‘’I feel that I am not good enough, I don’t deserve this and that… I am not worthy of love, a career, income”… This is a consistent internal dialogue that you experience when you are living with low self-esteem.
You are never enough, period!
When you have made a mistake, it feels like you deserved to be punished or humiliated somehow for the rest of your life. How do I know this?
I have lived with this dialogue…
Low self-esteem can be very destructive because it controls how you think & feel about yourself and the world/your environment. This impacts the behaviours that you then employ as a result of the perception you have about yourself. You can imagine the outcome of the thoughts, feelings and then actions as a result of a poor opinion you have about yourself. Devastatingly negative!
At the core of poor self-esteem is a negative self-belief pattern that has been nurtured over the years, and it states: YOU ARE NOT GOOD ENOUGH.
As a child, you arrive in this world enough, you have everything you need until one day you learn from either your parents, society, media, or other children that you are not enough.
You start to embrace these external messages that:
- you are not perfect;
- you are not tall enough;
- you don’t have the right face or body shape;
- you are not clever like your sister, etc.
The sad reality is that you start believing all these messages that were never created by you in the first place.
You start to own them.
How can we turn them around, how can you then live authentically with a healthy self-esteem? Let’s look at 10 techniques that I have practiced with myself and with my clients over the years and have stood the test of time:
1. Understand the soup you are cooked in
This is about understanding how you became a person that lives with low self-esteem:
- What influences you to think poorly of who you are?
- Where did you learn to think you deserve less?
This is powerful because once you understand your context, your background to how you became a person that lives with low self-esteem, you can start to take ownership of the current reality. You also come to understand that these messages were in some, if not most instances, never created by you. You own someone else’s view of yourself!
I remember the sobering feeling that I experienced: it was liberating to know the role that I played and that I can give myself permission to write the future differently.
2. Manage your inner dialogue
Be in touch with the inner conversations that take place in your head, because if they continue to live in your headspace unmanaged, point 1 will not matter. Managing your negative self-talk/ inner critic requires you to challenge the messages, beliefs, patterns and all the nuances that perpetuate a negative self talk.
I had a client who would undermine her own success and whenever she received positive feedback or opportunities, she downplayed them, including laughing off the feedback with disbelief. The conversation in her head would go like this: “how could they ask me to come and speak at such a prestigious event, do they know how crazy I am, maybe they ran out of options and I was the last resort”?
What follows is self-sabotage tactics, like delaying to accept the invitation or making up all sorts of excuses to not show up at all. Negative self-talk that is not managed, is like a wild dog: it creates havoc in your mind and its main purpose is to keep you away from experiencing life and you give it permission to keep you in jail. Wear an analytical hat because some of these negative beliefs are based on one occasion/ evidence and therefore it seems irrational to even base your decision to believe that you are ugly on someone who once said you have a goat’s chin!
3. Define how you want to be and how you want to show up in the world
Once you know the intention of your inner critic and the role you have played in the past and present, it is time to write the future that is in line with who you truly are. When we live with low self-esteem, we sometimes do not show up as our authentic self. For example, you don’t challenge your boss or colleague in a meeting because you are afraid of how they will respond and the rejection that comes with possibly offending someone.
Low-esteemers rely heavily on external validation and that can be a very excruciating way of living your life!
4. Build a loving relationship with yourself
This is a great opportunity to start to bring a positive voice in your inner dialogue. We’ll call it your inner mentor and its purpose is to hold a different mirror or perspective. Building a loving relationship is about knowing who you truly are and developing practices that enhance what already exists. This requires you to be your own best friend through various practices that include:
- giving yourself positive feedback based on evidence
- getting in touch with what makes you tick
- celebrating what is great and amazing about who you are.
5. Know your strengths, values and talents
This is an antidote when your inner critic starts to make claims with no proof and you can easily challenge the belief when you have all the evidence and knowledge that you are competent.
6. Practice superior self-care
Nurture your internal space with positive reinforcements that are based on facts. This means that standing in front of a mirror reciting “I am worthy” 3 times a day every day with no examples or meaning attached to it, is a fruitless exercise.
I would encourage to you to rather affirm ‘’I am worthy’’ with examples that confirms that, so that when life challenges that same belief, you have enough examples of how you have showed up a worthy person. This technique centers your core beliefs and when the world shakes them negatively, you affirm them with evidence that keeps your core intact, and you continue to have clarity about who you are regardless of external forces that can base their opinions on one encounter.
7. Master self-celebration
When you appreciate what you have done, you send messages to yourself that you are capable, good enough, worthy and deserving. Your mind starts to register the memories that are vital when you are paralysed by fear or feeling unworthy. Celebrating you does not have to be an expensive exercise at the spa, and it can be as small and crazy as jumping with joy when you experience a positive act.
I scream with excitement when I am approached to go and speak at an event or collaborate with other coaches. The feeling and gratitude is instant and your mind registers it immediately, and that feeling stays in your heart and mind.
8. Learn to be kind
‘’How could I have embarrassed myself like that?’’ ‘’I am a fool to have thought I could be successful in my career….’’
When you live with low self-esteem, making a mistake is the worst thing you can do. You torture and belittle yourself for weeks or months and perhaps even years. There is no space to forgive at all: one silly little mistake becomes a reminder of what a bad or unworthy a person you are.
Embrace making mistakes because you are allowing yourself to be vulnerable and we learn who we are and what we are capable of when we make mistakes. Learn to be kind by forgiving yourself and by learning from your experiences.
9. Let perfect evolve
A perfectionist is yearning for love and acceptance and is afraid of rejection. External validation is at the core of their behavior and if no one sees their greatness they nullify everything, and even when someone validates them they still do not feel it is good enough. They are never satisfied with anything because it must be perfect to be accepted, and the sad reality is that perfect is illusive.
I encourage you, as a recovering perfectionist, to let perfect evolve.
This means setting measures of success and if everything ticks, celebrating it and looking at ways of making it better next time, rather than looking for faults. Playing perfect kills your self-esteem because you live with an “I am not enough dialogue”. Instead, I would encourage you to learn to embrace continuous improvement.
10. Use language that affirms high self-esteem
Learn to use language that encourages you to see yourself in a good light. A language that operates from a space of abundance or possibilities, because words create. You can’t be building a healthy self-esteem when you continue to call yourself a fool when you are not happy with an outcome.
You cannot continue to utter ‘’useless’’ when it’s not perfect. Rather focus your language on how can you make it better because you are starting to channel your energy towards what you want to create or what you want to be and experience.
In my experience of coaching on self-esteem, I have met many extraordinary human beings that have produced amazing work professionally and personally, but they cannot embrace their greatness because of a few encounters that happened 10+ years ago. The sad reality is that it rules how they live and view their lives.
I have also experienced the beauty and the magic that happens when they start to live consciously with healthy self-esteem:
- Relationships improve
- Love evolves
- Growth accelerates
- Peace and freedom prevails
Why not you, why not me? It’s time to fill up your cup with a healthy self-esteem mindset!
Contact me today for an obligation free 60-minute introductory session.