When we procrastinate or put off pursuing our goals for some reasons, our level of self-esteem could be cause. So, what is self-esteem? Self-esteem is what we believe of ourselves.
Self-esteem, to me, consists of our self-worth and our self-confidence. Our self-worth, i.e. how much we value our own achievements and ourselves as individuals. It is also how we perceive ourselves in comparison to others, i.e. where we see our own achievements or qualities in comparison to others’. Self-confidence is about how much do we believe in our own abilities to achieve whatever we want and that we will get there. There are of course lots of other definitions and you might wish to come up with your own definition of what self-esteem means to you.
Low and negative self-esteem can be debilitating; it holds us back from achieving our desired goals and from being happy in relationships with ourselves and others. Low self-esteem can seem like a downward spiral. Every experience is taken as evidence of the limiting belief and further undermines self-esteem. On the other hand, when you have high self-esteem you feel good about yourself, you feel you can achieve anything you desire and you have fulfilling relationships with others.
A lot of people think that self-esteem is something that is given and cannot be influenced. That is wrong. We are all in control of our self-esteem levels. And another myth about self-esteem is that it does not require maintenance. Well, guess what. It does!
What is your self-esteem level right now?
In order to take control our self-esteem levels we first need to understand what they are. Studies have shown that self-esteem levels are not necessarily the same across all areas of our lives, therefore my suggestion is to use the ‘wheel of life’ technique to assess your self-esteem level for each major area of your life.
Feel free to change the headings to headings that are meaningful to you. You may also wish to add more categories, if that works better for you. Take each area of your life in turn and assess your self-esteem level from 1 -10 (1 being very low, 10 being very high). You might also like to split self-esteem into self-worth (looking how you feel about your achievements so far looking back and right now) and self-confidence (right now and ability to achieve your desired goals). Once you have done, notice where the differences are. In which areas of your life do have high self-esteem and in which areas is it lower. Ask yourself what are doing differently in the areas where you have high self-esteem compared to area where you have low self-esteem?
Now you know what your current levels of self-esteem are, consider, what do you want your level of self-esteem to be?
You can use the same wheel of life that you have drawn and in different colour mark each area of your life, where you want your level of self-esteem to be. Then, pick one area where you feel that raising your self-esteem would make a big difference to you and decide where you want your self-esteem to be. When you have got that number, ask yourself
1. What do you need to do to get to your desired level of self-esteem?
And if the jump is to big, just consider what could you do to raise your self-esteem by even one point, and if that is too much start with half-point.
In case you are stuck at this point, there are two other questions you can ask yourself:
2. How do you measure your worth in this area of your life?
Or in other words what evidence would you need to satisfy yourself that you are worth more in this area than your current self-esteem score? What are you currently using as evidence? Is that still valid or useful? Review your measures for self-worth or the value you put on yourself, and for each measure that you feel is valid come up with at least one thing you can do over the next seven days to raise your self-esteem.
3. What are you saying to yourself about yourself, your worth, and value in this area?
Most people who suffer from low self-esteem in an area of their lives, have negative self-talk. Are your thoughts positive and encouraging or are you replaying all those ‘failures’ and little ‘embarrassments’ in your mind? If your thoughts are negative, I challenge to you find positive things about you in that area.
What is your self-esteem maintenance regime?
Now you have some actions to raise your self-esteem, it is important that you actually maintain and improve your self-esteem levels on a regular basis.
I assume you have skin care regime? Most women do. Think about it, would you go out without having gone through your skin care regime. Most women I know, only ever skip their skin care regime in a dire emergency. Most women also slightly change their skin care regime with the seasons, i.e. add an SPF face crème in the summer or a more moisturising face crème in the winter.
Your self-esteem regime should be like your skin care regime: regular, daily and readjusted on a regular basis.
As your skin care regime is often quite individual to you and your particular skin care needs, your self-esteem regime will also be individual to you. You know best what you need to maintain and raise your self-esteem. So for each area (and if that is too much at this point, then choose one area) let your creativity flow and create a self-esteem regime that works for you.
If you need something to start you off, here are two self-esteem regime elements that others found useful:
Make a gratitude and appreciation list before going to bed:
There just two questions to answer:
1. What am I am grateful for today?
2. What do I appreciate about myself today?
It does not take long, maybe 5 minutes and you will notice the changes in you and how you feel about yourself within days. Make sure to think of at least 5 things for each question and include at least 2 items for each question that pertain to your current area of focus for your self-esteem.
Draw up your self-esteem inventory:
This activity requires at least 1 hour of uninterrupted time and a few pages of paper. For each area of your life, write down your achievements ( remember to also add those that others appreciated, not just the ones you that you value), your strength, any compliments or positive feedback you received and your development (your improvements and your successes in overcoming any challenges). Make sure to list everything even the smallest thing. Review this inventory regularly. If you want to be really creative, make a mood board with lots of images and symbols or just use different colours for each category or area.
The importance of maintaining your self-esteem cannot be underestimated. Therefore, I urge you to take regular time for yourself to review your self-esteem levels and adjust your self-esteem to do whatever is necessary to raise or keep your self-esteem at your desired levels.
Do let me know, how you get on…… Enjoy.