At the Kentucky Derby, only the jockey looks behind to see how far away the competition lies. The horse just keeps looking ahead and running – forward – no looking back.
Imagine if the horse kept looking back at the competition – the horse’s attention would be split between what’s happening behind him and what’s happening ahead. Do you think the horse looking forward or the horse looking back is likely to win the race? Intuitively, we know the answer – the horse looking forward and focusing on the win!
Poor self-esteem is much like being the horse who is constantly looking back generating second guessing and poor focus.
It robs you of time you could be spending accomplishing your goals – that’s if you ever believed you could accomplish goals and set some. Oh, yes, setting goals can also be a problem because you just never know when someone will tell you that your goal is silly, unattainable, or some such story and you’ll drop it like a hot potato no matter how much you wanted it. . Poor self-esteem robs you of the full joy of accomplishment because, heck, you can find tons of example of people doing more, better, faster or get the accolades. If someone is not noticing your accomplishments, you think they aren’t worthwhile.
Relationships are difficult too – someone with low self-esteem is needy – always looking for validation through someone else. People haven’t got that kind of time and energy to support someone so needy – they’re trying to keep their own heads above water! And the people attracted to your energy also bring with them their own negativity further compounding the issues you face. You want help but you can’t. They want to help but they don’t know how and it makes them feel very uncomfortable to be in the presence of someone so fragile.
It’s up to you – only you — and that’s one heck of a responsibility – only you can do it for you – since you don’t know what self-esteem even feels like – what do you do? How do you get there?
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is simply how you feel about yourself – in a good way, that is – you have confidence and everything about you feels good to you.
If you feel good about yourself and have confidence in your own counsel, then you plan and forge ahead with your plans regardless of what others have to say. You may adjust your course of action based on new learning from different sources, but the path is always forward.
Lacking self-esteem, on the other hand, has a person looking back constantly. What does it mean? It means that you are never really sure of what to do next and it stops you in your tracks. Why? Because you listen to this person and that person and the tv and the internet – you get lost.
There’s never really a path followed. The worst part – because there is no path to follow because of indecision, you feel worse and worse and worse about yourself. You may be working very hard – likely harder than anyone else around you. You may be spending thousands and thousands of dollars on education, courses and counseling. The results are less than stellar.
Why? Because the reasons for working hard or spending all that time and money aren’t defined. You’re trying to please everyone and, in the end, you please no one, not even yourself. Your life is a wreck! You look around one day, time has elapsed and your world is empty.
What Can Be Done?
No matter what age you are, it’s never, ever too late to finally please yourself.
Yes, it’s true – it’s not easy to undo a pattern of not listening to yourself.
The good news is that, the longer you are lacking self-esteem, the readier you are to change.
You know what you’ve been doing hasn’t worked despite the enormous amount of money, time and energy you’ve spent chasing this and that and that and that – all based on what others told you – not on what you wanted.
Of course, the sad truth is you always knew what you wanted but you thought others knew better what you “should” want.
Build Every Day
And Learn To Listen to No One Except Your Inner Voice – even if you think that inner voice is nuts!
First, make sure you connect with birds, trees, grass and flowers – go outside a lot – a lot – be with yourself and take pen and pad with you.
Second, while outside, rain or shine, feel good – that’s all you have to do – learn to feel good. It’s a tough slog for someone who has lived with poor self-esteem for a long time. The mind’s tendency is always to look at what’s bad which makes you feel bad.
Write down what feeling good feels like.
Think of yourself and feel good.
How? Think of something you like about yourself – say, your hair. Think about all the things you love about your hair – write them all down – love it – love your hair – wallow in the feeling of loving your hair. If you feel like it, continue with other things you like about yourself but don’t let that little “gremlin” pop up in your mind to say things to you like, “Who are you kidding?”, “What difference will this ever make?”, “Yes, but think of these things wrong with you?” . . . . Stop the gremlin in its tracks – stay focused on the good things about yourself.
There’s a reason you have poor self-esteem – you think poorly of yourself! Everything about you is bad, awful, terrible, worthless, etc. etc. etc. though you hope and dream it could be different.
You look for feeling good about yourself in someone else. No one can give you that feeling – you’re the only one that has that power!
Why? Because you’ve been programming yourself for years to think of yourself as defective, undeserving, rotten to the core! The voices of all those people who have entered your life’s path telling you to change that, correct this, learn that, you can’t do it, etc.
Isn’t it logical to reverse poor self-esteem and think well of yourself, you need to focus on your particular individual strengths, abilities, capabilities, qualities, nature, and a whole host of other positives.
Believe me, there are hundreds more positive things about yourself than there are negative. Accept the negative but focus on the positive – use your time and energy to augment the positive – period! To help you visualize this – think of a baby – does a baby cry? Yes. But a baby also smiles, laughs and makes other people good about themselves because a baby feels so good about being just who they are – they don’t know any different! They haven’t been programmed by the world around them yet!
What you’ll find is that people will start smiling at you for no reason – there’s a different energy emanating from you – not overnight but eventually. You’ll be saying no when before you would have said yes and hated every minute of fulfilling your promise. Slowly, people will come into your life who support you – total strangers who have a special message for you to receive – your life – your whole life will change – ever so slowly – ever so deliberately as you continue to focus on the positives – every single life on earth has positives even the worst of the worst.
Third, start small. Think of a recipe you’d like to cook or a class you’d like to take. Do it. Relish each and every step of the accomplishment – if it’s a class, savor the fun of registering for the class, attending the first session, meeting new people and learning something you’ve always wanted to learn. When the class is over, savor the experience. So it is with absolutely everything you do every single day.
Fourth, start a journal. For those who have never had a journal, it seems goofy. I know. I felt that way too – writing to yourself. It’s a good conversation and believe me when I say, eventually, you’ll look forward to it every day. Don’t go cheap either – buy yourself a beautiful journal – beautiful! It’s a symbolic reminder that you value yourself.
Fifth, begin other types of daily journals.
- A gratitude journal – write everything you are grateful for that day
- An accomplishment journal – what did you accomplish today which has made you proud? These are earth shattering accomplishments – maybe you cleaned out a drawer you’ve been wanting to do for a long time and organized it or you got up on time and felt relaxed the rest of the day or you finally wrote an email you’ve been wanting to write for a while. Some accomplishments will be small, some not so small and some downright huge – they are all important!
- Successes – how did you feel success today? Every single day, we all have success in our lives. People with poor self-esteem have learned over the years to focus only the bad and the ugly – the mistakes they’ve made, the poor results of a task performed, the person who screamed at them or the faux pas they at a meeting. To reverse that trend, get into a new habit – focus only on the successes. How does that feel? You’ll see the feeling will be awkward at first and your brain’s tendency will want to revert back to the “terribles” – just get back on track to your successes.
Every day – it’s every day for the rest of your life – concentrate on the positives of the you that came to this earth to share your wonderful talents and gifts – just you is enough – for anyone.
Lastly – two little words – repeat them to yourself all day long, every day – I AM – two words – – I AM – no adjectives – no add on – feel how good that feels!
Lorraine Arams – Ask about my workshops – see http://www.onconctractonly.com and find my books on Kindle –
Here’s some inspiration for you: