A person with low self-esteem, by definition, cannot be happy – because this person does not consider himself worthy of happiness. This means that his life is not so bright and saturated, as it could be. Psychologist of Passion.ru tells how to improve your own self-esteem, thereby improving your quality of life.
In consumer psychology by referring to low self-esteem it is meant the bad opinion of oneself, the judgment of oneself as an unworthy or incapable of anything human.
In human consciousness high and low self-esteem has the same form of duality, as the idea of good and evil. Though it is not what’s important if the self-esteem is high or low; it is the fact whether it is adequate.
High self-esteem by itself is not an absolute value, if it does not correspond to the real circumstances and / or subjective possibilities of the individual.
Situational self-esteem can be low if a person knows, for example, about the limitations of any of his powers. There is no person who would be competent in everything, so to give yourself a bad score sometimes is normal.
The most important thing is to find out when working with self-esteem – it is exactly what you think about as low or high, and how it affects your productivity, your attitude towards yourself and your lifestyle.
Let me explain it in more detail. For example, you can evaluate yourself as an inept chess player – so your chess self-esteem is quite low. You can consider it a trifle, which has no fundamental significance for you, or, conversely, a very important aspect that is crucial to your attitude.
Here the adequacy is just the very important thing. If, despite the low value of the area in which you are a low rate, you grieve long about your incompetence, while seemingly you do not have anything to worry about, we can speak about the general low level of assessment of yourself as an individual.
How Do You Know What Your Self-Esteem Is?
How to determine the level of self-esteem?
What is included in your low self-esteem?
First, determine in which areas you have low self-esteem.
Usually it is one or two very specific areas – for example, relationships with others, relationships with the opposite sex, or public speaking.
Try to further define this area: in a relationship with what people do you notice a low self-esteem? In what situations is it manifested? Etc.
What are the words you say to yourself about your low self-esteem?
A common form of treatment to their low self-esteem of the individual is the depreciation of himself, belittling, swearing. Instead of just being upset if a quarterly report is poorly released or there was a fail in a conversation with a colleague, and try to fix it, a person with low self-esteem is accepted to blame himself.
Sometimes it is obvious to the mind, and you can clearly hear your inner monologue. In this case, it will be easier to understand, what exactly you criticized yourself for, and what you require from yourself.
Sometimes it is not obvious. You can greatly upset and feel a pain or despair. In this case, try to “voice” your feelings and understand what you feel, if something does not work the right way, how you treat yourself, how you call yourself at this moment or what you call other people who are like you.
What is your self-criticism about?
Each sentence, by which we criticize ourselves, contains 3 elements. The first element is bad behavior (state). For example, when we say to ourselves: “Again, you have that useless chattering” – bad behavior is the inability to keep quiet when you need it (or inability to talk about what you need).
The second element is good behavior (state). In this example, good behavior is the ability to remain silent, to hold back when you need to (or ability to converse properly).
Thus, cursing ourselves, emphasizing our meanness, we always point on how to behave and how not to behave.
And there is a third element. This is the figure that directly scolds or criticizes. Of course, we are the ones who criticize ourselves. However, the criticism is a digested, introjected element of treatment that the child takes after the adults.
Initially, the little man does not know how to scold and criticize himself, he learns that from adults. With age, the adult voices in his head are merged as if one of his own voices, which is scolding himself in every way for all that is possible.
When we hear someone else’s voice, we can treat it critically, reflect to it, listen to it or not. But when we hear our own inner voice, we do not have a reason not to trust it, because it is us. More than that, you can get rid of another person, but you cannot get rid of yourself.
These three elements are somewhat reminiscent of the famous triad of Eric Berne, the famous psychologist, author of the books “The people who play games” and “Games People Play” – Child, Adult, and Parent.
Now let’s move from theory to practice and see how things are going with the self-criticism particularly for you, and do this diagnostic and transformational exercise.
- How do you usually criticize yourself? What words, phrases, affect your self-esteem, humiliate it? Write them down.
- Consider carefully every phrase. What bad behavior does it indicate? What good behavior does it prescribe?
- Go back to the bad behavior pointed in the criticizing phrase. Try to portray this behavior. How do you usually do it?
- If the criticizing phrase were not said by you, then who could say it, appealing to you? What might be the speaker’s gender, age, appearance, social status? In what a tone of the voice he would have said it? Try to portray, show this person. Whom does he resemble you?
Stay this person for some time, play it, criticize, show the others how to live and how to behave. What is the strength of this man? Why is he right? Feel like changing your body sensations, emotional background. What useful things you can take from this man? What you do not like about him, what does not fit?
- Now go back to the good behavior pointed in the criticizing phrase. Try to portray this behavior. Play, draw the desired behavior or condition. Do you like it?
- If you like good behavior, continue to do so. Examine it, get access to this state, expressing its voice, movement, body, visualizing it. Remember this condition.
- Refer to this state to yourself, showing bad behavior. Give yourself advice on how you can avoid this behavior; how you can behave the way you want.
- Refer to the criticism of the person. Ask him, what can help you to act as you like. Ask him to give you advice. Perhaps it’s simply time to leave for the criticizing figure.
- If you do not like the good behavior, decide for yourself how you want to actually work, what behavior would fit. Remember the power of criticizing the figure of 4 points. Use it to do what you want, claim the right to act according to your desires and needs.
- If you do not like the good behavior, try to do one more thing. Realize what you do not like, and speak it out loud. Think about it: maybe something in the prescribed behavior is useful? Perhaps, in some situations it can rescue you?
Now tell me, how you want to act, which way it is right to act. Look for a form of behavior or action that you would really like.
Change the criticizing phrase said by the criticizing figure fully or partially. For example: “I always say what I think is necessary.” The criterion for the correctness of the new sentence should be a sense of joy, ease or celebration.
It is important that you find this new phrase that would resonate with your own impulse to action and have relied on your “wants”. Try different options; keep looking until you find the way you want to feel what you want to be and how you want to act.
Where To Find Help?
What resources can you rely on?
Low self-esteem is formed over the years; it’s not a matter of one situation or one event.
Remember the phrase: “If you call someone a pig 100 times, he’ll oink on the 101st”? Similarly high self-esteem is formed. So if you want to raise your self-esteem, be ready for a long work.
And make a stock of things that can inspire you and support you, if it is difficult or if you lose heart. This step is mandatory in any work.
Write down on a piece of paper all these:
- your talent,
- your advantages and strengths,
- your achievements.
Write down what you get support from in your life, what you rely on, what helps you withstand the difficulties and not break due to the problems.
What other resources, internal and external, do you have in your life? Perhaps this is one of the relatives, of people who have been with you in your life, who loves you and believes in you.
Take a look at the future of the next few years. What would you like to be? Pay attention to detail, this way: what you look like, with whom and where you are working, to whom you talk, what and who is around you, what you are doing. This image is also your resource and can inspire your self-esteem.
Write down on a piece of paper all your weaknesses (insults can not be used, you can not write, “I’m stupid”, as it is a degrading phrase) and reformulate them so that they become your virtues or steel direction for development. For example, “I have long thought before I answer” – “I always think carefully about what to say.”
Use your sense of humor in work on your self-esteem
Laughter has an enormous healing potential and elevates the spirit when hope is lost. If at any point you find yourself in the usual self-criticism, boldly interrupt yourself, as self-criticism is harmful and destroys self-esteem.
In order to interrupt the self-criticism, start to mentally pronounce some hilarious poem – the funnier the better. For example, “Robin-Bobin” or “Humpty-Dumpty”.
Our self-esteem is strongly connected with how we evaluate and perceive other people. We want to be good to others because we want to have a good relationship, because it affects our health, business, and happiness.
However, it is necessary to know how much we want to be good to other people, whether it infringes on our interests. Very often, when we want to be good for someone, we cease to be ourselves.
We must not be good for other people, but we can be good for the others to a certain extent. And if someone tells you that you are doing something bad, you can answer, “Yes, I am, this is my way of acting”.
Self-persuasion that you are beautiful, smart, bright, sociable and so on often do not have the desired effect, as in reality it does not matter for the self-assessment.
Your self-esteem is low not because you are not smart or beautiful, don’t dance tango well or aren’t fluent in French. Self-esteem is low because you feel that you don’t have enough love and understanding.
For the self-esteem to be adequate, and the general attitude towards yourself as an individual to be high, it is important to know and repeat to yourself that you have the right to exist and to be accepted in this world, you have the right to have different needs and satisfy them, the right to express yourself and your essence, the right to choose, to act and to belong to a group important to you, the right to be independent and at the same time to get help from other people.