While for many, self-esteem issues are a transitional part of growing into an adult and finding a place in the world, scientific research studies show that people with continued low self-esteem are also more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, poor physical health, and even a lower income later on in life.
Those with long lasting issues of low self-esteem know only too well that it is not something you grow out of, but something that sits in the subconscious mind and continues to effect every part of life for years. How then can we enhance self esteem.
Here are five ways that you can do just that.
1. Model Confident People
Noticing what confident people do, how they speak, the ways they behave, can provide vital clues to finding self-esteem inside yourself. Who is the most confident person you can think of? When you have them firmly in your mind, ask yourself these questions: how do they hold their shoulders? How do they stand? How do they walk? What clothes do they wear? How do they behave when with other people? What sort of things do you imagine they say about themselves? And if they were in your situation, what would they do?
This questioning goes far beyond "fake it till you make it" - it links us into the answers already inside us. Once you have a list of what that confident person would do, go ahead and model this behaviour. Try it on for a few hours, a day, even a few days. Notice how everything you do, and the events around you, begin to change on their own.
2. Advertise Yourself
When you have to convince someone else about your strengths, it can have a fantastic effect on your self-esteem. Sitting down and really thinking about all your skills, gifts and talents is a wonderful reminder of all the good things about being you. Try writing an advertisement selling yourself as the perfect partner, house mate, friend, etc, with a full description of why anyone would be lucky to have you around. Don't be afraid to blow your own trumpet. This isn't an exercise in modesty, but in self-esteem.
3. Work On Your Resume.
Resumes are all about convincing someone to hire your time and your expertise. Giving your resume a regular update can also give your self-esteem a great boost. Alternatively, update your Facebook profile. Strange as it sounds, there is now research from Cornell University in New York to prove that people who view their Facebook profiles more regularly have better self-esteem. You get to go back and view your clever status updates, your significant dates and events, and photos of good times.
4. Say Positive Things About Yourself
Saying positive things about yourself, to yourself or others, is important. What we say about ourselves reveals a lot about our level of self-esteem. When we rehearse only what we do wrong, or don't like about ourselves, our brain builds neural pathways for these conversations, till eventually negative self-talk is practically automatic.
If you are not used to talking about yourself in a positive way, you will simply have to learn how. Keep practicing, choose a few nice things to say or think about yourself and use them as a mantra every day. It can be something you are proud of about yourself, or positive things you remember others saying about you in the past.
The more you repeat this, the easier the behaviour will become as your nervous system will build more neural connections to this positive self-talk, and less to the negative self-talk.
5. Is It You, Or Is It Them?
The people who surround us, at home, at school, at work, or in social settings, can have a huge impact on our self-esteem. Either they will support us, making us feel better about ourselves, or their negativity will bring us down emotionally. This may not be intentional. Some people just seem to notice what's wrong more than on what's right.
If you find there are people in your life who make you feel bad about yourself, you need to make a decision. Can you counteract the effect they are having with you? Or do you need to do some prunning?
Do you really need to be around people who make you feel bad about yourself? Choose to associate with positive people that make you feel alive, happy, and optimistic about life.
Deciding to spend less time with people isn't about making anyone else 'wrong' or 'bad' -- it has to do with making clear decisions about how you want to feel, and asserting your right to feel good instead of bad.
Use these strategies on a regular basis and you really will boost your self-esteem -- and increase your self-confidence.
Peter Field is a British psychotherapist and hypnotherapist. Please visit his hypnotherapy Birmingham site for more information. His self esteem hypnosis MP3 download and CD is now available.