Close
Behind the scene with an influencer

Strategies for Improving Self Esteem

Remember all the good things you accomplished.

You did extraordinary things!

It is easy to focus on a time when you said something embarrassing during a team meeting.  Yet, you never moved on emotionally. Each time you go over one of those situations, it brings back negativity as if it just happened. 

However, you can use historical memories for your benefit! Focus on the great things you accomplished. Not only do you get a positive boost, but your experiences also help you remember the experiences in a way that you can talk about them much more comfortably during an interview. Looking back at your successes help with crafting well-answered responses to the “Tell me about when ….” situational interview questions.

Avoid using TV/Food/Drugs/Smoking to kill painful memories.

Life is complicated. Sometimes it is easier to deal with unpleasant feelings with a vice such as smoking, drinking, eating, video games, or drugs, to name the most common.

This strategy backfires in two significant ways. First, you damage yourself with your vice. For example, if you use food for emotional support, you consume more calories than you need. You most likely eat foods that are not nutrient-dense, like ice creams and cakes. How often do you hear of someone saying, “My boyfriend broke up with me, and all I want to eat is broccoli.”?

Second, you never resolve the issue. Using a vice for a coping mechanism is akin to sweeping everything under the rug. You never get a resolution because it is challenging or too painful, so you keep going on with your vice in tow.

How do you break the cycle?

There is no shame in seeking therapy. Therapy is not a sign of weakness. A therapist can implement tools and techniques to help you.

Another way to break the cycle is to identify triggers that cause undesired behaviors and develop new positive responses. For example, all you want to do is eat ice cream and go to bed with Netflix after a long stressful day at work. The trigger is the stress of work and wanting to give up on taking better care of yourself. Stress is not always avoidable; it is a part of life. However, our stress response is something we can control. Instead of eating the ice cream, cook a meal within your diet, and make it more decadent or gourmet. Or you can go for a walk around the block and focus on your surroundings.

Journal your thoughts

Journaling helps you stop and understand why you think the way you do.  You can ask yourself questions and answer them in a fluid, unrestricted format.  Only you can see the questions and answers.  Once completed, you can destroy the thoughts to keep yourself private and bring out your most innermost secretive ideas.  Anything short of complete honesty is a waste of time because it does not allow you to get to the root of your thoughts.

Another benefit of journaling is that it allows you to have an outlet for your stresses and anxiety.  The emotional release leads you to have closure with the past better.  Journaling is a part of the next idea: acceptance of the past.

Acceptance of the past and improvement for the future

You cannot change the past; hindsight is 20/20. However, there is power in learning from mistakes. When you are in an interview, interviewers like to know about your success since they are looking for competent workers. They also want to know about your failures and what you learned from them. One of the best signs of maturity is to objectively look at mistakes and develop a plan to ensure the issues do not reoccur.

Exercise

Researchers have well documented the benefits of exercise. Exercise produces energy, which leads to a higher confidence feeling.

If you are depressed about your current health, consistent and dedicated exercise over time produces positive results. Those results boost your confidence.

When you are not feeling your best, start exercising!

Set realistic expectations

Are your expectations accurate and reasonable? When your expectations are outside reasonableness, it is easy to believe the problem is with you and not the unrealistic demands placed on yourself.   For those who are high achievers and driven, unrealistic demands derail the most disciplined person.  When there are 1,440 minutes in a day, is it realistic to account for every minute every day filled with some activity? NO! Life happens, interruptions, or underestimating the time needed to complete a task affect your schedule. Downtime and decompression are required to keep burnout at bay.

How to fix it: Play the Devil’s advocate.

Review your expectations as if someone asked your opinion. Honestly is the key! What would you tell the other person about their expectations?

You can also look at your past performance to determine how long it took to complete a task.  Creating performance baselines assist you with deciding if you are performing at a realistic pace.

Understand that we live in a culture that promotes the idea that you are not good enough

Instagram/Facebook fantasies

Instagram and Facebook are magnets for people feeling their lives are boring and unsuccessful when comparing themselves with the images from social media influencers. Influencers are product/service/idea evangelists whose job is to convert viewers into paid customers.  Influencers go through some effort to make the perfect picture. They pose multiple shots, and Photoshop fixes all the defects that angles and lighting could not hide. Ultimately, the final photographs are advertisements and not based on reality.  Comparing your life with fantasy is a recipe for disaster!

Comparing yourself with the Joneses (Family/Friends/Neighbors)

Ironically, people are keeping up with you. You replaced a fifteen-year-old car with a new (or new to you) SUV. Someone out there is wishing they had a more modern vehicle.

It is not feasible to keep up with the Joneses as there will always be someone wealthier than you buying things you wish you could. There are plenty of people who are not as wealthy as you are, aspiring to be you.

Focus on you, and only you!

You cannot control the actions of others; however, you can control yours.

What you see may not be true happiness or success.

Think about the man who gets a Corvette at 55. It would be easy to assume that he is financially well off. He may be going through a midlife crisis, and he contends buying a sports car will invigorate his midlife crisis and a failed marriage. That Corvette does not sound so great after all.

How to overcome this

Turn off social media. Limit your usage to the bare minimum when you need it. There are numerous benefits from turning off social media that create so many other negative outcomes (loss of time, loss of privacy, loss of societal decency to name a few) that social media should be relegated to something people do when they cannot find anything else do to with themselves.

Understand that your neighbors/friends/family are in different life situations that allow them something positive in their lives. If you feel that you are competing, focus on what you can do to improve yourself. Other people are not on the same life path you are on, and it is not wise to compare apples and broccoli.

Conclusion: Patience with the process

Building your self-esteem takes time!  Some activities produce relatively quick results. On the other hand, deep-rooted issues will take months or even years to overcome.  Like many activities in life, consistent and dedicated work will get results! 

Thank you for reading! I would love to read your thoughts in the comments below!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *