“Most 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 such as friends, your partner, your family ...
But, where are you?
Normally when we are told to think of someone we appreciate very much, we begin to make a selection of people in our registry to whom we have adjectives to rate their virtues and praise them.
However, those who never appear in that selection are people with low self-esteem.
Self-esteem problems are a tradition in our current society, with the demands and canons that it imposes and we impose on ourselves.
We talk about having low self-esteem and the need to change this. That is why we are going to delve into exactly what it consists of in order to know it and be able to work on it closely.
Self-esteem is the assessment of our thoughts, feelings and actions that we make about ourselves about each of the different aspects of our life.
Low self-esteem supposes a negative perception about oneself, and this can limit us a lot in our daily life, since it can be the cause of other symptoms such as anxiety, depression, behavior 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 other people.
The influx of positive or negative reinforcement interactions that we have received from the first steps of our life will be essential for our emotional health when we are older.
During adolescence, the person needs to forge an identity and get to know each other in order to discover their abilities and skills as an individual.
It is a time when you go from dependence on loved ones (family and friends) to personal independence, so you need social support from others who have the same values.
If during childhood you have developed a healthy self-esteem, you will have no problem experiencing this process and reaching maturity, however if you have not forged a positive self-esteem, you can be very vulnerable to making decisions or easy and destructive paths as it can be drug or alcohol abuse, among others.
There are 4 fundamental factors that determine self-esteem:
- The triumphs in the different areas of life, as long as they are important to the individual.
- The acceptance, interest and respect of the important people around the subject.
- Recognition of one's own successes and track record of 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 values of himself of capacity and worth. People who have a positive self-esteem have a series of tools and internal and interpersonal skills to face any type of challenge or problem always in a positive and harmonious way.
They are less self-critical of themselves and have interpersonal relationships with other subjects with 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 they 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 confidence can disappear at any time in the face of the opinion 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 the outside and they respond with a critical attitude 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 value and worthiness. They are predisposing to failure because they focus on obstacles and inconveniences, ignoring solutions to problems.
Their beliefs about themselves are helplessness, 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 possibility of success.
We will now 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 in a very effective way.
Characteristics of low self-esteem
Having low self-esteem consists on a mental level in a distortion of thought, that is, an inadequate way of thinking. These people have a very distorted vision 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:
- All or nothing thinking. They only contemplate the extremes, things are either white or black with no intermediate term, if it is not perfect it is not valid, they are not capable of giving relative evaluations.
- Generalized thinking. They establish general ideas of any isolated event to focus on any moment or situation. For example, if I have failed once (specific fact) I will always fail (generalized fact) in everything.
- Self-accusation. I am to blame for everything, I should have done it differently, I should have been able, it was my fault.
- Personalization. They take for granted that everything has to do with them and compare it to everything else. If someone is sad or angry, it is sure because of me.
- Thought readings. 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.
- Self-language. They use pejorative terms when talking about oneself. For example, is that I am stupid, that I am bad, 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 lonely because I have no friends because no one 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 capacities and our values.
To increase self-esteem, we must change the way we interpret our life, recognize the negative judgments we make about things that happen to us and focus our sights on new positive thoughts and goals that will help us feel well-being and happiness. .
Your life will only improve when you are able to achieve better loving yourself.
Next we are going to tell a story by Jorge Bucay in which self-esteem is reflected.
The true value of the ring
Once upon a time, there was a young man who went 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:
- Master, I feel very little, I feel that I cannot achieve anything and that I have very little worth. Everyone tells me that I am useless and that I am not doing anything right. What can I do to change this, to change what people think of me and show that I am good for something?
The teacher, hardly looking at him, replied:
"You don't know how I feel, boy, but I'm afraid I can't help you." I have other more important matters to resolve and I cannot spare time for you. It occurs to me that you could help me and that way I would finish more quickly and I could dedicate my time to you.
The astonished young man nodded his head feeling confused and a little frustrated as the teacher was putting off his needs.
The teacher took off a ring that he was wearing on his little finger and gave it to the boy saying:
-Take the horse out there and go to the market, then you must sell the ring, since I have a debt to pay. For this you must sell the ring obtaining the highest possible sum and remember that you should not accept less than one gold coin, then return as quickly as possible.
The young man listened to the wise man and marched to the market as quickly as he could.
There he began to offer 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 it was more than one gold coin. When he said this, the merchants began to laugh, others turned around and did not answer him.
They offered him some silver coin and some copper trinket, but the young man stood firm to the master's words.
Only one of them, the oldest, took the trouble to explain that a gold coin was too valuable to be given in exchange for a ring.
After offering his jewel to all the people who passed through the market, he mounted his horse and, dejected, returned the way he had come.
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 gotten 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. We must first 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 he offers you, do not sell it, take the horse and come back.
The young man left with the horse again, 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:
-Boy 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?
The jeweler replied:
-I know its value is around 70 gold coins but if the sale is urgent I can't pay you more.
The excited young man ran to the teacher's house to tell him what had happened.
-My young friend, you are like this ring, a valuable and unique jewel, therefore only an expert can truly evaluate you. What do you do for life pretending that anyone knows your true worth?
This story shows us the value that each one of us really have and whoever does not appreciate it is because they do not understand the really important things. In self-esteem, the expert who must evaluate us is ourselves, treating us 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 do not like. This makes us feel guilty and we tend to hide like when we are afraid.
If you are not good at loving yourself, you will have a hard time loving someone, because you will resent the time and energy you give to someone else that you don't even give to yourself. – Barbara De Angelisi.
12 steps to increase your self-esteem
The absence of self-esteem takes us away from self-confidence to achieve our goals, feel good, and even make any kind of decision. Despite this, these feelings can disappear if you work on them.
- Know about self-esteem
- Believe and trust yourself
- Be careful how you talk
- Do things you like every day
- Accept and forgive yourself
- Review your success story
- Create positive relationships with positive people
- Say no to perfectionism
- Kill expectations
- Focus on what you can contribute to the world
- Give to receive
- The philosophy of the self
To achieve your security and move towards your new life we present some of the actions that you can carry out.
- 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 capabilities 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 the way you are and live life. Looking at the world for comparisons is a very negative game that only results in the loss of identity. Remember that outsiders are looking for a place in the world, so no one can rate you as better or worse.
- Be careful how you talk to yourself. Start to look at what you say to yourself and how you say it to yourself, the internal dialogue full of negative words only hurts you. It is necessary to be aware of how you address yourself and what you are capable of saying to yourself. The "you are useless" or the typical "nobody loves you" are phrases that you would probably not consent to from other people, so don't tell them yourself. Change the way you talk to yourself and you will change your feelings.
- Do things you like every day. Focus your mind on discovering what you are like, what you are capable of achieving, learning and you may be surprised at how wonderful you are. Do something every day that you enjoy and that makes you feel good. They do not have to be great things, simply something that is good for you and your mind anchors that feeling of well-being. You can also be aware that each simple moment is unique, such as doing yoga, reading a good book, enjoying the landscape or having 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 and forgive yourself. I propose that you write a letter in which you express everything that 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 remain buried and they will no longer serve to punish you. Start from scratch with everything you have learned and without any burden.
- Review your success story. Sometimes we feel incapable of achieving our goals and we think that we are not worth it or that we are not capable of achieving it. Therefore, this technique motivates you and gives you energy to end these feelings of helplessness. Make a list of things that you have managed to achieve throughout your life (driver's license, university degree, learn to play paddle tennis, learn English, get a job, a new car, etc.) Post 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, swap them out for people who reinforce your positive thoughts and have a positive outlook on life. This will be an incentive to help you improve your self-esteem and your 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 that no matter how much 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 type of results, so it will lower our self-esteem.
To stop being a perfectionist it is important to set limits to finish things, so we will be forced to move forward and not get stuck 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 type of error. It consists of doing things in the best possible way, allowing mistakes to be made and learning from them
- Kill expectations. Failures are unrealized expectations. Expectations are demands that do not allow you to see the positive aspects of things. They generate a feeling of inability to achieve what we want and are continuously dissatisfied with the results obtained.
In addition to forgetting about the present and not enjoying each unique moment, since they go unnoticed. Instead of thinking about the future, focus on the present and be grateful for 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 is your for what in life. This statement will change the way you approach the day. Remember that there is something that 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 in coherence with them, so it is one of the most positive actions to make us feel satisfied with ourselves, as well as grateful for giving the best of ourselves.
- The philosophy of the self. It may sound a bit 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 greater motivation to love yourself and value yourself.