The Next Step…
How to Improve Your Self-Esteem
Self- Esteem – is your personal evaluation of yourself. It’s a judgment, whether faulty or accurate, of your feelings and perceptions that you hold about yourself.
Our self-esteem ebbs and flows throughout our lives depending on our age and stage. Whenever we are in a new stage in our life be it adolescence, young adult hood, parenting, career change, mid-life crisis or our retirement years. Each new period brings new ground to get used to and it often takes awhile to get our self-esteem stable again.
In turn, changing circumstances can be another blow to our self-esteem. New relationships or negative relationships or having no relationships at all can be very difficult. Career difficulties can be very hard, as can health problems or injuries, family issues, alcohol and drug issues, mental illness or sexuality issues.
Good self-esteem is like a beautiful sunflower. The pot is your support system. It holds us together and prevents us from falling apart. The soil represents our beliefs about ourselves. It is our healthy core beliefs around ourselves and the world that will sustain us. The water and fertilizer are the many skills and abilities that nurture the plant and help your identity to continue to grow and develop. We bloom when we follow our goals and dreams and have meaning and purpose in our lives.
Our self-esteem is one part of the larger picture of competence. However, it’s not enough to just increase our skills and abilities; we need both. We also have to strengthen our root system and beliefs as well. It is our support and beliefs that will provide us with the stability to sustain us through life trials. If not, the first wind that blows will knock us over.
Four Stages of Self-Esteem Development
A Sense of Security: Self- esteem will only germinate and grow when we feel a sense of safety, trust and a connection with others. Our home environment must feel safe and secure for this stage to complete. This includes having a sense of love and trust from those around us. As we learn to trust others, in turn we learn to trust ourselves as well. This means learning to value and listen to our intuition. Connecting with others is very fundamental for us to grow and reach our potential. Having a secure base is essential to provide us with the security to flourish!
Identity: As our self-esteem grows our personal identity grows. Our uniqueness develops when we are validated and positively reinforced for our own special qualities. Without positive reinforcement our self-esteem will diminish. Specific validation of our positive qualities greatly improves our self-esteem.
Hopefully, you have supportive people in your life that provide some of this positive reinforcement for you. However, if you do not, and many don’t, you can still do this yourself. We can be our own best friend! By always saying positive things to ourselves and being kind and compassionate to ourselves we can improve our self-esteem a dozen times a day. When we acknowledge our successes and efforts and practice being more understanding to our misses, we can esteem-ourselves daily!!!
Ability: Is the stage of development that sees the most growth. It refers to our continual learning and developing our skills in the world. It requires encouragement, accomplishments and courage. If this stage gets stalled our self-esteem will be stalled too. We all need to constantly improve ourselves to feel good about ourselves. This can be very minor like trying out a new recipe to a major increase to developing a new computer system at work. What makes this stage so important is because it’s all about us taking risks and trying new things. Without taking risks there is no growth. We can’t grow if we never leave our comfort zone. It’s only when we stick our neck out, even a little bit, that our self-esteem and self-respect increases.
Purpose: Is the final stage of developing Self-Esteem. Purpose channels our energy and clears away the distractions. Setting goals challenges us to consider our purpose. By writing down our goals we are more likely to complete them. Without purpose we have power, but our wheels are spinning. Purpose puts our self-esteem in gear. Each of us has a small quiet voice inside that we hear when we are very quiet. “When we follow the gentle urgings of this voice, we effectively follow our hearts. It feels right. This feeling of rightness is a signal that we are on purpose – on the path we were meant to follow. This path leads us to our dreams…” and to blossom.
Adapted from The heart of Self-Esteem by Roger Sparks
Well done! You’ve taken the first step in
Improving your Life!!!
How would you draw your Self- Esteem flower?
What’s working? What needs work?
Starting with the basics,
We’ll look at how you can improve your foundation in –
The Next Step…