“I’m starting with the man in the mirror. I’m asking him to make a change.”- Michael Jackson
Let’s talk about the man (erm, woman) in the mirror. What is your reflection telling you? Positive? Negative? Or are you avoiding mirrors? What about your internal mirror?
Self-esteem issues are a big deal with teenagers struggling to come to terms with the future, to figure themselves out, or ensure they conform to social norms. However, low self-esteem does not discriminate. It can affect the nurse in your doctor’s office (or the doctor in your doctor’s office), the CEO of your company, your friend who always seems to have things figured out, or the neighbor with the amazing landscaping. Sometimes we highlight our positives to cover up our insecurities.
Do you have low self-esteem?
- Do you tell yourself more negative things about yourself than positive?
- Do you believe other people when they are critical of something that you were proud of accomplishing?
- Are you constantly comparing yourself to others or to standards others/society have set, then feeling you fall short, don’t measure up, or fail?
- Do you care more about what others think of you or how others perceive you than you care about how you perceive, think about, view, or treat yourself?
- Are you always over-analyzing what others say or perceiving harmless comments as criticism? This is called negative self-talk.
Low self-esteem and negative self-talk can affect your life in so many ways. Those negative thoughts, feelings, and affirmations can manifest themselves as depressed mood, shame, anxiety, guilt, and anger. The problem with that internal critic, is that you cannot escape yourself. So how do you quiet that negative noise?
Three tips for raising that low self-esteem:
- Focus on the positive: This seems simple, but if negative self-talk is the issue at hand, then it makes sense that turning it into positive self-talk would help to turn the tide
- Keep connected with those who know your positives. Surround yourself with positive people.
- Self-care: Self-care is NOT selfish. Self-care is necessary for keeping yourself recharged.
I think it goes without saying that all three of these are small, yet difficult steps. I think it goes without saying that if you could easily do any of the things on this list, then you would have. Change is hard. Changing the way you perceive and talk to yourself is harder. But making the decision that you’re ready to may be the hardest. Tell yourself you’re worth the work. And if you need someone to talk to, or validate that you are enough, I’d love to listen.