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How You Can Improve Your Self-Esteem Instantly

How You Can Improve Your Self-Esteem Instantly

I recently found out that I created my own self-esteem!   Then I learned how to re-create my impressions of past events and banish negative mental images: it changed my life.

Self-esteem was a problem for me as far back as I can remember.  I know now that I wasn’t bad, stupid, incompetent, unworthy, or any of the other negative descriptions I pinned on myself, and neither were you. Healthy self-esteem isn’t something we’re born with, like brown hair or blue eyes; it is an attitude that is learned and developed over time, and our interactions with people—especially our parents—teach us to evaluate our own self worth.

Nothing can bring you peace but yourself.

    Parents will inevitably complain about their children’s behavior; after all, children have limited self control—they make mistakes, and push boundaries.  Yet, even while feeling upset by their children’s conduct, parents need to remember to correct and criticize the behavior, not the child.  The behavior might have been bad, not the person, but the child might take the criticism personally, believing themselves to be stupid or incompetent, rather than recognizing that it was the behavior being corrected.

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    All personal beliefs about ourselves are created inside our own minds, and we create the meaning of events in our childhood by our own interpretation of them.

    We create the meanings of events, and those meanings create our beliefs about ourselves. Those beliefs about ourselves create our self-esteem. All of us create our own sense of worth (or confidence) by the meanings and significance we attribute to events in our lives. You can improve your self-esteem and re-create your life by changing the meanings and beliefs you ascribed to experiences you had as a child.

    Improve Your Self-Esteem

    There are four steps to changing your self-esteem for the better:

    1. Learn to recognize the negative statements you believe about yourself.
    2. Discover the events in your life that led you to acquire these opinions.
    3. Formulate alternative interpretations for those events.
    4. Relive the events using the new positive interpretations.

    What behaviors do you criticize yourself about the most?  Answering that question will help you discern negative self-beliefs.  Then, think how your beliefs about yourself affect your behavior.

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    For example, I used to berate myself about not speaking up and giving my opinion or ideas during office meetings or even in casual conversations with a group of friends. I was afraid of sounding stupid or incompetent and feared that people would think exactly the same thing about my remarks. I didn’t really think that I was stupid—I just thought that everyone else was better and more important, so, my belief was that I wasn’t good enough or important.

    Discover the events in your life that led you to acquire these opinions.

    Look back to your early childhood for occasions where your negative self-beliefs were formed as a consequence of your hurt feelings. Since most of your early interactions with others were with your parents, that is a good place to start.This does not put blame on your parents; they were doing the best they could. Besides, you were the one who created those meanings, not your parents.

    Formulate alternative interpretations for those events.

    Write another version and put a different spin on those events by looking at the four W’s: Who, What, When, and Where.

    Who was involved?

    In retrospect, your parents were almost certainly the ones involved in those situations simply because the majority of your childhood was spent in their company.  Perhaps pointing out faults with people or things was a personality trait that your mom and dad shared.  If that’s why they routinely found fault with you, then their nit-picking was more a reflection of their own limitations, not yours.  Understand that their criticism had nothing to do with whether you were good enough or not and that other people’s opinions would not have been as judgmental.

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    What were they unhappy about?

    Your parents didn’t approve of your behavior at times, but that didn’t mean that they didn’t love you.  Making mistakes is part of learning and growing; every human makes them.  Recognize that there is no correlation between the occasional blunders you made and your worthiness as a person.

    When did these events happen?

    More than likely, a lot of water has passed under the bridge since those events occurred.  Realize that you have grown and learned a lot since then.  Your knack for overcoming difficulties and rising above the challenges that life throws at you has improved considerably.

    Where did the events happen?

    These incidents probably happened at home; after all, that was where you spent most of your early childhood.  Remind yourself that the experiences that triggered your negative self-talk might have occurred at home only, not in other surroundings.

    Develop at least four positive interpretations for each of the pivotal life events that you discover.

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    Re-live the events using the new positive interpretations.

    With each incident, re-live it and replace your original meaning with the new positive interpretations.  Realize that your parents’ shortcomings cannot limit your beliefs, self-reliance, or ability to succeed.  You were—and are—good, smart, competent, and worthy.

    If you truly re-live those past events, replacing the negative with positive meanings, you will feel so much better about yourself.  That’s how you re-create and improve your self-esteem.

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    Last Updated on January 3, 2020

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    The 10 Essential Habits of Positive People

    Are you waiting for life events to turn out the way you want so that you can feel more positive about your life? Do you find yourself having pre-conditions to your sense of well-being, thinking that certain things must happen for you to be happier? Do you think there is no way that your life stresses can make you anything other than “stressed out” and that other people just don’t understand?  If your answer is “yes” to any of these questions, you might find yourself lingering in the land of negativity for too long!

    The following are some tips to keep positive no matter what comes your way. This post will help you stop looking for what psychologists call “positivity” in all the wrong places!  Here are the ten essential habits of positive people.

    1. Positive people don’t confuse quitting with letting go.

    Instead of hanging on to ideas, beliefs, and even people that are no longer healthy for them, they trust their judgement to let go of negative forces in their lives.  Especially in terms of relationships, they subscribe to The Relationship Prayer which goes:

     I will grant myself the ability to trust the healthy people in my life … 

    To set limits with, or let go of, the negative ones … 

    And to have the wisdom to know the DIFFERENCE!

     2.  Positive people don’t just have a good day – they make a good day.

    Waiting, hoping and wishing seldom have a place in the vocabulary of positive individuals. Rather, they use strong words that are pro-active and not reactive. Passivity leads to a lack of involvement, while positive people get very involved in constructing their lives. They work to make changes to feel better in tough times rather than wish their feelings away.

    3. For the positive person, the past stays in the past.

    Good and bad memories alike stay where they belong – in the past where they happened. They don’t spend much time pining for the good ol’ days because they are too busy making new memories now. The negative pulls from the past are used not for self-flagellation or unproductive regret, but rather productive regret where they use lessons learned as stepping stones towards a better future.

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    4. Show me a positive person and I can show you a grateful person.

    The most positive people are the most grateful people.  They do not focus on the potholes of their lives.  They focus on the pot of gold that awaits them every day, with new smells, sights, feelings and experiences.  They see life as a treasure chest full of wonder.

    5. Rather than being stuck in their limitations, positive people are energized by their possibilities.

    Optimistic people focus on what they can do, not what they can’t do.  They are not fooled to think that there is a perfect solution to every problem, and are confident that there are many solutions and possibilities.  They are not afraid to attempt new solutions to old problems, rather than spin their wheels expecting things to be different this time.  They refuse to be like Charlie Brown expecting that this time Lucy will not pull the football from him!

    6. Positive people do not let their fears interfere with their lives!

    Positive people have observed that those who are defined and pulled back by their fears never really truly live a full life. While proceeding with appropriate caution, they do not let fear keep them from trying new things. They realize that even failures are necessary steps for a successful life. They have confidence that they can get back up when they are knocked down by life events or their own mistakes, due to a strong belief in their personal resilience.

    7. Positive people smile a lot!

    When you feel positive on the inside it is like you are smiling from within, and these smiles are contagious. Furthermore, the more others are with positive people, the more they tend to smile too! They see the lightness in life, and have a sense of humor even when it is about themselves. Positive people have a high degree of self-respect, but refuse to take themselves too seriously!

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    8. People who are positive are great communicators.

    They realize that assertive, confident communication is the only way to connect with others in everyday life.  They avoid judgmental, angry interchanges, and do not let someone else’s blow up give them a reason to react in kind. Rather, they express themselves with tact and finesse.  They also refuse to be non-assertive and let people push them around. They refuse to own problems that belong to someone else.

    9. Positive people realize that if you live long enough, there are times for great pain and sadness.

    One of the most common misperceptions about positive people is that to be positive, you must always be happy. This can not be further from the truth. Anyone who has any depth at all is certainly not happy all the time.  Being sad, angry, disappointed are all essential emotions in life. How else would you ever develop empathy for others if you lived a life of denial and shallow emotions? Positive people do not run from the gamut of emotions, and accept that part of the healing process is to allow themselves to experience all types of feelings, not only the happy ones. A positive person always holds the hope that there is light at the end of the darkness.  

    10. Positive person are empowered people – they refuse to blame others and are not victims in life.

    Positive people seek the help and support of others who are supportive and safe.They limit interactions with those who are toxic in any manner, even if it comes to legal action and physical estrangement such as in the case of abuse. They have identified their own basic human rights, and they respect themselves too much to play the part of a victim. There is no place for holding grudges with a positive mindset. Forgiveness helps positive people become better, not bitter.

    How about you?  How many habits of positive people do you personally find in yourself?  If you lack even a few of these 10 essential habits, you might find that the expected treasure at the end of the rainbow was not all that it was cracked up to be. How could it — if you keep on bringing a negative attitude around?

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    I wish you well in keeping positive, because as we all know, there is certainly nothing positive about being negative!

    Featured photo credit: Janaína Castelo Branco via flickr.com

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