Self Esteem is something we all know that we should have. Despite this, a large percentage of the clients that I see and the people I come across are dealing with some for of self esteem problem.
It’s important to understand that self esteem is not built over night. You don’t just wake up and magically have it one morning. It takes constant work, application, and positive thinking to truly develop a strong sense of self esteem.
No matter how hard we have worked to build our self-esteem, when life appears to be spiraling out of control self esteem crashes down. After it has crashed, it can be hard work and take a good deal of effort to get it back up. As such, the best way to improve self esteem is by not losing it to begin with.
Here are 5 things, in no particular order, that causes people to lose self esteem. These five things are best avoided if at all possible.
1: Your Own Thoughts
The worst thing, in my opinion, that we as people can do that will quickly destroy our self-esteem is our own negative thoughts regarding ourselves. Having these thoughts and not taking control of them is like a slow poison working to destroy. The thoughts that “I’m not good enough”, “Nobody will like me”, “My father was failure, I’ll be one too”, “Nobody respects the work or job I do”, “My family won’t love me if I can’t live up to my promises” and any variation of these is not only unhealthy, but many times unfair to other people!
The best way to deal with this is to catch yourself having such thoughts and immediately start a dialogue with yourself – where you are in control. For every negative thought, replace it by forcing yourself to first change the thought to a positive one and then adding a second one to it. So for example… “My family won’t love me if I can’t live up to my promises” becomes “My family will love me no matter what” and “My family is the most important thing in the world to me and I to them.”
2. The Past
This can be the evil cousin of your thoughts and sometimes the parents of your thoughts! Our past can shape us in many ways. When bad things happen it’s important that we allow ourselves to feel and acknowledge the pain. This is not only being human, but it’s also part of coping. Unfortunately, most of society doesn’t stop there. Most of society holds on to the past. They keep reliving it in their mind. As such, they keep forcing themselves to feel the pain over and over. This then leads to fear which many times leads to some of the thoughts previously mentioned.
To overcome this it’s important to treat each failure and each painful circumstance from the past as an isolated individual event. To ask ourselves, “What am I learning from this” and “How can I use this information in the future?” is fundamentally important to integrating the experience into the soul. Most importantly, we have to give ourselves permission to stop suffering and start living again!
3. Other People
Like it or not, some people are just toxic. They may not mean to be, but they are. All of us can have our toxic moments too! This isn’t about us, however, it’s about understanding that when we are around people that constantly do and say negative things, our self-esteem will end up suffering. Everyone knows what I mean when I speak of other people saying negative things about us and the things in their lives, but any of the following actions can also be detrimental:
- Poor Me Attitudes
People who engage in these actions are deprived of energy and or what they believe (on a subconscious level) they need. To get the energy or obtain the need these behaviors end up coming out. The problem is, they aren’t healthy behaviors and if you’re around them for an extended period of time your self-esteem will end up suffering. Learn and work to surround yourself more with positive people and behaviorally good people and this won’t be a problem.
4: A Negative Environment
Very similar to the previous mentioned, but yet different. Here we aren’t talking so much people themselves, as much as the actual environment. Some environments are just toxic to our self-esteem.
Especially note worthy are dog-eat-dog work environments. Any environment where people are forced to compete with each other, but not in the name of fun or enjoyment, tends to be unhealthy. Competition is part of life. There’s a big difference, however, in competing for yourself and in competing because you are forced to in order to survive. Also, beware of environments where there is always fighting, criticizing, and so forth occurring.
If you must be in these environments, attempt to limit yourself on how long you are there and always have something positive you can bring your mind back to. For example, a positive book. A friend that you can call or text that you know will be available.
5: Fear of Change
I don’t know when we became a society that so hates and fears change as much as we do now. It’s almost as if we are taught these days that change is bad and best avoided. Perhaps it has always been this way. I do know that this is a very unhealthy attitude. People who are unwilling to change and embrace change typically end up feeling like their lives are falling apart when change forces itself upon them. Instead of seeing better opportunities, people tend to see more devastation and start thinking how much worse their life is now going to be. Instead of having hope, people now despair. Change is a good thing, yet the majority hate it. Why? Because it is uncomfortable! Because it is unknown! Because there is fear – a fear that likely comes from one of the above mentioned points!
The thing is, when we learn to see change as growth and opportunity and not something to be uncomfortable with or that is scary, we embrace life in a whole different way. A way that enables us to understand and remember that we are more in control of our lives than we (and many times others) allow us to believe. So don’t be afraid of change. Embrace it. Be passionate about it.
I hope by now you are able to see some of the stumbling blocks that prevent healthy self-esteem from being developed. All people have a need for acceptance, praise, and recognition. When a person lacks in these life departments they usually end up living life in a negative manner because their self-esteem has bottomed out. It is basically a given that those with high-self esteem excel at most everything they do.