You know your friend, the one who appears to have it all and yet their Facebook posts scream their self-esteem is in need of a pick-me-up? Or perhaps, you feel this way…you present yourself one way on social media and then feel in shambles on the other side of the computer screen. Insomuch that if you run into an old acquaintance at Target, you beeline in the opposite direction to avoid their line of vision. Heaven forbid they see the real you in place of the online version. This article will help you identify self-esteem struggles before you lose yourself to the critical thoughts of your inner & outer worlds and regain your sense of self.
1. How can you tell if your self-esteem has sent you a friend request?
You no longer feel comfortable in public
As you’re are about to head out the door, you quickly think what type of mask or disguise can help you escape from your present reality. There is a feeling of disconnection, almost like a foreigner in your once comfortable environment.
You are unable to find joy in being YOU
Not only do you feel like a foreigner but you no longer find any joy in being you. It can be a scary place to have so much dislike for yourself that your daily interactions are being transformed by how you are feeling on the inside. Is there one thing you find joyful about yourself today, in this very moment?
Turning to outward means (food, drug of choice, sex, relationships, retail “therapy”, etc.)
So you cannot find joy in yourself…enter other means to provide fulfillment, comfort, companionship, escape from deep emotions, self-soothing, to medicate or numb, to bandaid, etc. While these once provided a temporary escape, they seem to no longer be meeting your needs. You return right back the reality that your feeling low, alone and desperate for a change. These outward methods once served their purpose but now you feel a greater calling. One that tells you, it’s time, time to unfriend this low self-esteem.
2. How do you unfriend low self-esteem?
Identify your Frenemies
Take a good inventory of your posse (family, friends, co-workers, etc.). Do these folks build you up or tear you down in an effort to bolster themselves? While we want honesty in our connections, we also want delivery of such communication and actions to be in a loving manner, for the benefit of boosting your existing strengths along with recognizing areas for improvement. Having people that are there for you in times of adversity and pain offer you a chance to seek refuge in a good support system in place of a frenemy who is not helping your self-esteem. Looking for supports that are healthy in their own approach to life can be of great benefit to weeding out the unhealthy ones. If your crowd is not up to par, it may be time to say “Bye Felicia”!
On any given day, I would be curious to hear how you speak to yourself and how you treat yourself overall. If you have been feeling low on the totem-pole for self-esteem, where everybody else is stacked high above yourself, I would be willing to bet that you have not befriended yourself. Rather, you are treating yourself like less-than, unworthy and unloveable. How did this pattern happen?
Unhelpful Conditioned Patterns
Starting to recognize how far back this pattern began, is a great first step! Trace it back to earlier times when you have heard these messages of being less-than. It may not be from anybody other than yourself. Try to be curious as you look for what evidence (or feedback) has supported or perpetuated this unhelpful conditioned pattern. If there is no evidence, look closer into the first time you remember feeling this way. We cannot go back in time but we can move forward in the future and retrain our brain to love ourselves without conditions.
3. What is the best way to rekindle your self-esteem?
It is time to look for all the strengths you embody and begin to hone in on using them or building new ones. You are capable of incredible things. Caution: This exercise may elicit joy…beware of good things to come!
Core Beliefs or Values Inventory
Along with rediscovering your strengths, you can look into your core beliefs or values. What guides your very being? Is your compass pointed to your North star? Are there things that you know are concrete versus more fluid? There is an opportunity to zoom into your core and light the fire in your furnace to start moving forward with an improved self-esteem.
Like anything else, you need to practice! Practice being kind to yourself, recognizing unhelpful patterns and utilizing your core (values, beliefs, strengths)! This mental muscle will take a little time to build up, but when it does you will feel the empowerment of a healthy self-esteem.
4. What is the best method for uncovering new self-esteem?
Embrace the Change – new is not always bad!
Change can be a challenge for anybody. It may feel uncomfortable at first but once you start, you will soon start to see how your newly formed routines are now daily practices. Will you still have bad days? Absolutely! The idea is to minimize these days not expel them completely while also taking back the control of your life.
Approach fear with curiosity – questioning in place of running from it!
If you are starting to feel fear creep in, take a deep breath and ask yourself why you are feeling that way. Continue to peel back the layers by asking “why” and uncover new dialogue with yourself from a curious mindset in place of a fearful one. Fear can lead to paralysis while curiosity can lead to exploration and new growth.
Prepare for a new outlook on life – looking forward to the present and future!
As you start each new day, be prepared to look forward to life again. You may start to feel more hope about the present but also with what lies ahead in the future. The glass beside you that once was half-empty appears half-full and is eagerly awaiting to be overflowing with new found joy. Be intentional about looking forward!
Self-Esteem (internal) can translate into self-confidence (external)
This is a BOGO! All the hard work you do to improve the internal, can be transformed into external self-confidence. What a deal and the cost is minimal. You can improve self-esteem with a little elbow grease by identifying why it’s not there and then taking action to improve it by connecting with your authentic self. Not only will you feel a difference but those around you may start to pickup on your rekindled sense of self.
Follow these 4 specific steps TODAY to rekindle your friendship with good ol’ self-esteem:
Recognize your self-worth
Discover your destructive patterns and work on them
Unveil your strengths
Get to it! P-R-A-C-T-I-C-E…a day at a time!
© Erica Faulhaber 2016 – This blog may be shared or reprinted as long as the information is unedited and the author bio, including contact information is printed along with the blog.