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12 Steps to Raise Your Self Esteem and Be a Better Person

12 Steps to Raise Your Self Esteem and Be a Better Person
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Okay, give me a show of hands (virtually, of course): how many of you have very high self-esteem? Well, since I can’t see any of you, I will just have to make some assumptions that not all of you raised your hand. Let’s face it, we live in a world that is not supportive of how we feel about ourselves. From comparing yourself to super models to thinking you need to make more money, most of us think we need to be better. Here’s the good news: you CAN raise your self-esteem and work on being a better person. Here are 11 steps you can take today.

1. Pay attention to how you talk to yourself.

Do you have any idea how many negative thoughts go through your mind every day about yourself? Probably not. Even if it’s just something simple like, “My hair looks terrible today,” you need to monitor and control your thoughts. So get a notebook and write down every negative thought that you say to yourself, about yourself. After about a week, take a look. Then write down why each negative thought is NOT true.

2. Don’t compare yourself to others. But if you do, compare yourself to people who are not as lucky as you are.

If you constantly compare how you look to Angelina Jolie or your bank account to your millionaire cousin, you will definitely feel bad about yourself. So here’s an idea‒don’t do it!! Instead, focus on how lucky you are. If you have a roof over your head and food on the table, you are among the luckiest people in the world. Be grateful for what you have. Don’t complain about what you lack.

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3. Don’t dwell in the past.

Maybe you did something in the past that you are ashamed of, like cheating on your significant other. Well, you can’t undo it. All you can do is forgive yourself, decide to do better, and move on. Replaying it and beating yourself up doesn’t work. Or maybe your past was “The Good Ol’ Days.” Don’t dwell there either. We all age, and we all have the opportunity to make today and tomorrow the best we can. Move onward and upwards. Not backwards.

4. Find a “self-esteem buddy” and support each other.

Anyone who has tried to change their habits knows it’s difficult. And your self-esteem is also a “habit”–it’s a habitual way of thinking about yourself. So it helps to have someone point out when we are being negative and help us steer in the right direction. Sometimes we don’t even recognize when we are being down on ourselves because we do it so much. Your buddy will help you, and you can help them.

5.  Figure out what triggers your feelings of low self-esteem.

Perhaps your older sister was the “perfect” one, so when you’re around her and your family, you feel worse about yourself. Or maybe you were chubby as a child and still carry that image of yourself to this day. We all have certain areas where we feel bad about ourselves. So try to identify what situations or topics trigger your negative thoughts.

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6. Separate your feelings from facts.

You might think you are overweight, but you might not be. For example, perhaps you are average weight, but you grew up with two older sisters who are naturally skinny. If you constantly compared yourself to them growing up, you might have labeled yourself as “fat.” However, those are only your feelings. The facts might be very different. You might only weigh 130 pounds. That’s not overweight. Facts and feelings are different.

7. Treat yourself as if you are a friend and you’re trying to help boost their (your) self-esteem.

We are all harder on ourselves than our friends are. While we tear ourselves down, our good friends try to lift us up. Well, try to act like those friends! Be your own friend. Be kind to yourself. Give yourself compliments and positive affirmations. You don’t need to rely on others to do that. You can do it for yourself, too.

8. Believe people when they compliment you.

Some people have difficult time receiving compliments. While this might sounds strange, it’s true. The reason they have a hard time is because they don’t believe the person’s kind words. They come up with reasons inside their heads about why they’re wrong or why it’s not true. Stop doing that! When someone says something nice about you, believe them! Say “thank you,” and move on with a smile on your face!

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9. Use affirmations and visualization.

Affirmations and visualizations are powerful tools to reprogram your thinking. The more you repeat words or visualize something in your mind, the more your subconscious believes it. So repeat positive statements to yourself such as, “I am a good person. I am healthy. I am strong. I am lovable.” And then visualize yourself being and feeling that way.

10. Use hypnosis.

Speaking of reprogramming the subconscious, hypnosis is also a very powerful way to re-write the negative beliefs in your head. There are many websites that sell positive hypnosis CDs or mp3’s that you can listen to on a regular basis in order to help build your self-esteem. If you use them consistently, you will make some giant leaps in feeling good about yourself.

11. List your good qualities and past successes.

Sometimes we get too focused on our negatives, and we forget to notice our good qualities! So take some time to sit down and write out why you are an awesome person. Are you a great mom? Are you smart? Do you have a career you enjoy? A great marriage? Whatever it is, write it down. What have you been successful doing in the past? Review these daily to remind yourself how you’re making a difference in the world.

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12. Take action!

While I appreciate you all reading this article, it will do you no good if you don’t actually take my advice! Don’t just share this on your Facebook page and forget about it. Do something! Take action! Nothing will change unless you do. It all starts with a decision. So just do it!

More by this author

Carol Morgan

Dr. Carol Morgan is the owner of HerSideHisSide.com, a communication professor, dating & relationship coach, TV personality, speaker, and author.

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Last Updated on July 20, 2021

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)

How to Overcome the Fear of Public Speaking (A Step-by-Step Guide)
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You’re standing behind the curtain, just about to make your way on stage to face the many faces half-shrouded in darkness in front of you. As you move towards the spotlight, your body starts to feel heavier with each step. A familiar thump echoes throughout your body – your heartbeat has gone off the charts.

Don’t worry, you’re not the only one with glossophobia(also known as speech anxiety or the fear of speaking to large crowds). Sometimes, the anxiety happens long before you even stand on stage.

Your body’s defence mechanism responds by causing a part of your brain to release adrenaline into your blood – the same chemical that gets released as if you were being chased by a lion.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you overcome your fear of public speaking:

1. Prepare yourself mentally and physically

According to experts, we’re built to display anxiety and to recognize it in others. If your body and mind are anxious, your audience will notice. Hence, it’s important to prepare yourself before the big show so that you arrive on stage confident, collected and ready.

“Your outside world is a reflection of your inside world. What goes on in the inside, shows on the outside.” – Bob Proctor

Exercising lightly before a presentation helps get your blood circulating and sends oxygen to the brain. Mental exercises, on the other hand, can help calm the mind and nerves. Here are some useful ways to calm your racing heart when you start to feel the butterflies in your stomach:

Warming up

If you’re nervous, chances are your body will feel the same way. Your body gets tense, your muscles feel tight or you’re breaking in cold sweat. The audience will notice you are nervous.

If you observe that this is exactly what is happening to you minutes before a speech, do a couple of stretches to loosen and relax your body. It’s better to warm up before every speech as it helps to increase the functional potential of the body as a whole. Not only that, it increases muscle efficiency, improves reaction time and your movements.

Here are some exercises to loosen up your body before show time:

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  1. Neck and shoulder rolls – This helps relieve upper body muscle tension and pressure as the rolls focus on rotating the head and shoulders, loosening the muscle. Stress and anxiety can make us rigid within this area which can make you feel agitated, especially when standing.
  2. Arm stretches – We often use this part of our muscles during a speech or presentation through our hand gestures and movements. Stretching these muscles can reduce arm fatigue, loosen you up and improve your body language range.
  3. Waist twists – Place your hands on your hips and rotate your waist in a circular motion. This exercise focuses on loosening the abdominal and lower back regions which is essential as it can cause discomfort and pain, further amplifying any anxieties you may experience.

Stay hydrated

Ever felt parched seconds before speaking? And then coming up on stage sounding raspy and scratchy in front of the audience? This happens because the adrenaline from stage fright causes your mouth to feel dried out.

To prevent all that, it’s essential we stay adequately hydrated before a speech. A sip of water will do the trick. However, do drink in moderation so that you won’t need to go to the bathroom constantly.

Try to avoid sugary beverages and caffeine, since it’s a diuretic – meaning you’ll feel thirstier. It will also amplify your anxiety which prevents you from speaking smoothly.

Meditate

Meditation is well-known as a powerful tool to calm the mind. ABC’s Dan Harris, co-anchor of Nightline and Good Morning America weekend and author of the book titled10% Happier , recommends that meditation can help individuals to feel significantly calmer, faster.

Meditation is like a workout for your mind. It gives you the strength and focus to filter out the negativity and distractions with words of encouragement, confidence and strength.

Mindfulness meditation, in particular, is a popular method to calm yourself before going up on the big stage. The practice involves sitting comfortably, focusing on your breathing and then bringing your mind’s attention to the present without drifting into concerns about the past or future – which likely includes floundering on stage.

Here’s a nice example of guided meditation before public speaking:

2. Focus on your goal

One thing people with a fear of public speaking have in common is focusing too much on themselves and the possibility of failure.

Do I look funny? What if I can’t remember what to say? Do I look stupid? Will people listen to me? Does anyone care about what I’m talking about?’

Instead of thinking this way, shift your attention to your one true purpose – contributing something of value to your audience.

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Decide on the progress you’d like your audience to make after your presentation. Notice their movements and expressions to adapt your speech to ensure that they are having a good time to leave the room as better people.

If your own focus isn’t beneficial and what it should be when you’re speaking, then shift it to what does. This is also key to establishing trust during your presentation as the audience can clearly see that you have their interests at heart.[1]

3. Convert negativity to positivity

There are two sides constantly battling inside of us – one is filled with strength and courage while the other is doubt and insecurities. Which one will you feed?

‘What if I mess up this speech? What if I’m not funny enough? What if I forget what to say?’

It’s no wonder why many of us are uncomfortable giving a presentation. All we do is bring ourselves down before we got a chance to prove ourselves. This is also known as a self-fulfilling prophecy – a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it already is. If you think you’re incompetent, then it will eventually become true.

Motivational coaches tout that positive mantras and affirmations tend to boost your confidents for the moments that matter most. Say to yourself: “I’ll ace this speech and I can do it!”

Take advantage of your adrenaline rush to encourage positive outcome rather than thinking of the negative ‘what ifs’.

Here’s a video of Psychologist Kelly McGonigal who encourages her audience to turn stress into something positive as well as provide methods on how to cope with it:

4. Understand your content

Knowing your content at your fingertips helps reduce your anxiety because there is one less thing to worry about. One way to get there is to practice numerous times before your actual speech.

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However, memorizing your script word-for-word is not encouraged. You can end up freezing should you forget something. You’ll also risk sounding unnatural and less approachable.

“No amount of reading or memorizing will make you successful in life. It is the understanding and the application of wise thought that counts.” – Bob Proctor

Many people unconsciously make the mistake of reading from their slides or memorizing their script word-for-word without understanding their content – a definite way to stress themselves out.

Understanding your speech flow and content makes it easier for you to convert ideas and concepts into your own words which you can then clearly explain to others in a conversational manner. Designing your slides to include text prompts is also an easy hack to ensure you get to quickly recall your flow when your mind goes blank.[2]

One way to understand is to memorize the over-arching concepts or ideas in your pitch. It helps you speak more naturally and let your personality shine through. It’s almost like taking your audience on a journey with a few key milestones.

5. Practice makes perfect

Like most people, many of us are not naturally attuned to public speaking. Rarely do individuals walk up to a large audience and present flawlessly without any research and preparation.

In fact, some of the top presenters make it look easy during showtime because they have spent countless hours behind-the-scenes in deep practice. Even great speakers like the late John F. Kennedy would spend months preparing his speech beforehand.

Public speaking, like any other skill, requires practice – whether it be practicing your speech countless of times in front of a mirror or making notes. As the saying goes, practice makes perfect!

6. Be authentic

There’s nothing wrong with feeling stressed before going up to speak in front of an audience.

Many people fear public speaking because they fear others will judge them for showing their true, vulnerable self. However, vulnerability can sometimes help you come across as more authentic and relatable as a speaker.

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Drop the pretence of trying to act or speak like someone else and you’ll find that it’s worth the risk. You become more genuine, flexible and spontaneous, which makes it easier to handle unpredictable situations – whether it’s getting tough questions from the crowd or experiencing an unexpected technical difficulty.

To find out your authentic style of speaking is easy. Just pick a topic or issue you are passionate about and discuss this like you normally would with a close family or friend. It is like having a conversation with someone in a personal one-to-one setting. A great way to do this on stage is to select a random audience member(with a hopefully calming face) and speak to a single person at a time during your speech. You’ll find that it’s easier trying to connect to one person at a time than a whole room.

With that said, being comfortable enough to be yourself in front of others may take a little time and some experience, depending how comfortable you are with being yourself in front of others. But once you embrace it, stage fright will not be as intimidating as you initially thought.

Presenters like Barack Obama are a prime example of a genuine and passionate speaker:

7. Post speech evaluation

Last but not the least, if you’ve done public speaking and have been scarred from a bad experience, try seeing it as a lesson learned to improve yourself as a speaker.

Don’t beat yourself up after a presentation

We are the hardest on ourselves and it’s good to be. But when you finish delivering your speech or presentation, give yourself some recognition and a pat on the back.

You managed to finish whatever you had to do and did not give up. You did not let your fears and insecurities get to you. Take a little more pride in your work and believe in yourself.

Improve your next speech

As mentioned before, practice does make perfect. If you want to improve your public speaking skills, try asking someone to film you during a speech or presentation. Afterwards, watch and observe what you can do to improve yourself next time.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself after every speech:

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  • How did I do?
  • Are there any areas for improvement?
  • Did I sound or look stressed?
  • Did I stumble on my words? Why?
  • Was I saying “um” too often?
  • How was the flow of the speech?

Write everything you observed down and keep practicing and improving. In time, you’ll be able to better manage your fears of public speaking and appear more confident when it counts.

If you want even more tips about public speaking or delivering a great presentation, check out these articles too:

Reference

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