Self-Esteem: Your Weight-Loss Maker or Breaker?
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Seven steps to better self-esteem
Self-esteem isn’t something set in concrete; if you want to improve your self-esteem you can. But it also doesn’t happen overnight. Finding the skills to manage your self-esteem takes time, commitment, support, and sometimes professional assistance.
Ultimately, improving your self-esteem is about changing your frame of mind. The best way to do this is to consistently affirm yourself while acting in ways that you find praiseworthy and which support your idea of what makes a good person.
For inspiration and guidance on improving self-esteem, we’ve come up with seven helpful steps. Dig deep with these; they may seem simple, but if you truly follow them, they will have a dramatic impact on your self-esteem.
- Redefine yourself. How do you see yourself? List your five best qualities. Now list your five worst qualities. If it took you a long time to come up with five good qualities, what are you forgetting? Have you overlooked the fact that you are a good friend, co-worker, sibling or parent? Have you remembered your intelligence and humor, or the way people know they can depend on you?
Select positive aspects of your self-description and repeat these to yourself every day. When a weakness or flaw rears up, decide if, in the grand scheme of life, it's worth the effort to change. If it's worth changing, set some goals and work on it. If not, stop hanging on to it as evidence to support your low self-esteem!
- Live right. Increasing your self-esteem is not just about thinking positive, it’s about engaging in the kind of behaviours that will make you proud of yourself. This doesn’t imply that you have to climb Mt. Everest or earn six figures to be proud of yourself. It’s the small behaviours that matter.
Many people ignore the fact that having good self-esteem is largely about doing the right things in life; about being true to your own values, taking risks, accomplishing what you set out to accomplish, keeping promises, practicing tolerance, and thinking of and treating other people well.
Live right, and then next time you tell yourself how worthless you are, you will have concrete proof that your self-perception is inaccurate.
- Respect yourself. You're worth it. Respecting yourself means valuing your body, thoughts, and feelings. All of these affect your self-esteem in the long term. If you're exhausted, respect your body by getting a good night’s sleep. If you have an opinion on something, respect the value of your thoughts and don't be afraid to share them. If you're feeling stressed out, listen to your emotions and give yourself a break. Would you make excessive demands of a friend who was feeling tired and overloaded? Remember that you are valuable and worth taking care of – don’t discount yourself and your needs.
- Accomplish goals; acknowledge achievements. Setting goals and achieving them is vital to improving self-esteem. It doesn’t matter how small they are. Get started by doing something that you have been putting off - wash that car, call that friend, read that book, plant those flowers. Take note of all your accomplishments, no matter how small. This way, when you start tearing yourself down and saying you can’t do anything, you will have proof that you are wrong!
- Be good to yourself. Being good to yourself means treating yourself as the valuable person you are. It means eating wisely, exercising often, spoiling yourself sometimes, relaxing when you need to, and doing things you enjoy and that are important to you. It’s helpful to write down at the end of each day how you have treated yourself in terms of your health, what you have done for yourself, and how you have affirmed yourself.
- Accentuate the positive. Walk, talk, and dress in ways that accentuate everything that is positive about you. Avoid clothes, posture, and self-talk that emphasise your flaws. We all have flaws, but people with healthy self-esteem don't dwell on them.
- Recognize your talents and abilities and use them. Find the things you have a flair for, and do them for your own enjoyment and satisfaction – not to impress others. Everyone is good at something. What are your talents? Are you using them? Do you like to paint, write, garden, or play the guitar? Are you good at sports? Do you enjoy the outdoors? Are you a good listener? A devoted friend? An encourager? Remember, you don’t need to be Michelangelo, Mozart or Mother Teresa to use your gifts!
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Last updated: July 26th, 2006
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