How to Improve Your Self-Esteem
Learn to love yourself
Self-esteem is a fragile thing. It can take some women decades before they learn to love themselves, and other fortunate women grasp this important skill early on. But sadly, some women never do realize their own self worth.
There are exercises to do to boost your own self-esteem and realize that you are a valuable, worthwhile person exactly as you are. Don’t ever let another person make you feel bad about yourself. Insults are always about the other person, not you. If they insult your body, then that usually means that they dislike their own body. If they insult your free-spirited personality, then that typically means they dislike their own uptight self. Keep that in mind the next time someone spews an insult your way and learn to let it bounce off as it should.
What is self-esteem
Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills, Calif. psychotherapist and author of The Self-Aware Parent, said, “Self-esteem as defined in Webster's dictionary means how one values or regards themselves. In my world of psychology, self-esteem is impacted by many factors. How our mothers and fathers relate to us directly impacts our sense of ourselves. For instance, if you had a father who was harshly critical of you on a repeated basis, then you take in the judgmental, harshly critical, punitive self-judge. This is one of the many dynamics that assault a person's self-esteem.”
“If, for example, you had a loving, nurturing mother, you have a good likelihood of taking in the loving supportive aspect of your mother which fortifies your self-esteem. Self-esteem is strengthened by our own accomplishments and achievements. A prerequisite for building a solid foundation of self-esteem is for the individual to establish their own autonomy and independence from their parents. Only after healthy separation is established can we truly begin to feel good about ourselves. How we treat other people, establishing our own careers/income, and having warm, healthy relationships are all solid contributors to our evolving self-esteem,” Walfish said.
How to improve your own self-esteem
“Changing one's self-esteem requires work and a great deal of motivation. To improve your self-esteem you must first replace the harsh self-judge with a benign self-observer. The harsh self-judge is called the Superego. The person has developed too much conscience, guilt, and feeling of “I am bad.” To establish a benign self-judge, you must first turn up the volume of self-awareness. Each time you notice yourself being hard or self-critical you need to gently shrug your shoulders and think, “Oops, there I go again.” You are exchanged criticism with gentle acceptance. No one is perfect. You must accept yourself - flaws and all,” Walfish said.
Beverly Solomon, creative director of Beverly Solomon Design, shares her personal story about self-esteem.
“Before opening my own international art and design firm near Austin, I was a model and then an executive in sales and marketing for Diane von Furstenberg, Revlon and then Ralph Lauren. As you can imagine, success in the fashion industry, in my own business and in my personal life all depended on my having good self-esteem,” Solomon recalled.
Her childhood wasn’t easy. “When I was a child, I caught encephalitis from a mosquito bite and lost part of my memory which made school difficult. Because I looked somewhat out of the mold for that time period, being part Native American, I was often ignored or worse. When I was 18, I was diagnosed with cervical cancer —one of the first young women to have this linked to her mother taking DES. Thanks to the love of God and good doctors, a series of operations, including a hysterectomy, I beat the cancer. So at 18 I had to regain my life.”
Here are some of Solomon’s tips for boosting your self esteem:
- Get in and stay in the best physical shape that you can. Yes, people really do judge you on your looks. But more importantly, being in shape gives you more energy, improves your posture, develops discipline and make you feel better about yourself.
- Learn all that you can about everything. I have made learning part of my daily routine for years. The more you know and understand, the better decisions you can make which ultimately lead to a better life.
- Carry yourself with good posture - sitting, standing and walking. If necessary, take dance or modeling lessons. Looking poised and confident will give you a good feeling about yourself.
- Learn to be a good listener and a good conversationalist. The more confident that you are in communicating with others, the better you will feel about yourself.
- Avoid loser people and loser situations. Do not waste your time with people or situations that are negative.
- Seek out positive people and positive situations.
- Do not allow addictions or immorality to pull you into the sewer. It is hard to have good self esteem when you are morally bankrupt.
- Help others. Participating in activities that make this a better world will make you feel better about yourself.
- Accomplish things.
- Pay your own way. Take responsibility for your life. Do not settle for being a leech on society.
- Be thankful. I start each day giving thanks for the blessings that I have received and for those still to come.
- Study the lives of successful people. You will be amazed at how many overcame huge obstacles and challenges. Study what common characteristics these people share: love of learning, tenacity, hard work, self-discipline, etc.
- While TV and politicians try to tell you that you must depend on others, their product, the government, etc. for your success, understand that ultimately the buck stops with you. The age-old formula for a good life - education, work, ethics, tenacity - still works. It trumps social media and being part of the latest fad.
- Dress well. Do not waste money on fads or dress in a sloppy or trashy manner. Choose clothes that are tastefully designed and well made. You can buy great clothes on sale in the best stores more cheaply than buying the poorly made, faddish, silly stuff at the mall. Yes, clothes really do enhance your image.
And always keep in mind that the ultimate goal of good self-esteem is to have a good life, Solomon said.