10 STEPS TO BUILDING CONFIDENCE and INCREASING SELF-ESTEEM
Self-esteem is not something we are born with, it is something we learn from other people as we grow. Building self-esteem is one of the hardest things to do and it is also one of the easiest things to lose. Our esteem can be low or high depending on whether we are in a positive or negative environment. We start buildingesteem as a child and are greatly influenced by our parents and peers. Throughout our lives, different factors can either increase or damage our esteem.
What can increase our esteem?
- positive people, places and things
- encouragement and love
- support from others
- positive self-talk
What can damage our esteem?
- negative people, places and things
- abuse, neglect, put-downs
- measuring value by how media portrays beauty
- traumatic events and stress
- negative self-talk
It is important to have good self-esteem so you can have a life of happiness and success. If you feel that your confidence is low and your esteem needs a boost, try following these 10 steps:
STEP 1 - SELF-AWARENESS This is a very important step because it will help you discover why you are having problems with your esteem. It requires you to be very honest with yourself and do an evaluation of your life from your childhood to the present. You don't have to do this in a hurry, just take your time, even a few minutes every day, to sit down and think about the source of your problems and face whatever issues are holding you back from being confident.
Everyone has been through some rough times in their lives, some worse than others, and often we try to forget what has happened. It is good to be able to leave the past in the past, but not until you work through any problems. If you have serious issues to resolve and this is too difficult for you to handle on your own, find someone who can help - a doctor, counsellor, local organization, church, support group - there are many professionals who can help you work through these past issues.
STEP 2 - POSITIVE QUALITIES Once you have discovered why you are having problems and are able to work through them, you need to make a list of your special qualities and start focusing on them. Everyone has both positive and negative qualities, but it is important to focus on the positive ones. Write down at least 20 qualities and read them every day to remind yourself how special you are.
STEP 3 - POSITIVE AFFIRMATIONS Write down several positive affirmations (even if you don't necessarily believe them right now) and put them somewhere where you will see them - on your fridge, bathroom mirror, closet door. Then every time you see them, you can read them out loud. If you do this each and every day, several times a day, they will become a habit and you will start to believe them.
Here are some ideas to get you started:
* I feel great
* I like to help people
* I work hard
* I enjoy exercising
* I have talent
* I try my best
STEP 4 - POSITIVE MATERIALS It is easy to allow yourself to think about problems and become negative. Our thoughts can be our worst enemy and we need to try and focus on positive stuff. When you feel your thoughts wandering into bad territory, pick up some positive materials. Read and re-read inspirational books and listen to tapes & CD's, watch DVD's that motivate you over and over again, listen to uplifting music. Do this every day and listen carefully to what the materials are telling you.
STEP 5 - POSITIVE PEOPLE Try to spend most of your time around positive people and put yourself in positive surroundings. This will help you buildconfidence and feel good about yourself.
It is important that we reduce or eliminate the time we spend around negative people or in negative surroundings as it will just bring us down and destroy our esteem. If we have negative family members or close friends, it can be hard to stay away from them, but try to limit the time you spend with them and work hard on becoming more positive. Then in the future, as your self-esteem becomes stronger, you will be able to influence them in a positive way and help build their esteem.
Join an interest group or attend some classes/workshops where you can be around positive people who support and uplift you.
STEP 6 - SELF-ACCEPTANCE Accepting yourself is a hard thing to do when society keeps telling you that you aren't good enough, pretty enough, rich enough, etc. This makes us feel inferior, inadequate and insecure which gradually destroys our self-esteem and gives us a poor self-image. This can also create anxiety and depression for many people which can result in addictions and health issues.
We need to realize that we are all different and have unique skills and qualities. We don't have to be like anyone else or look like anyone else and we need to stop comparing ourselves to others. Instead work on building on your strengths and give yourself praise when you do a good job. Try hard to focus on your good points. Make a list of what is good in your life, review it often and add things as you go.
STEP 7 - POSITIVE SELF-TALK We are basically our own worst enemies. We hear negative words from other people, but we often talk to ourselves in a negative way and we listen to our own words the most. We need to stop using negative self-talk and replace it with positive self-talk.
Write down in any negative thoughts or words in a daily journal. Then take time each day to review these negative thoughts, re-write them into positive words and repeat them over for practice. You can change your thoughts and words if you are aware of them and are actively working on changing them. It takes about 21 consecutive days to create a new habit, so keep practising positive thinking and saying positive words each day until it gets to be a new, positive habit.
STEP 8 - SET REALISTIC GOALS Goals give purpose to life and help you move forward. Successful people set goals and work hard to achieve these goals. Sometimes, they fail, but they learn from their mistakes and keep trying.
Many famous people have failed in life but have reached success because they have strong esteem and never give up. Some of these are Lucille Ball, Einstein, Henry Ford and Walt Disney. Goal planning isn't difficult and there are lots of goal planning books available. Your goal could be anything from taking a course, to exercising daily, to getting out of debt. Start your goal plan today!
STEP 9 - VOLUNTEER Research shows that helping others benefits us in many ways. It improves our health, our outlook on life and decreases the possibility of becoming depressed.
People who volunteer are not only helping the receiver, they are also helping the giver (YOU). When you are thinking about the needs of others, you are not dwelling on your own problems. In many cases, when we see other people's misery, our own problems pale in comparison. So do yourself a favour and volunteer for a local organization!
STEP 10 - ACTION It is pretty easy to read books, listen to people, attend workshops and make plans for the future. We can learn all sorts of things and become full of knowledge. The hard part is actually doing something with the knowledge we have.
It takes a lot of work to follow through on a diet plan or a future goal. But if we don't do anything with what we have learned, our lives won't get better and we will stay stuck right where we are.
People can help us, encourage us and support us, but if we want to move ahead in life, we have to do the work! Nobody can change us, only we can do that. So now it is time to take action and start living the rest of your life POSITIVELY.