In part one, I discussed the importance of eating well and getting enough exercise, as the foundations to a healthy mind and body. All humans need some basic needs met before meaningful self development can take place. Imagine those who struggle to obtain adequate food and shelter on a day to day basis; the idea of bettering themselves will most likely be low on their agenda.
This is why it is important to recognize, that we really have no excuse not to do everything in our power to improve ourselves; once we have our physical needs met and feel secure, and it is not impossible of course. Given there are so many resources available to enable us to do so.
But what other factors can influence our self esteem? I am sure you cannot wait to find out!
Here it is, my third pillar for a healthy mind. Being humans, we are social creatures and we need people around us. This goes back to our evolutionary days, when for survival, it was important to be socially included in certain groups. Live or die – it was that simple an affair. Since then we developed a monitoring system, a so called built in sociometer to judge cues on whether we feel included in or excluded from groups.
Friends for life
Of course, not all people are the same, and they can affect us in positive and negative ways. When we have good relationships with the people around us, this can be a source of safety and contentment. You must have heard the saying ‘A trouble shared is a trouble halved’; we all need good friends to share our pains, but also happiness with.
Remember, you do not need an army of friends, a couple of close ones will do the trick. But here in lies the rub for those of us who suffer with low self esteem and social anxiety; we find it harder to trust when it comes to the emotional plane, and to make meaningful friendships can be worrisome. On the plus side, the relationships we do establish are often strong and last a life time. If you are struggling in this area, I would recommend to check out my review of Sean Cooper’s Shyness and Social Anxiety System, which is a very good resource and covers important topics such as how to make friends.
It is great when we have people around us we connect with, however, the bigger issue is when we are surrounded by the wrong sorts of individuals. As I explain later, others’ attitude around us matters a great deal and can influence our general self esteem and confidence levels. It is especially true, if you have low self esteem and are surrounded by negative and judgemental people; their behavior will permeate and rub off on you, (as if by some kind of osmosis) that is you don’t even realise. We do pick up others behaviors and personalities subconsciously we spend most time with. An even worse scenario can take place, when there are overbearing personalities in our environment and we blindly ‘believe’ everything they say, even when they are wrong. The problem with low self esteem, is that we don’t trust ourselves and our abilities, instead allow others’ sometimes inaccurate opinions to dictate who we are, thereby our place in social situations.
What I want you to take away from this is, that we need to be around healthy and positive people and the worst that we can do is to isolate ourselves from others.
Your best friend/Worst enemy – up to you!
In this final section of How to Overcome Low Self Esteem, I would like to share a very effective cognitive method to start making changes to ourselves.
I have touched on how other’s behavior around us can rub off on us, I’d like to take it further by saying that I believe, these people may be the trigger of our feeling of inadequacy. This has only recently dawned on me, allow me to explain…
You may not remember at what point your low self esteem took hold, but it is very likely it started off by someone in your immediate surroundings a long time ago, who – maybe inadvertently – made a negative judgement towards you, and you believed what they said. That’s right, you took someone else’s opinion as valid, and allowed them to tell you how you should be. Over time more of these episodes occurred and built up, and eventually didn’t trust yourself to do anything right.
This is one way how low self esteem develops. I’d like to make the point, however, that constructive criticism is not bad, and ultimately it is you who’s responsible for converting experiences as good or bad. The problem is when we dwell on these events and blow them out of proportion.
The good news is, that if we know that our low self esteem is rooted in the notion that we do not trust ourselves to do things right, this can be turned around by re-learning these skills. We have to re-gain respect for ourselves, as complete human beings in our own eyes. The first step is acceptance – as you are, right now. No ifs or buts, you are the best that you can be at this point. Other areas and further self development can be worked on, once a healthy self esteem is present.
You also have to trust yourself that you can learn new skills. Everything we achieved in life, have been possible because we gave ourselves a chance to learn something new ( we might have made mistakes during the process, but that is natural).
Start with this activity
And the most effective self esteem activity to start the process of change? You need to start challenging your negative thoughts and behaviors first and foremost. Do this by writing out what you are good at. Anything you can think of. You may find this hard, however, as people with low self esteem cannot believe they can do a thing right. But we all have good qualities, skills and talents; ask your nearest and dearest if you struggle to come up with at least 20 items. Have a look at my post on uniqueness also for some ideas. This list might take a few days to acquire, once you have it, refer to it a few times a day for some weeks with conviction, and especially when you notice negative thoughts encroaching you. This works.
Further help and guidance
If you recognize that you have low self esteem, and if it disrupts your normal daily life, you may need immediate help to get you on the right track to recovery. Sometimes other people’s help and guidance are needed. If you are at such low point, and not in a position to attend therapy, I would recommend a step-by-step guided programme to start you off. The Shyness and Social Anxiety System is a comprehensive and easy to follow method that can be accessed instantly and practiced from the comfort of your home. For my review of this programme click here.
Or click here to get instant access to a highly rated product to overcome social anxiety and shyness…
Image sourced from: sudospeak.com