Self esteem is the value we assign to ourselves, the degree to which we love and take care of ourselves, the respect we have for ourselves and an external indicator of our personal worth. Our esteem or our estimate of ourselves can be high or low depending upon what we feel about ourselves in any number of circumstances or environments. Our beliefs about ourselves and what we are capable of are learned from birth, many of these early beliefs are the foundations for the ways we perceive ourselves to be throughout our lives and positively or negatively affect our self esteem. Therefore self esteem is a learned state of mind and can be coached from poor to healthy states.
Low Self Esteem:
Low self esteem manifests itself in many guises including poor or low self worth, feelings and thoughts of ourselves as being undeserving and unimportant. We distrust ourselves and are indecisive and unassertive, we fear being wrong or making mistakes and focus all our efforts on reinforcing our weaknesses and inabilities. We talk ourselves down and constantly undermine any successes as “luck” or “that wasn’t like me”. These self deprecating beliefs and words evidence themselves in our attitude and behaviour in our daily lives; avoiding any circumstance that might stretch or pressure us for fear that we may fail leading to criticism which we cannot tolerate. Approval is high on our agenda and we will often put others needs before our own no matter the personal cost.
“Recent studies have shown that contrary to popular opinion, people with low self esteem are always very sure of themselves. This manifests in their conviction that they are worthless and inadequate”. Mark Tyrell, Co author of the Self Confidence Trainer offers this procedure for raising low self esteem; “help them be less sure of themselves by countering the evidence regarding their worthlessness. This evidence needs to emerge subtly, arguing with someone who is so sure of themselves will only break rapport. They need proof that unsettles their certainty that they are so “defective”.
It should be noted that the common belief that confidence and high self esteem are to be found residing happily side by side is not necessarily true. It is possible to be low in self esteem but be high in confidence, many well known celebrities spring to mind including Marilyn Monroe, Princess Diana and Michael Jackson. So having confidence and public adulation is no guarantee of high levels of self esteem.While the underlying dynamics of low self esteem are anger, self loathing and low self worth it can also be displayed superficially as arrogance and boastfulness combined with acts of denigration or manipulation and intimidation of others. This is known as false self esteem or neurotic pride which is a sense of personal value based on achievements, power and status or influence.
Magic thinking patterns
This dislike and mistrust of ourselves is a learned process developed from many years of negative feedback, where we have become more aware of our weaknesses and shortcomings. As a result we continue to focus on every little perceived flaw and take little or no notice of any successes. We will continually filter and sieve through our thoughts and actions to find the evidence to support these negative beliefs about ourselves and the cycle will go on until constructively disputed.
Healthy Self Esteem to Follow.