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5 Self Esteem Hacks You Can Use Now

5 Self Esteem Hacks You Can Use Now

You see it every day on your newsfeed, and you probably don’t even question it—by now, it comes as no surprise. The popularity of Facebook has caused a shift in how people perceive themselves; the “like” button has become nothing more than a a self-esteem booster;  a way for people who are low in self-esteem to get a quick fix of validation if they’re feeling low.

Can you see how this can be problematic?

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What’s important is to develop high self-esteem from within, because then, you’re in total control of it, and the effects will be permanent. Developing high self-esteem can (and should) take years and years to develop, but there are shortcuts or, as I like to call them, “hacks” you can use to develop it no time at all. If you practice these 5 hacks on a consistent, daily basis, you’ll notice a difference in your self-esteem in no time at all. In fact, research argues that it only takes 66 days (Lally, Cornelia: 2009), so be sure to commit to it.

Liz Seda did a terrific job in her article “3 ways to permanently increase your self-esteem” and I thought I would elaborate on it with a few more.

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1. Learn to Love Yourself

This isn’t about egoism; you’re not arrogant if you love yourself. In fact, arrogance is often the foundation of low self-esteem and insecurity. Try this exercise: stand in front of the mirror (full length if possible) and tell your reflection everything you love about yourself. Accept what you don’t like about yourself (it may still be something you CAN change) and repeat this exercise either every morning or evening (but be sure to do it in private!). This may feel uncomfortable at first, especially if you’ve never done it before, but change often does.

2. Condition a Positive Mental Attitude (PMA)

Do you socialise with negative people? If so, consider finding new friends. This may seem unfair, but those negative people will simply re-enforce what you don’t like about yourself. People like to socialise with happy, positive people. The reason I wrote condition is because it takes A LOT of practice to be positive. I hate when people say “be positive” because it’s like saying to a struggling business “be affluent”—there’s no strategy, and you always need a stratergy if you want to learn how to hone a skill. Condition a PMA by trying to see the good in every bad situation you encounter. If you look hard enough, you’ll always find one.

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3. Develop an Attitude of Gratitude

The happiest people in life are the ones that look at what they have, not what they don’t have. Similar to the aforementioned exercise, think about what you’re grateful for every day. Don’t just think it, say it aloud and really emotionalise why you’re grateful for it with you’re whole body. It will re-direct your focus and help you to notice more often what’s really good in your life; that which you may have overlooked previously.

4. Catch Your Negative Self-Talk

There are a lot of people who aren’t aware they have a voice in their head (don’t worry, you’re not crazy), but this voice is often negative. Catch your negative self-talk and whenever you hear a negative comment, immediately replace it with a positive one. Write down your most recurring self-talk statements and write counter-active, positive statements. If you hear “no one likes me”,  write down “that’s not true, I know people like me because…” and list the reasons. Your brain is like a computer: whatever command you input, it responds, so if you ask it a question like “why do I always mess up?” your brain will find plenty of examples to support it, but if you ask more empowering questions, it’ll provide you with more resourceful answers.

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5. Celebrate Your Successes

We’re often so busy in life that we seldom take the time to stop and really reflect on what we’ve achieved (regardless of how insignificant you think it is). Take the time once a day to ask yourself what you’re proud of having achieved that day, and revel in it. I recently actualised 4 of my 2013 goals in less than 2 weeks and hadn’t even noticed because I was so caught up in a minor roadblock I’d stumbled upon on a project. Appreciate how far you’ve come and remember that it’s not the outcome that’s always important, but the process.

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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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