When you look in the mirror, what do you see?
If you have low self esteem the chances are that you see yourself in a very harsh light, if you can look at yourself in the mirror at all.
You may appear to be successful outwardly, but inside’s a different story.
Low self esteem may impact on how you think about yourself, and mean you doubt your ability to get the things you want or to attract the sort of people that interest you. It can be soul destroying and lead to behaviours that keep you in your comfort zone. At worst it can prevent you doing things that you would normally enjoy doing, and may stop you applying for your perfect job or cause you to present yourself ineffectively at interviews.
If you have low self esteem, playing safe can look like a successful strategy to avoid being exposed. You may feel overwhelmed by the pace of life, feeling like a failure by comparison with everyone else. You don’t try anything new, or assert yourself and depend overly on others to protect you from unpleasant realities.
Fearing failure, you may not put sufficient effort into activities, doubting that you can be successful, so why try? Others see you being overly critical of your appearance – too fat, too slim, too short, etc, and putting yourself down constantly.
Another sign is anger and resentment. The first self esteem response is passive while the second is more reactive and externally focused. You may find you lose their temper at the drop of a hat are quick to argue and to blame others or circumstances for setbacks. You may find yourself constantly arguing about petty issues, finding fault with the world and being negative – nothing is good, everything is horrible. The world seems to be against you. You may gossip about the troubles of others as it makes you feel better about yourself and you may be inclined to take things out on others.
You misread situations and the behaviour of others, and compare how you feel with how others behave. Inevitably, most others will behave more happily than you feel. You see that as a vindication that no one else could feel as bad as you do. This is a conversation that often happens inside your head and leads to a further downward spiral of your self esteem drops further. The more negative thoughts you think, the more negative things you see and feel. We are what we think about!
And it’s hard to force yourself just to think differently when you feel so negative and isolated.
This may be a passing state of mind following a major disappointment or upset in your life, or it may be an ingrained set of beliefs and behaviours built up over several years.
Does this sound like you?
Contact me and will can help you to develop strategies to build your self esteem and confidence through coaching – we can talk one to one or using Skype. Use the contact me form to get in touch initially by email.
Tips for Improving your self esteem
- Change your attitude. This means focusing on positive qualities in yourself instead of negative ones
- Get active. Being busy is a good antidote to sitting around and feeling sorry for ourselves. If you are busy with other things, it will help you take your mind off yourself
- Eat well. Take time in preparing your food, eat fresh food and savour it when eating it
- Practice living in the moment. Learn to engage with life, practice meditation
- Do things for others and with others. Research has shown that helping, or being nice to, other people can definitely make us feel better
- Mind your inner self talk. Stop saying mean things to yourself and, instead, say nice things about yourself
- Recognise that life’s short. You only live once and you may spoil it by focusing on what you haven’t got instead of what you have got. This is like going on a holiday but ruining it by feeling sorry for yourself that it has to end soon.
- Mix with positive people, those who look on the bright side and are generally cheerful – its infectious!
- Practice being thankful, compliment other people, thank them just because you can – it will make them feel good. Funnily enough the compliments and thanks miraculously will often find their way back to you and make you feel good.