to change your untrue beliefs about yourself, to start taking action, and to work towards building healthy self-esteem:
1 Forgive Yourself
You may at some point have found a way to hone in on all of the wrong you think you did and ignore none of the right. T he truth is there is no right or wrong. There are only lessons you need to learn along the journey of becoming the best version of yourself.
All the things you call “mistakes” were just decisions you made when you weren’t fully aware of who you really are. There are several reasons why you do this, most of which are unconscious. Instead of beating yourself up, just learn the lesson.
Learn it. Move on. Become aware of who you really are without all the behaviors that don’t serve you anymore; then truly forgive yourself for the times when you didn’t know better. You won’t be able to move forward until you do.
2 Forgive Everyone Else
One thing I have learned is I am not on this earth to look at someone else and say “You did this to me. You hurt me. You, You, You!” I am on this earth to look at myself in every relationship with another human being and see what I needed to learn from it.
Instead of being angry, ask yourself, “What wounds did that person bring up in me and how can I heal them?” It’s not really about the other person; it is about you. That other person is just a mirror of what you believe about yourself on some level. So forgive that person and give thanks for the pain they brought you. Pain is the biggest catalyst for positive change, if you choose it to be.
3 Make One Healthy Self-Loving Decision at a Time
Changing thought and behavior patterns you have had your whole life may feel a little overwhelming. Start with ONE decision at a time. You can start to practice this each time you are faced with any situation of what, when, or how you are going to do something. It can be any situation in your life, from how you are going to treat another human being, a work dilemma, or even a choice to eat something healthy versus grabbing junk food.
Before you rush in and do something out of habit you will regret later, STOP. Ask yourself, “Will this choice take me in the direction I want to go? Does this decision reflect changing my life for the better as my top priority?” Then make the decision, and take the action you know will move you to a better place.
Eventually you’ll get there… one step at a time.
4 Be Vulnerable
The difference between people who are successfully living their lives the way they want to and those who aren’t is not that one is more talented or capable than the other. The thing that distinguishes those who are successful in their personal and professional lives is they have the ability to be vulnerable. They allow themselves the space to be imperfect.
Those with low self-esteem are usually devastated and end up face down on the carpet for months when they experience one failure, mistake, or setback. The prolonged negative thinking about what you did “wrong” just keeps you in that energy and doesn’t allow you to move on.
I don’t know of any successful person who hasn’t experienced so-called “failures” in professional or personal situations. Those who know how to pick themselves up, dust themselves off, process the bad feelings, and then let it go are the ones who end up where they want to be.
5 Find Your Passion
What lights you up? What activity, interest, work, hobby, or sport makes you feel alive? If you don’t know, start trying things. Join a group, do some research, and/or take a class. Find something that sets you on fire with passion, and start incorporating more of it into your life.
As you do this, you will start to FEEL better, THEN the positive experiences you are longing to have will start to manifest in your life. It’s not the other way around.
6 Find Your Peeps
I was listening to a call-in advice radio show in which a woman was complaining to the host about how she felt drained around most of her friends and co-workers. The people she spent most of her time with were always focusing on the negative and bringing her down.
What was the host’s advice? Find new people… as soon as humanly possible.
It may be difficult to let go of some people in your life who you know are not interested in growing and fully developing, but the alternative is to stay right there with them. It may even mean you have to spend some time alone until you find the people that will add to your life, instead of take away from it.
Find people who relate to you and support you in being who you are… instead of having to pretend you are someone else. This is one of the most important things you can do to feel great about yourself.
7 Pat Yourself on the Back
If you kept reading this all the way to number seven, than you want to look at yourself and make changes on a deep level. Do you know how many people aren’t even willing or able to take that step?
Give yourself credit for the wiliness to do the hard work it takes to grow and develop, even if you haven’t done anything other than starting to think about it yet.
You really do deserve a pat on the back for that, but don’t wait for someone else to give it you… give it to yourself.
Maureen Keyte is a Certified Personal Coach and Professional Writer with a passion for helping others through life transitions in order to become the best versions of themselves. Her writing has been published in several regional and national print and online publications. She is also a grant and marketing writer for non-profit agencies and businesses that focus on empowering women and young girls. Contact – Website – Facebook – LinkedIn – Pinterest – Twitter
Photo Credit – ashleyamos