Do you struggle to accept compliments from friends? Do you hate how you look? Do you blame yourself when things go wrong in your life?
If you’ve answered “yes”, you could be suffering from low self-esteem. Clinical Psychologist Dr Janet Hall says the key to self-confidence is first accepting that everyone is special and unique in their own way. “We are all different and there is no ‘normal’,” Dr Jan insists.
“Self-esteem refers to the image or picture that each of us carries around in our heads. This image or picture is constructed through our experiences and is strongly influenced by the messages that others send.”
Stay on top of those messages and influences, and you’ll find you’ll feel a whole lot better about yourself, and most importantly, in control. “The key message for self-esteem is: ‘I’m Capable, I Belong and I’m OK’,” adds Dr Jan. If that’s the record you have playing in your head, you’ll build up a positive self-esteem.”
HERE ARE DR JAN’S TOP 10 SELF-ESTEEM BOOSTERS:
1. BE REALISTIC
Realistically assessing your stress regularly will help build inner confidence. Dr Jan says: “Watch for the signs across the four B’s – Brain, Being (your feelings), Body and Behaviours – highlighted below.”
2. THINK POSITIVE (BRAIN)
“Think positive, optimistic thoughts and keep learning,” says Dr Jan. “The wise person knows that all learning accelerates when you come from a position of being willing to say ‘I don’t know’”.
3. ACCEPT THE NEGATIVE (BEING)
Don’t let negative situations and feelings determine the way you live. “Cope with the negative feelings,” says Dr Jan. “Don’t make them wrong but don’t wallow in them either.”
4. LOOK AFTER YOURSELF (BODY)
Dr Jan says your confidence is greatly influenced by your everyday habits. “Handle your habits with rigorous discipline to aim for moderation in most things,” she says. That means keeping an eye on your “CATS” intake (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco and sugar), limit your fat intake, get a good night sleep, learn to relax, have plenty of sex and exercise, and dress like you appreciate your body!
5. CHOOSE YOUR SURROUNDINGS
“Plan and program your environment to support you,” suggests Dr Jan. Getting caught up in an activity that you hate isn’t going to put a smile on your face – nor is being surrounded by things that make you frustrated at home.
6. TIME MANAGEMENT
“Make time your friend… not your foe,” says Dr Jan. Embrace having the time to do things you enjoy. If you find you’re too bogged down to enjoy doing the things you love, it’s time to reassess the schedule and clear your diary for a regular slot of ‘me’ time!
7. STAND YOUR GROUND
Never be afraid to speak up if you disagree with something or someone. Dr Jan says: “Understand different personalities and know how to handle difficult people.” Find your voice and people will listen.
8. PAMPER YOURSELF
Think about how great you feel when you’ve just had your hair done, or after a great massage. Make time in your life for a regular pamper session and you’ll find those tough days will just fade away into the background. Dr Jan says: “Make time just for you and do things that give you space, pleasure and joy”
9. FIND YOUR SENSE OF PURPOSE
“Align with a purpose that is greater than you,” suggests Dr Jan. “Your purpose gets you out of bed in the morning. It makes life so much more wonderful when you know you are here to make a difference.” If you don’t think you have one, create one today.
10. HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOUR
“Serenity is an inside job,” insists Dr Jan. Have fun, lighten up, have a laugh, take everything with a grain of salt and be present in the moment. “Be like the angels and birds – how is it that they can fly? Because they take themselves LIGHTLY!”