self confidence

Increase Self Esteem

What Is Self-Esteem?

 

Self-esteem literally means to esteem, or respect, yourself. Having high self-esteem means that you have a positive image of yourself. Let's look at where such a positive self-image comes from.

 

In her classic book Celebrate Yourself, Dorothy Corkville Briggs makes a distinction between the real you and your self-image. She says that the real you is unique and unchanging. Most of your self-image-what you think is true about yourself-is learned. It is not necessarily accurate at all!

 

Where are your beliefs about yourself drawn from? Where did you learn them? If you think about it, you'll see that they came from:

 

·    What others said about you

·    What others told you

·    What others did to you

 

Your self-image is the result of all the messages you heard about yourself as a child. These messages added up to a set of beliefs about who you are. It may have nothing to do with who you really are.

 

For example, you may believe things like:

 

·    I'm not very smart.

·    I'm naturally passive.

·    Girls aren't any good at math.

·    I'm too old to start over.

·    All of the women in the Breski family become doctors.

·    I'm painfully shy.

·    The Hurleys never lie.

 

In addition to learning to believe certain things during our early years, there are certain situations that make most people feel inferior or lacking in self-esteem.

 

Some examples are:

 

·    Being criticized

·    Not being loved

·    Being rejected

·    Experiencing failure

 

What Low Self-Esteem Feels Like

 

In situations like these above, it is not uncommon to feel emotions such as:

 

·    Sadness

·    Inferiority

·    Anger

·    Jealousy

·    Rejection

 

Cognitive Therapy

 

Cognitive therapy is one of the most successful methods for helping people feel better about themselves. Cognitive therapists help depressed and anxious people feel better by identifying how faulty ways of thinking are making them feel bad. They believe that faulty thoughts cause us to feel bad, which makes us feel bad about ourselves.

 

Cognitive therapists call these faulty ways of thinking "twisted thinking." Cognitive therapy is a process where the client analyzes his or her thoughts and beliefs, and learns to substitute more healthy ways of thinking and believing. These therapists help their clients feel better in four steps: First, identify the upsetting events that cause bad feelings; second, record your thoughts about the event; third, identify the distortions in your thinking process; and fourth, substitute rational responses. When the client successfully completes these four steps, the client usually feels better about him- or herself.

 

Thinking the right kinds of thoughts is one way to feel good about yourself. Now let's talk about a second way to increase your self-esteem: by taking a look at your life environment and seeing whether it supports you feeling good about yourself. You may find that some nourishing elements need to be replenished. Here are some questions to ask yourself:

 

Do you have people in your life who:

 

    1.    Treat you with love and respect?

    2.    Encourage you to do and be anything you want?

    3.    Help you find out what you want to do, and how to do it?

    4.    Encourage you to explore all of your talents and interests?

    5.    Are thrilled when you succeed?

    6.    Listen to you when you need to complain?

    7.    Help you bounce back from failure without making you feel bad?

 

Take a moment to think about each of the items on this list. Note where your environment is providing adequately for you, and where it is lacking. This can give you clues to how to build your own self-esteem.

 

 

 

Strategies for Esteem Building

 

1.    Pay attention to how you are feeling from moment to moment. Tune in to what your five senses are experiencing. Take it down to the most basic level of "I feel warm right now," "I feel light-headed," "I feel a tightness in my stomach."

   

2.    Revisit your interests and goals. Make a list of things you'd like to do and learn. Today, take one step toward learning more.

   

3.    Spend less time with critical people and more time with those who appreciate you.

   

4.    Spend some time with yourself at the end of each day. Review what happened and how you were feeling. Write about it in a private journal.

   

5.    If you are feeling bad about yourself, consider finding a therapist to help you get your life on a positive track.

How To Build Self Confidence

Signs of Self-Confidence

 

Let's explore the meaning of self-confidence by taking a quiz. Read the list of statements below and check which ones, in your opinion, are signs of self-confidence.

 

1.    Admitting when you are wrong.

2.    Being flexible when change is needed.

3.    Talking about your accomplishments.

4.    Describing negative events in positive terms. For example, "We didn't make our target, but we sure learned a lot."

5.    Dressing to please yourself without worrying what others will think.

6.    Using a strong handshake.

7.    Using casual language in an effort to avoid sounding too "corporate." For example, "You guys did a cool thing."

8.    Speaking very fast.

9.    Smiling often.

10.    Learning new skills.

11.    Putting yourself down in order to sound humble.

 

 

 

Low Self-Confidence

 

Part of defining self-confidence is thinking about what low self-confidence is, what it looks and sounds like. Test yourself now. Circle the statements that convey a lack of self-confidence.

 

1.    "I may be wrong, but I think the answer is ten."

2.    "Thank you for the compliment. We're very proud of our work."

3.    "That was really stupid of me."

4.    "I forgot my business cards. I left them in the car."

5.    (Responding to a compliment) "Oh, I've had this dress for ten years."

6.    "I would have gotten into the program, but they don't like to take people with my background."

7.    "That sounds like a challenge. I'm sure we can figure out how to solve it, though."

8.    "I'm sorry to interrupt, but I wonder if I could have a minute of your time."

 

Compare your answers:

Answers to Quiz #1

 

Items 1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 9, and 10 are generally signs of self-confidence. The others could be seen as self-sabotaging behaviors.

 

Answers to Quiz #2

 

Items 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 8 communicate low self-confidence. (Of course, there are no 100% right answers, since many of the statements depend on context, tone of voice, cultural interpretation, and other factors.)

 

Where Does Self-Confidence Come From?

 

Self-confidence is not something people are born with. It results from a combination of factors:

 

1.    Learned skill: Self-confidence is a combination of skills, not just a single quality. People are not born with it or without it. It can be learned.

2.    Practice: Self-confidence comes from practice. It may appear to be spontaneous, but it isn't.

3.    Internal locus of control: Self-confidence results from what psychologists call an internal locus (central point) of control. This means that people who are self-directing, who accept responsibility for their own results, have greater self-confidence.

 

8 Self-Confidence Builders

 

There are many concrete, specific things you can do to feel more confident in challenging life situations. Make note of those that will help you develop your own sense of self-confidence.

 

1.    Follow your strengths. Self-confidence comes from being the best "you" possible. It doesn't come from trying to be someone else. It is the result of following paths like these:

    ·    Do what comes naturally.

    ·    Develop your talents.

    ·    Follow your convictions.

    ·    Express your own style.

2.    Plan ahead. Many people are surprised to hear that self-confidence comes from something as ordinary as planning. But think about it; let's say you are going on a job interview, almost always an anxiety-producing experience. When you are prepared, you feel more confident.

3.    Take action. Confidence comes from taking action. Break your challenge down into small steps and take that first step, no matter how small it seems.

4.    Study. The more you know about your subject, the more confident you will feel. In fact, the lack of self-confidence almost always stems from a lack of information. We've all had that sick feeling that we don't fully understand what we are talking about.

5.    Act the part. The following tips will help you begin to present yourself in a positive way.

    ·    Find a role model. Look for someone who is already successful in your field. Observe him or her and identify for yourself what behaviors convey self-confidence.

    ·    Look and act powerful. Watch people who create a powerful impression. It could be a TV anchor, a character in a movie, or a coworker. Imagine yourself behaving in a similar way.

    ·    Be aware of nonverbal behavior that detracts from presenting yourself with confidence. Ask for feedback from a trusted friend or watch yourself on videotape.

6.    Rehearse for success. One of the most important ways to boost your self-confidence is by rehearsing important conversations and presentations. You can never be too prepared. These ideas will help you practice so that you really understand your subject:

    ·    Manage your anxiety. Feeling anxious is normal when you are in a challenging situation. The key is learning to manage anxiety so it doesn't paralyze you or diminish your effectiveness.

    ·    Get organized. When your materials are prepared and well-organized, you will feel better about your ability to access them. Having information scattered in too many places makes you feel out of control and undermines your self-confidence.

7.    Persist. Self-confidence is the result of a lot of hard work. The process takes time. It has been said that success is 99% persistence and 1% talent.

8.    Enjoy your success. When you reach your goal, don't forget to give yourself credit for working hard. Be proud of what you've accomplished. Here are some ways you can do this:

·    Look in the mirror and say to yourself, "Good work. I'm proud of you."

·    Think of a way to reward yourself.

·    Tell others about your success.

·    Write yourself a letter or explore your accomplishment in your journal.

·    Draw a picture expressing your achievement.