You are Good Enough – How to Get your Self Esteem Where it Should Be
As an entrepreneur, I am blessed with meeting incredible women every day. My network is constantly expanding beyond my wildest dreams. Many women and men I have met have overcome crazy obstacles including coming to Canada with nothing and facing horrible discrimination. When I think of my own story, it makes me feel like I had it easy, although as a child and young adult the pain of not feeling smart enough really did a number on my self-esteem. I struggle with not measuring up to the amazing people within my stellar Women in Biz Network community. The difference now is that I won’t allow that inner critic to rule my life. I now face down my insecurities with loving self-compassion. This week I exhibited at a conference, taking this on is a lot of hard work. I find that when I am “on” all day at a show telling my story and sharing my services I walk away feeling exhausted. It takes me days to recover. In the past, I would have pushed myself to just keep going and not rest – just move on to the next thing without any reflection. Not anymore, now I listen to myself when I feel tired and give
myself permission to take a step back without going into self-judgement that I should be doing more. I am really proud of my progress.
According to Good Therapy, a survey was conducted in 2016, indicating that69% of women and 65% of girls feel pressured to attain an unrealistic standard of “beauty.”Click To Tweet
(I see this all the time when I take pictures of women at my events – they hate seeing their picture.) It makes me sad. I used to have the same response too but now I push back and say “that’s me here in this moment” – “no judgment Leigh” I say ). I then post it – in the past I would have deleted that photo. Take this silly pic, for example, my eyes are closed – it is toward the end of the day so I look tired but it was a moment. So I went with it.
Social media can also contribute to an impaired view of self-worth, as many people tend to compare their lives with others and may feel they come up lacking. Seeing only happy moments and pictures posted online can create a discrepancy in what people would like to see in their own lives and the reality of what is happening. Understanding that social media portray an unrealistic and limited view of people’s experiences is important to keep in mind.
Because low self-esteem can be so harmful, finding ways to feel better about ourselves and our abilities is vital to our well-being. The following are some methods that can be used to help increase self-esteem:
- Don’t beat yourself up. A common issue for people with low self-esteem is negative self-talk. If you have a tendency to beat yourself up, try to replace the negative inner dialogue with positive statements about yourself. Look for your strengths and focus on these, rather than on your weaknesses. When you catch yourself berating yourself, replace the negative self-talk with positive affirmations about yourself.
- Don’t compare yourself to other people. We are all special and unique, with different gifts to offer. Trying to become like others or to measure up to others’ standards can be exhausting and make us feel inadequate. Concentrate instead on being the best version of yourself that you can be and on improving on the innate skills you already possess.
- Avoid perfectionism. We are all human and therefore imperfect. Striving for an idealized version of yourself can be detrimental, as you will never be able to achieve perfection. While having attainable goals to work toward is important, don’t feel as if you have to do everything perfectly. Failure can actually be beneficial at times, as we may learn valuable lessons that can help us with future endeavors.
- Develop a healthier relationship with your body. If you tend to struggle with body image issues, work toward developing a better outlook by focusing on health rather than on weight. Choose healthy eating options whenever possible without going overboard. In addition, find an activity you enjoy that you can commit to on a regular basis. This could be going for a daily walk after work, taking a kickboxing or yoga class, or working out at the gym.
- Limit your use of social media. Try to avoid spending too much time on social media, as this can lead to unrealistic expectations regarding relationships and lifestyles. Remember that most people only post pictures that make their lives appear happy and fun, but that this is not an accurate representation of their experience as a whole. Spending too much time looking at what others are doing also means we are spending less time enjoying our own lives.
- Set attainable goals. Determining what to focus on in our lives is important, so take some time to set some goals for yourself and break these down into small steps that can gradually help you accomplish them. Feeling we are making progress toward our dreams can help to boost our confidence levels and make us feel good about ourselves.
- Meet with a counselor. If self-esteem issues have become a serious problem in your life and/or have led to depression, anxiety, substance abuse, or an eating disorder, you may want to consider meeting with a therapist in order to work on healing any inner wounds and improving your self-image.
Although low self-esteem has become commonplace in our society, there are ways we can work on developing a healthier sense of self. Try some or all of the ideas listed above to increase your self-confidence and start to feel better about yourself. If you want support, contact a licensed therapist.
New Dove research finds beauty pressures up, and women and girls calling for change. (2016, June 21). Retrieved from http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/new-dove-research-finds-beauty-pressures-up-and-women-and-girls-calling-for-change-583743391.html