How To Glow With Good Self-Esteem

Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

 

howtoglowwithgoodselfesteem(Originally published on Hello Perfect)

I was the girl in school who was picked last for any game involving a ball. While I was never yelled at for not getting an A on my report card, my family expected excellence. They often recounted their own childhoods, what they were doing when they were my age.

 

Those stories only served to make me feel like I was an ant being ground to a pulp under the heel of their favorite pairs of shoes.

 

I used that feeling of inadequacy to push me. I kept telling myself to look at people around me, to try to better them. In a structured, academic environment, it served me well.

 

Without the structure, I flailed. I had to build my self-esteem in a way that didn’t rely so much on external factors.

 

Intimidating?

 

Yes.

 

Impossible?

 

No.

 

How did I do it?

 

Cut Out Friends Who No Longer Serve You

 

We’ve all had that one friend who likes to make themselves feel better by bringing us down.

 

During my sophomore year in college, a friend from my hometown and I decided to be roommates. One we started living together, I quickly discovered that her sarcastic sense of humor that I had once loved was borderline cruel.

 

I started avoiding her while I was on campus and at home, even when she dropped the classic, “We should hang out,” because I knew that she made me feel inferior when I had no reason to feel that way.

 

I’m not saying that you need to have friends who tell you that you’re the cat’s meow every day; it’s good to have friends who challenge you. Sure, you might love that person’s sense of humor or the discussions that keep you engaged, but if you leave a get-together feeling crappy, they’re not worth keeping in your life.

 

Block that individual on all social media accounts. Erase their number. Sit down and talk to them if you can and make it clear that you don’t want to be friends with them anymore. You don’t have to go into the specifics about why if you don’t want to.

 

You’ll find that ridding yourself of toxic relationships makes you feel so much better about yourself.

 

Wear Clothes That Make You Feel Good

 

If you’re comfortable and confident in your clothes, people will sense that. They will be attracted to that easy confidence. But more than that, you will start to feel comfortable with YOURSELF, which goes a long when you’re developing self-esteem.

 

So if you absolutely KNOW that wearing a dress to a big event will make you want to vomit, even if you’re feeling pressured to wear one, don’t. Find something that flatters you and that you feel comfortable in.

 

If you spend an entire event worrying about how uncomfortable a garment makes you feel, you won’t be able to live in the present and enjoy the moment – and learning how to enjoy the moment goes a long way in helping to build your self-esteem.   

 

Create Your Own Standards

 

I’ve found that building your self-esteem can often mean refraining from subscribing to the standards of others. Such standards are often unrealistic.

 

In order to deal with my depression and keep it at bay, I exercise for an hour a day a few times a week. A good day for me is where my symptoms are controlled, when I’m not triggered by anything around me.

 

Sure, to some people, that might not be their definition of wellness. Some people go lift weights for an hour, go to a Pilates class, and finish with a run on a treadmill.

 

I may not work out to that extreme, but I can go to bed knowing that I’ve accomplished something, and that feeling goes a long way in helping me to build my self-esteem. Knowing that I’ve done the best I can for myself, without worrying about what other people expect, makes me feel pretty invincible.      

 

Do Things That Make You Feel Powerful

 

Doing things that make you feel powerful goes a long way in building your self-esteem. You stretch yourself. You do things you never thought you could do. That feeling that you get as you relish in an accomplishment? Hold on to it.

 

A few years ago, I traveled to Japan with a parent for a family event. My family wanted me to say a few words at the gathering. I was petrified, but I calmed down once I was assured that my speech didn’t need to be 15 minutes long.

 

The day of the event, I woke up a ball of nerves and with a stomach ache. I tripped and tottered my way through the crowded Tokyo streets to the restaurant, where more than 30 immediate family members greeted me.

 

Each one of them sitting at the giant table proceeded to give a “short” speech. As I listened to them, I could feel my face start to whiten. These speeches were not 2 minutes long.

 

They were 15 minutes long.

 

How was I supposed to give such a long speech in my second language with a stomach ache?

 

I started debating the option of delivering the speech in English. I knew I could do that for 15 minutes. Most of the people at the table spoke some English. They would be able to understand most of it. After all, it was the thought that counted, right?

 

All these thoughts went out the window after I registered the loud whispers being exchanged among my family.

 

“Is she going to do her speech in English?”

 

“Her Japanese wasn’t that good the last time she was here.”

 

When it was my turn, I delivered my speech entirely in Japanese.

 

Was I nervous?

 

Yes.

 

Did people laugh at me when I fumbled over my words?

 

Yes.

 

But the expression on my family’s faces as I put them in their place was worth the fumbling and the excruciating stomach pain. More importantly, I felt powerful. I had done something that I didn’t think I could do.

 

I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone. I now believed that I could do things that I didn’t think were possible.

 

You don’t have to make a 15-minute speech in a foreign language to feel powerful. You just need to push your boundaries, prove to yourself that you can do things you didn’t think you could. Building your self-esteem starts with small victories. Count them. Write them down.  As you grow and evolve, things around you will change. But those feelings of power and self-confidence will stay with you even after the things around you disappear.

 

How have YOU built up your self-esteem over the years?

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How To Keep the Demons (And the S – Word) Down

Learning To Love Yourself, Re-framing Your Thinking

 

Demons

“Don’t get too close; it’s dark inside; it’s where my demons hide.”

We’ve all had those nights where you’re wide awake at 4 in the morning. The ones where you’re sweating like a hog in heat. The nights where none of the tricks you use to fall asleep seems to be working.

 

Because those demons creep in.

 

Don’t tell me you don’t know what I’m talking about. Those critical voices, the voices of childhood bullies, the ones that tell you that you’re not going to amount to anything.

 

The voices that tell you that you “should.”

 

Should be getting out more. Should eat healthier. Should be stronger. The list goes on and on and on.

 

You might look around you and think that everyone around you has it together, that they know what they’re doing because it seems like they’re navigating life with a map highlighted with Day-Glow markers. And there you are in the corner trying things that don’t seem to be working.

 

The truth is, we’re all in the same boat; the difference is that we just deal with it differently.

 

Not all of us decide to broadcast our woes to the world via Facebook status updates, and what we read on those channels might not necessarily be true. We can edit, water ourselves down to portray ourselves a certain way.

 

So how do you take the bullhorn away from that lizard that keeps saying the s-word?

 

Create Your Own Standards

 

Easier said than done, yes. But you are not your BFF who has a Day-Glo highlighted map to life. You are you. And if a good day for you means putting in just one job application and working out for an hour instead of the person next to you who puts in ten applications a day and bench presses more than 100 pounds at the gym, you have the right to celebrate that.

 

Find An Outlet

 

I’m not here to tell you that there’s ONE WAY to rid yourself of that lizard voice. You have to find a way that works for you. For me, it’s writing in a journal and kickboxing. For you, it might be something else. There’s no shame in saying that what works for one person may not work for you. Find that thing that helps you relieve stress. It could be one thing, it could be two things, it could be multiple things. But finding an outlet for pent-up energy always helps you get out of the “should” trap. It allows you to vent, focus on something else. And I’m pretty sure you’re not too keen on letting that lizard yell the s-word through an invisible bull horn in your ear.

 

Tone Down The Media Consumption

 

I know, I know. You can’t live without your phone. I’m not saying to lock your phone and laptop in a safe or anything. It’s no secret that the media feeds the s word. Since I’ve stopped reading magazines and tabloids, I’ve been much happier. This doesn’t mean that I’ve stopped keeping tabs on what’s happening in the entertainment world (because let’s be real, there’s no real way to escape it). This doesn’t mean that NOT flipping through those glossy pages will make you a happier person within the first 24 hours. But without the extra fuel for the s word, without comparisons, you can focus on improving yourself.

 

Don’t Play The “What-if” Game

 

Now before you go off, I know what you’re thinking: this is the hardest thing ever. This is especially true if you’re a planner like yours truly. But what if the thing you actually end up doing is even better than the thing you had planned?

 

I’ve said before that you don’t have to take every opportunity that comes your way. But sometimes there are regrets. Sometimes it’s better to just bite the bullet and jump into that handstand even though your head is saying that you’ll fall over into the person next to you.

 

We’ve all played the “what if” game, but sometimes the what-if game can cripple us.

 

And I don’t think we want to live our lives as cripples.

 

What strategies do you have for dealing with the s word?

Photo Credit: PicJumbo