Have you ever been really, really low in your life?
Last Monday in the UK was considered by some media “experts” to be the unhappiest day of the year for many people.
With Christmas festivities a fading memory, credit card bills piling up and dark, cold evenings, these so called experts told their readers and listeners how to survive the ordeal of the day.
I guess some people do get down due to the weather and the dark evenings, but I wonder how many really hit rock bottom as a result.
I remember a few years ago when I hit rock bottom in my life. I had lost my job, my wife and I had just split up and the property I was renting only had a month to go before the rental agreement ran out.
That period was up till then the most painful point in my life.
The time when my father suddenly passed away was even more painful, but that’s a story for another day.
Now as most of my friends would agree, I am a very upbeat and confident guy. I have a can do attitude and I can move mountains when I put my mind to it. But at that time, I was shattered.
My self- esteem was in tatters and I just wanted the pain to go away and that period of my life to end.
I got through my pain by counting the days and months and before I knew it, six months had gone by and then another six months.
Within a short time, I had got my life back on an even keel and years later I look back at that period as the formative time that made me who I am today. I discovered life coaching, published four books and realised that actually I am a pretty good writer.
So what changed? And what got me through that painful period?
It all came down to my self-esteem. I continued to believe in myself and knew that I was much more than those circumstances.
Do you suffer from low self esteem? Or are you someone who really believes in themselves?
Having positive self esteem makes you capable of meeting life’s challenges and allows you to consider yourself worthy of happiness.
When you have positive self-esteem, you feel great about yourselves and you go through life feeling that you can conquer anything that comes your way.
However, most of us suffer from simply feeling not good enough or lovable enough.
Most people dwell on their inadequacies and then wonder why their life isn’t working out. But focusing on your positive traits will immediately improve your chances of creating the life you desire and deserve.
So here’s the thing to understand, learn and accept – you can stop putting yourself down from this very moment!
You can’t develop high self-esteem if you repeat negative phrases about yourself and your abilities.
Looking back at that bleak time in my life, apart from taking focussed action and doing what I knew I just had to do, I also applied some simple principles which I know really shifted me from that dark place.
Today, I am glad and I guess I am also a little proud to share my key lessons to build up your own self esteem.
So as 2011 unfolds, bear in mind my 9 powerful ways to boost your self- esteem:-
1. Look at your Past Successes and Achievements.
Make a list of 25 things you have done. Then list another 25. These don’t have to be major achievements for you to acknowledge yourself and can include things like learning to ride a bike, passing your driving test, getting promoted and so on.
When feeling low, remember the times when you were proud of what you did, and the times you were praised. Close your eyes and recreate the feeling of satisfaction and joy you experienced when you first attained each success.
2. Think of at least 10 Positive Qualities of which you are Proud.
For instance – are you reliable? Honest? Helpful? Imaginative?
Write these on some brightly coloured paper and stick up where you will see it regularly such as on your mirror, office wall or the fridge door.
Read it at least once every day.
3. Get Feedback from other People.
Do you know what people close to you really think of you?
Ask 5 people who know you well to write down your top 5 perceived strengths. Prepare to be pleasantly surprised!
4. Stop Comparing yourself with other People.
There will always be some people who have more than you and some who have less.
Instead, observe positive confident people around you and copy their traits and instil into your life. For example, for every negative thought about yourself, think of a positive one.
5. Review your Negative Beliefs.
Are your beliefs about you really true?
Once you believe something, you tend to filter out any evidence that would disprove this belief, so they become self-fulfilling prophecies. Actively look for evidence to disprove your negative beliefs.
Ask yourself – is this belief helpful to you? Where did this limiting belief come from? What would you rather believe instead?
Create a new empowering belief. What would be the benefits of the positive belief?
6. Begin to Accept Yourself as you are.
Look in the mirror every morning and say “I love and approve of myself”.
This may seem awkward but keep going until you can look yourself in the eye and you mean what you say.
Use such affirmations to boost yourself in other ways. On the back of a business card or small index card, write out a statement such as “I like and accept myself just the way I am” or “I approve of myself”.
Carry this card with you and repeat the statement several times during the day, especially at night before going to bed and after getting up in the morning.
Whenever you say the affirmation, allow yourself to experience positive feelings about your statement.
7. Immerse Yourself in Positivity
Listen to motivational tapes and read positive, self development books.
Whatever thoughts you allow to dominate your mind will eventually take root and affect your behaviour.
Set aside time every day for personal development.
8. Help someone in Need
Do something good for somebody else, even if it is simply helping an elderly person cross the road.
Doing things for others will make you feel better about yourself, put matters into perspective and automatically create self esteem.
9. Mix with Positive, Upbeat People
Associate with people who energise you and appreciate your positive points.
When you are surrounded by negative people who constantly put you down, your self-esteem is lowered.
Conversely, when you are accepted and encouraged, you feel better about yourself.
The Way Forward
No matter where you are now in your life, know that things will get better and a more positive outlook will make a huge difference.
Then one day you too can look back, wonder what all the fuss was and appreciate all the key lessons you learnt.
If I can do it, so can you.
Apply these tips, and one day soon, before you know it, you will be brimming with positive self esteem and confidence.
And of course, remember to smile:-)
images courtesy of BozDoz and Jamiesrabbits