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3 Ways to Permanently Increase Your Self-Esteem

3 Ways to Permanently Increase Your Self-Esteem

There aren’t many things that are more important to your well-being than your self-esteem. I describe self-esteem as the reputation your consciousness has with itself: whether you think you are worthy of happiness or not depends on your self-esteem—it dictates how much you value yourself and your life.

For you, as an individual, there is nothing more important than valuing yourself and your life. Everything depends on it. The happiness of your family depends on it. It determines how you will interact with your environment, and whether or not that interaction is going to be mostly positive or mostly negative.

Here are three things you can start doing today to increase your self confidence. These are’t quick fixes; they will work, but it’s going to take a little time. It’s worth sticking it out to the end because when they do work, the changes in your mindset and your self-esteem will stay with you for life.

Get to Know Yourself

Who are you? What motivates you? What saddens you? Why are you driven by one thing but not another thing? Why do you feel upset in one situation and not in another situation? What are your values and beliefs? Where did they come from?

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This introspection is going to be exhausting at first, but once you make it a habit to question every emotion that you have and validate it, you’ll begin to see a pattern. This pattern will be a map to the source of any negative emotions.

Once you find the source, kill it and have no mercy. It has no business bringing you down. It’s important to be hard on the gremlins that want to destroy you, but you also need to have compassion for yourself. Never talk down to yourself or abuse yourself. Repeat this process until you know yourself inside and out; until you understand everything you feel and why you feel it.

Then repeat it again until you understand everything you do and why you do it.

When you discover something poisonous, you have to get rid of it. It takes a while to eliminate a behavior/thought/habit you’ve had for a long time, but it’s not impossible, and doing so is essential to the quality of your life and the lives of those around you.

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Put Yourself First, Always

I know that this sounds counter-intuitive to everything you’ve been taught about being a good person, but I promise you that if you want to build your self-esteem and keep it for the rest of your life, then the first thing you have to do is put yourself first. Before everything.

When you put yourself first you acknowledge that you’re worth it. Whatever “it” is.

For example, if someone asked you to watch their cat for a weekend, and you hate cats, then you should say no. If the benefit you are going to get out of watching the cat (seeing your friend happy/feeling good about doing a good deed) is not going to outweigh the problems that it’s going to bring you (you hate cats with a fiery passion) then don’t do it. Take care of yourself first.

On the other hand, if this person is your daughter and making her happy outweighs the agony of the cat’s presence in your house, then do it.

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Do what makes you feel the best without hurting anyone else. Don’t let anyone call you selfish—they cannot expect you to sacrifice yourself for them. Asking you to do so means they are telling you that they are worth more than you are, and that will bring down your self confidence.

The most confident people in the world take care of themselves first. After they’ve done a good job with that, then they start to give.Happy people give naturally. Don’t underestimate the greatness that is the human being—we are inherently good; you are inherently good.

Don’t accept undeserved guilt.

One of the worst things that you can do for your self-esteem is to accept guilt for something when you did nothing to deserve it.

Let’s take the example from above. Say you told your daughter that you would absolutely not watch her cat, because her cat scratches you, pees in your air ducts, and smells like a garbage can. You hate it and you just won’t do it. Don’t let her make you feel guilty for not wanting to do it, even if she says, “But you’re my mom! Who else am I going to go to but my mom! You’re supposed to be there for me!”

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Being there for her does not include allowing yourself to suffer because she wants to go away for a weekend. Put the dang cat in a kennel and be done with it! Your daughter isn’t going to die or suffer any major injury. Put your foot down and make her respect your limits and boundaries—you’re not a doormat.

Bottom Line

It all boils down to how well you know yourself and how well you treat yourself. As I said earlier, your self-esteem is the reputation you have with your inner self. Make sure that reputation is good by taking care of it and treating it with respect. Never put it on the backburner, never make it feel bad for no reason, and make an effort to get to know it.

If you do those three things consistently, your reputation will skyrocket.

 

 

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The Gentle Art of Saying No

The Gentle Art of Saying No

No!

It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

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But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

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What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

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But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here are the Top 10 tips for learning the Gentle Art of Saying No:

  1. Value your time. Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”
  2. Know your priorities. Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time? For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.
  3. Practice saying no. Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.
  4. Don’t apologize. A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.
  5. Stop being nice. Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets. Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.
  6. Say no to your boss. Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning. But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.
  7. Pre-empting. It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting, “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”
  8. Get back to you. Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them: “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.” At least you gave it some consideration.
  9. Maybe later. If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say, “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].” Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.
  10. It’s not you, it’s me. This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time. Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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