How to Build Self-Esteem Part I: Get Out of Your Own Way
Face it, if you don’t have it, you can’t give it away. The way you feel and think about yourself, profoundly affects your relationships. I talk to married men who are broken hearted because their wives lack self confidence. I talk to parents who are completely distressed because their daughter’s esteem is bordering on self-hatred. I talk to women who have been crushed by cruel words and actions from people they trusted. Our self esteem determines how we relate to God, and how we relate to other people. How can we get over low self esteem and become happy, healthy, fulfilled people God has made us to be?
Psychologists know that children’s self esteem is not only built through parental praise and unconditional love, but it is primarily built through accomplishing developmental tasks through life. Each task that is accomplished from walking to potty training to learning to read, builds a child’s sense of self-control, competencies and confidence. The same is true for us adults.
If you missed some of those ingredients growing up and feel at a disadvantage when it comes to self-esteem and self-confidence, you are not alone. Many adults struggle with this- whether it is taking a new position at work, or putting yourself out there in the dating scene, or just trying Zumba for the first time. Low self-esteem affects our happiness, our relationships and our ability to accomplish great things.
I will show you in this three part series how to build your self esteem. I’m going to be talking about 1) how to get out of your own way, 2) How to dream big by identifying what you want and why you want it, and 3) How to make and accomplish SMART Goals. When you pair up love and discipline, anything is impossible. Love- means that when you love God, yourself and others enough to break through your fears and do all you were made to do. Discipline means doing the hard work of planning, investing, plodding, and enduring until the goal is finished. When you have the combination of these two things working in tandem together, you will become confident and competent. Your self esteem will blossom.
Goal accomplishment has a lot more to do with self-esteem than you may initially think. Setting a goal, making the sacrifices and investments that are required to meet that goal, and then accomplishing the thing we desired adds to my sense of ability, competency, ego strength and maturity. However, if we rarely set new goals, or give a half hearted effort in achieving those we set, our self esteem lacks proper exercise for increased strength. When we half heartedly set goals, we never see our goals realized and that lack of success reinforces our low self esteem.
What keeps us from making and keeping personal goals? Well, fear of course! Fear of accountability. Fear of failure. Fear of taking risks and being wrong. If I write it down and say it out loud, I am making myself vulnerable to failure. But if I don’t write it down and say it out loud, then I will never achieve it. I stand in the way of myself ever accomplishing my dream.
Wishful thinking is also something that keeps us from realizing our goals. Wishful thinking is believing that somehow my goal will happen to me- that I’ll get discovered, or someone will hear of me and my idea and they will want to be my angel investor- is a sign of immaturity. Proverbs says, “How long will you lie there, you sluggard? When will you get up from your sleep? A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest— and poverty will come on you like a thief.”
Common reasons why people lack the motivation to see a goal all the way through.
Black and White Thinking- also known as Right/Wrong thinking. Too afraid to do something wrong because of all the bad consequences that can befall you.
Perfectionism = Procrastination: Because you believe that your product must be perfect before launching, you become overwhelmed and procrastinate, thereby putting out a product doomed for failure.
- Fear of Failure- this is rooted in our own shame. Shame is the feeling that something is innately wrong with you. It’s power is so great that when tapped into or triggered, we either implode or explode. If we experience something as a failure, or we look like a failure to others, then our shame is triggered and we internalize that failure as being a part of us- as actually having the power to define us.
Self Fulfilling Prophecy- or negative predictions. The thing that you are most afraid of happening actually happens. The fear you have actually produces the energy to make that thing come about. We can be so self protective, trying to prevent or avoid our greatest fear, that we actually create space for the thing to actually happen.
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