“The majority of fears of being rejected rest on the desire to be approved by other people. Don’t base your self-esteem on their opinions ”- Harvey Mackay.
Please stop reading for a moment to answer this question:
Who is the most important person for you in this world?
Surely you have thought of a series of people as friends, your partner, your family …
But, where are you?
Normally when they tell us to think of someone we appreciate very much we begin to make a selection of people in our registry who have adjectives to rate their virtues and praise them.
However, those who never appear in this selection are people with low self-esteem.
The problems of self-esteem are tradition in our current society, with the demands and the canons that it imposes and we impose on us.
We talked about having low self-esteem and the need to change this. That is why we are going to delve into what exactly it is to know it and be able to work it closely.
Self-esteem is the assessment of our thoughts, feelings and actions we do about ourselves about each of the different aspects of our lives.
Low self-esteem implies a negative perception about oneself, and this can limit us a lot in our daily life, since it can cause other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, behavioral problems, impulsivity, sexual problems, stress, addictions, etc.
The good news is that the idea of self-esteem can change over time
From the age of five or six, a child begins to form the concept of himself based on how he is seen by the rest of the people.
The influence of positive or negative reinforcement interactions that we have received from the first steps of our lives will be fundamental to our emotional health when we are older.
During adolescence, the person needs to forge an identity and get to know each other thoroughly to discover their abilities and their competencies as an individual.
It is a time in which one goes from the dependence of loved ones (family and friends) to personal independence, so he needs social support from others who have the same values.
If during childhood you have developed a healthy self-esteem, you will not have any problem in experiencing this process and reaching maturity, however if a positive self-assessment has not been forged you can be very vulnerable to making decisions and easy and destructive paths as it can become drug or alcohol abuse, among others.
There are 4 fundamental factors that determine self-esteem:
- Triumphs in different areas of life, provided they are important to the individual.
- Acceptance, interest and respect of the important people surrounding the subject.
- Recognition of successes and history of self achievement.
- Control over obstacles and situations that the person attributes to negative events, as well as responsibility for them.
Types of self-esteem
There is a classification of self-esteem based on the degree that an individual has, each with a series of significant characteristics.
High or positive self-esteem. This self-esteem is in coherence in the person and the self-values of ability and worth. People who have a positive self-esteem have a series of internal and interpersonal tools and skills to face any type of challenge or problem always in a positive and harmonious way.
They are less self-critical with themselves and have interpersonal relationships with other subjects of similar self-esteem. External circumstances have a low influence on self-esteem, they do not need to defend their image because they already defend themselves and can give their point of view without destabilizing at any time.
Average self-esteem This kind of relative self-esteem is characterized by having an intermediate degree of self-confidence. Although this trust may disappear at any time in the face of the opinions of others. These types of people are safe from others externally, however internally they are not.
They alternate moments between high self-esteem and low self-esteem always conditioned by criticism or opinions that come from abroad and respond critically to failure, since these are perceived as threats.
Low selfsteem. This type of self-esteem prevails a feeling of insecurity and helplessness in people who lack fundamental elements such as courage and deserving. They are predisposing to failure because they focus on obstacles and inconveniences, avoiding solutions to problems.
Their beliefs about themselves are disability, insecurity and failure. Therefore, a person who is in this range of self-esteem will present himself as a victim, sabotaging his work and avoiding any chance of success.
Next we will focus on this type of self-esteem. When a person has low self-esteem, they usually show very specific symptoms and characteristics that we can address to make us feel better and improve our self-esteem very effectively.back to menu ↑
Characteristics of low self-esteem
Having low self-esteem consists mentally in a distortion of thought, that is, an inadequate way of thinking. These people have a very distorted view about their identity, as well as a high degree of demand and perfection about themselves. This distortion is characterized in thoughts such as the following:
- Thinking of all or nothing. They only contemplate the extremes, the things are not white or are black without intermediate term, if it is not perfect it is not valid, they are not able to give relative valuations.
- Generalized thinking. They establish general ideas of any isolated event to focus on any moment or situation. For example, if I have failed once (concrete fact) I will always fail (generalized fact) in everything.
- Self-accusation. I am to blame for everything, I had to have done it differently, I should have been able, it was my fault.
- Personalization. They assume that everything has to do with them and compare it with everything else. If someone is sad or angry, it is for me.
- Readings of thought. They make assumptions that are based on inconsistent and unverifiable things. They assume that they do not interest others who think badly of you or make fun of you.
- The autolanguage. They use pejorative terms when they talk about oneself. For example, I am dumb, how bad I am, etc.
- Emotional reasoning. We consider an emotion that we are experiencing to reflect reality and contrast it with other situations and experiences. An example is I feel alone because I have no friends because nobody likes me.
- Control fallacies They feel that they are responsible for everything and everyone and that they have no control over anything.
Loving and valuing ourselves is a skill that does not include comparison or competition, so it is essential to learn to recognize and experience our abilities and our values.
To increase self-esteem we must change the way we interpret our lives, recognize the negative judgments we make of things that happen to us and focus our attention towards new positive thoughts and objectives that will help us feel well-being and happiness .
Your life will only improve when you are able to improve yourself by loving yourself.
Next we will tell a story by Jorge Bucay in which self-esteem is reflected.back to menu ↑
The true value of the ring
Once upon a time there was a young man who came to ask a wise man for advice. The teacher was known for giving good advice and guiding people who came to him for answers.
When the young man entered, he said:
– Teacher, I feel very little, I feel that I cannot achieve anything and that I have very little worth. Everyone tells me that I don’t serve and that I don’t do anything right. What can I do to change this, to change what people think of me and prove that I am good for something?
The teacher, barely looking at him, replied:
– You don’t know how sorry boy, but I’m afraid I can’t help you. I have to solve other more important issues and I cannot spend time. It occurs to me that you could help me and that way it would end faster and I could spend my time.
The astonished young man nodded feeling confused and a bit frustrated because the teacher was putting off his needs.
The teacher took off a ring on his little finger and handed it to the boy saying:
– Take the horse out there and head towards the market, then you must sell the ring, since I have a debt to pay off. To do this you must sell the ring getting the highest amount possible and remember that you should not accept less than one gold coin, then return as quickly as possible.
The young man paid attention to the wise and marched to the market as quickly as he could.
There he began offering the ring to the merchants, who looked at him curiously. They asked the boy what was the price he wanted for the ring and he replied that more than one gold coin. When they said this, the merchants began to laugh, others turned around and didn’t answer him.
They offered him some silver coin and some copper trinket, but the young man stood firm to the teacher’s words.
Only one of them, the oldest took the trouble to explain that a gold coin was too valuable to deliver in exchange for a ring.
After offering his jewel to all the people who passed through the market, he rode his horse and, dejected, returned where he had come from.
Upon arrival, he entered the room where the teacher was and said:
– Master, I’m so sorry. I have not been able to get any gold coins. I could have got some silver or even some jewelry, but I can’t fool anyone about the true value of this ring.
The teacher replied smiling:
– How glad to hear such wise words, young friend. First we must know the true value of the ring, so go to the jeweler and ask him how much the ring would be worth and how much he would be willing to pay for it. Offer what you offer, do not sell it, take the horse and come back.
The young man left again with the horse, this time in search of the jeweler.
When the jeweler examined the ring with his magnifying glass he looked doubtfully at the boy and said:
– A lot if you want to sell it now, I can’t offer you more than 58 gold coins.
The stunned young man exclaimed: 58 gold coins! Are you sure what you are offering me?
¿está usted seguro de lo que me está ofreciendo?
– I know its value is around 70 gold coins but if the sale is urgent I can not pay you more.
The excited young man ran to the teacher’s house to tell him what happened.
– My young friend, you are like this ring, a valuable and unique jewel, so only an expert can truly evaluate you. What do you do for life pretending that anyone knows your true value?
This story shows us the value that each one really has and who does not appreciate it is because he does not understand the really important things. In self-esteem, the expert who must evaluate us is ourselves, treating ourselves as if we were brilliant diamonds because in this way we will shine.
We have the belief that the human being is perfect and happy by nature, so we feel disappointed and depressed when there is something in our life that we don’t like. This makes us feel guilty and we tend to hide like when we are afraid.
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If you are not good at loving yourself, you will have difficulties loving someone, because you will resent the time and energy you give to another person that you do not even give yourself. – Barbara De Angelisi.
12 steps to increase your self-esteem
The absence of self-esteem moves us away from self-confidence to reach our goals, feel good, and even make any kind of decision. Despite this, these feelings may disappear if you work on them.
- Know about self-esteem
- Believe and trust yourself
- Be careful how you speak
- Do things you like every day
- Accept yourself and forgive yourself
- Check your success history
- Create positive relationships with positive people
- Say no to perfectionism
- End expectations
- Focus on what you can contribute to the world
- Give to receive
- The philosophy of self
To reach your security and move towards your new life we present some of the actions you can take.
- Know about self-esteem. Self-esteem is a key element in our emotional well-being, if we accept ourselves as we are, we feel satisfied and happy with ourselves because we are happy with who we are.
- Believe and trust yourself. You need to believe in your abilities and who you are. It is important that you gradually increase your confidence in yourself and see your beauty both inside and out. Do not let anyone make you believe otherwise and admire your way of being and living life. Looking at the world for comparisons is a very negative game that only results in the loss of identity. Remember that people from outside look for a place in the world, so no one can qualify you as being better or worse.
- Be careful how you talk to yourself. Start looking at what you say and how you say it, the internal dialogue full of negative words only hurts you. It is necessary to be aware of how you are heading towards yourself and what you are able to tell yourself. The “you are useless” or the typical “nobody loves you” are phrases that you probably would not consent to other people, so do not tell them yourself. Change the way you talk and you will change your feelings.
- Do things you like every day. Focus your mind on discovering how you are, what you are able to achieve, learn and you may be surprised at how wonderful you are. Do something you enjoy every day and make you feel good. No need to be great things, just something that you do well and your mind anchor that feeling of well-being. You can also be aware that every single moment is unique how it can be to do yoga, read a good book, enjoy the scenery or have a good coffee. It is advisable to make a list of at least 10 things that you are passionate about and carry them out at least one every day.
- Accept yourself and forgive yourself. I propose that you write a letter in which you express everything you do not like and everything for which you blame yourself. Take your time, think and write in detail. Then read it carefully and focus on what you can change. Say goodbye to that letter and burn it, fire is a symbol of purification and forgiveness. From there those negative things remain in the past, they are buried and they will no longer serve to punish you. Start from scratch with everything you’ve learned and without any burden.
- Check your success history. Sometimes we feel unable to achieve our goals and think that we are not worth it or that we are not able to achieve it. That is why this technique motivates you and gives you energy to end these feelings of helplessness. Make a list of things that you have achieved throughout your life (the driving license, the university degree, learn to play paddle tennis, learn English, get a job, a new car, etc.) Put it in a visible place and read it from time to time. This will make you make positive representations about yourself and therefore increase your self-esteem.
- Create positive relationships with positive people. Eliminate those toxic people from your life that don’t make you feel good. Instead, change them for people who reinforce your positive thoughts and have a positive attitude towards life. This will be an incentive to help you improve your self-esteem and personal well-being.
- Say no to perfectionism. Perfectionism is one of the most destructive characteristics of people that forces us to achieve something impossible and be who we are not, so much as we improve we are never satisfied. In addition, it makes us focus on making everything perfect and when we make a mistake we become paralyzed. It is the theory of everything or nothing, so that we will not obtain any kind of results, so that our self-esteem will decrease.
To stop being a perfectionist it is important to set limits to finish things, so we will see ourselves in the obligation to move forward and not stagnate in the perfection of every detail.
You should also change the patterns of the excellent or the magnificent, that is, stop thinking that everything must be perfect without any error. It consists of doing things in the best possible way allowing mistakes and learning from them.
- It ends expectations. Failures are unrealized expectations. Expectations are requirements that do not allow you to see the positive aspects of things. They generate a feeling of inability to achieve what we want and to be continuously unhappy with the results obtained.
In addition to forgetting the present and not enjoying each unique moment, as they go unnoticed. Instead of thinking about the future, focus on the present and appreciate the good things you have in your life, this will make you feel happier and enjoy your life and yourself.
- Focus on what you can contribute to the world. When you wake up every morning, tell yourself what you can offer the world, what you are for in life. This statement will change the way you focus the day. Remember that there is something you know how to do very well and you can contribute to people who are part of your world, sharing happiness and unrepeatable moments.
- Give to receive. Many people begin to improve their well-being by contributing to society or helping others in a selfless way. Volunteering makes our values come to the surface and we are consistent with them, making it one of the most positive actions to make us feel satisfied with ourselves, as well as being grateful for giving our best.
- The philosophy of the self. It may sound a little strange – and even selfish – but having individual ideas and carrying them out increases our security and therefore our self-esteem. Thinking about achieving your own well-being is not a bad thing, but it is something very beneficial that will give you more motivation to love and value yourself.
This post is also available in: Spanish