We all struggle with ourselves sometimes. It’s part and parcel of being human. Am I enough? is a question that is pretty wide-spread amongst us all and can be found in even the most confident of people. Problems with self-esteem and self-worth can crop up in many areas of our lives. We live in a society where beauty, fashion and social media is consistently present in our lives. We are constantly bombarded with reasons to question our self-worth whether we realise this or not.
Low self-worth has become a habit for some. A person with low-self-worth has a brain programmed to interpret the world in a particular way despite what the reality is and don’t tend to think about questioning it. If good things are happening or nice things are being said the assumption will be that these are one-off events or people are ‘just saying that’ and it won’t resonate with them at all. Having low self-worth will even cause people to misinterpret others’ words and intentions and even go out of their way to see the insult behind the compliment.
But our sense of self-worth typically develops at a young age and we never grow out of the mindset. It can be affected by parenting for example. Particular positive encouragement from parents can create a sense of high self-esteem in a child whereas negativity can cause feelings of low self-worth even if completely unintentional (it’s interesting to note that you are highly likely to develop the same self-worth as a parent or an accumulation of both parents). Social status – what kind of neighbourhood you grew up in, friends you spent time with – can also be an influence.
A lot of the time it’s about individual thinking processes – people with high self-esteem, for example, will interpret new information about themselves as a positive no matter what that information is and people with a low self-esteem will immediately see something as a negative.
The way we perceive ourselves is very intrinsically linked to our happiness so if you feel you’re struggling with how you feel about yourself then what can you do to improve your self-esteem and self-worth?
The answer isn’t an overnight solution. It’s a mind shift but it doesn’t have to be as hard as we believe.
- Realise that what other people think doesn’t matter. Putting too much emphasis on others takes away your own self-worth.
- Don’t assume what people are thinking about you. Realise that how you think about yourself is only in your head. You wouldn’t want someone to assume what you’re thinking so why do this to others?
- Realise that no one really cares. Sounds harsh doesn’t it? But everyone is dealing with their own problems and their own thoughts and they’re really not focusing on what you said, how you look or what you’re doing.
- Don’t hold on to every negative. For every negative in our day there are 10 positives. This is a fact that we struggle to actually see. We are programmed to focus on the one negative thing that happened despite there having been plenty of small, great things too. For example, you always remember the nasty thing someone said to you one time but sweep away and forget all the compliments you’ve also received despite these outweighing dramatically.
- Realise that whatever has happened in your past is in your past. Every day is a new day to accept yourself for who you are. Whatever negative things your parents may have said or bullies taunted you at school about is nothing to do with you. For whatever reasons they also had low self-worth and projected this onto you and most likely onto other people too.
- Everyone has their strengths – even you! It’s important to reflect on your own strengths no matter how small you feel they are. Whether they are physical attributes, sides of your personality or achievements – these are all things people with high self-esteem focus on and they are absolutely no different to you…the only difference is their mindset!
These are only a few observations and there are many, many more. The key is really to realise that other people’s opinions are irrelevant when it comes to your life and your happiness. Happiness starts with you. Life is too short to live in a constant state of self-doubt and feelings of lack in ourselves. We all suffer from this to varying degrees (I include myself in this too!) but just getting on the road to feeling better about ourselves is a massive step in the right direction 🙂