Tag Archives: low self-esteem
Low self-esteem and lack of confidence will definitely put you on a downward spiral. But don’t despair. These three strategies will help boost your confidence and raise your spirits.
Confidence Builder #1: Make a Dependable Skills Inventory
You have strengths that are dependable through your life. In other words, these strengths are always there for you, even if they have lain dormant for a while. This exercise helps you to identify these qualities and make an inventory of them, which you can access in times of crisis when you need a confidence boost.
- Think of times in your past when you have done something you are proud of, even if these seem insignificant.
- List at least three. Next to them list the qualities, or dependable strengths, that they show you possess.
Confidence Builder #2: Keep a “Three Good Things Diary
Being self-critical can become a habit. Keeping a three-good-things diary is a way of developing kinder, more helpful ways of thinking. In fact, focusing on positives not only increases confidence, it also improves health.
- Include all kinds of actions and tasks. Avoid dismissive thinking, such as “Anyone could have done that.” Don’t take things for granted, such as “But I had to cook the dinner anyway.” Remember, it is the ordinary, not the extraordinary, you are looking to notice.
- It helps to think how you might describe a good friend who had performed the same action.
Confidence Builder #3: Make a 1% Change
Rather than try to push past fears and insecurities when making a change, start small. By making small changes to your behavior, you can begin to test out what your underlying beliefs might be so you can eradicate them.
- Identify one thing you do currently that you would like to change. Ask yourself, “What is that smallest change I can make to that behavior? For example, if you always stay late for work, could you go home on time just one day a week?
- It can help to think about someone who is the opposite of you in terms of the behavior. What would it be like to take one step towards being more like that person?
Use these strategies to feel more confident, and I guarantee you’ll find yourself on an upward spiral.
Source: Psychologies Magazine, April 2013, pp. 64-65.
Do you find yourself worrying about whether your thoughts are positive or negative? If so, you are not alone. Sometimes we create undo stress by trying too hard to be positive. It’s sage advice to select an interpretation of an event that will boost your wellbeing, but what if you just can’t find that upward spiral no matter how many times you try to focus exclusively on the positive. And what about affirmations? Have you repeated your mantra until you’re blue in the face only to find you are still feeling blue? What’s going on here?
One answer appears to lie in your self-esteem. For those of you with low self-esteem, it turns out that repeating affirmations tends to make you feel worse. For example, if you repeat “I am a lovable person,” you end up feeling worse because it makes you more aware of the gap between the affirmation and your opinion of yourself. Affirmations are not designed to boost your self-esteem. Affirmations can only take root in soil that is primed. If you find out that affirmations prove unhelpful, this is a sign that you need to spend more time releasing habitual thoughts that are negative and destructive before the seeds of positivity can take root.
Another possibility is that you are fear-focused. If you tend to fret and worry, you may be draining your resources needed to prime the pump of positivity. Dennis Waitley, in his book Seeds of Greatness, describes a study conducted by the University of Michigan. The study proved that 60% of our fears are ungrounded, 20% are about things that have happened and are beyond our influence, and 10% are about minor matters that make little difference in our lives. That leaves 10%. While these fears may be real and justifiable, even in this category the majority are based on events that we can’t change. Waitley suggests that if you concentrated on the 2% of your fears that are real and changeable, and stopped dwelling on the rest, you could easily find solutions for these situations. As he puts it, “Stop stewing and start doing.”
So, if you’re finding that positive thinking and affirmations just aren’t cutting the cake, it’s time for action. Here are some tips to get you up and moving in a positive direction:
- If you suffer from low self-esteem, focus on identifying and releasing your negative patterns. Check out the free chapter from my book, POWER Optimism: Enjoy the Life You Have…Create the Success You Want, on the store page of my website (click here) to get started.
- If you are a constant worrier, identify those fears that you can do something about. Commit to take action. The next two tips will help get you moving.
- Don’t wait until you want to do something. The truth is you don’t need to feel motivated to get going. You just need to go. Have you been putting off exercising or spring cleaning waiting to feel more motivated? Rather than waiting to feel energized to do something, do something with the expectation that you will feel more energized as a result of the action.
- In the words of the late Japanese psychotherapist Shoma Morita, “Be the best imperfect person you can be, and get started on those things you want to accomplish before you die.” In other words, even if you have low self-esteem (or any other label by which you negatively describe yourself), begin taking action now. You don’t have to wait to feel positive before you an be positive.
Your upward spiral awaits. Stop worrying about thinking positively and start focusing on positive action instead. We know that thoughts, feelings and actions are all inter-related. So, if you’re finding that you can’t think your way to positive feelings, don’t despair. Actions work just as well!