Self-esteem and self-awareness, learn to complement them
Self-awareness, caring for inner dialogue, daring with challenges, not being afraid of conflict or allowing oneself to fail are key elements to strengthening self-esteem.
Self-esteem is our confidence in ourselves and in our possibilities. But how is this belief built? Experts explain that it come from the value that we give ourselves, from the perception we have, from how we suppose others see us, from the limitations we impose on ourselves ... That is, it is not an immutable reality, but we can interfere with it to make it more solid and healthy. And as the 'coach' and expert in emotional training Laura Pérez (www.formacionemocional.com) stresses, we should all go about it, even if we think we have no problem of self-esteem.
First of all because we tend to depend too much on the outside, "when true self-esteem must be worked on from the inside" to know how to deal with the challenges that appear in life. Secondly, because nobody has ever taught us how to manage our emotions, so we have managed them as we could. "We are full of limiting beliefs, behaviour patterns, very demanding internal dialogues ... We have to unlearn to relearn how to talk and treat ourselves," he explains.
We must therefore take into account four key aspects to build good self-esteem. It all starts with self-awareness. "We tend to deceive ourselves, so we have to devote time to getting to know ourselves, both our weak and strong points. Interestingly, the strong are harder," says the 'coach' from Barcelona. Then we have to work on self-concept (how we react to criticism and how we manage it), self-acceptance (appreciating oneself, with all good and bad things) and self-respect (assertiveness to communicate with others without aggression or passiveness).
The results are neither immediate nor miraculous, but daily work can begin to be done to strengthen self-esteem right away. These are the four basic tips from Laura Pérez:
1. Watch your inner dialogue
It has a lot to do with the way a person talks to him or herself. Whether they are very critical or self-demanding, whether they sabotage themselves, whether they punish themselves for the failures committed ... If you find it difficult to learn something, it is not the same to say "you are stupid" as "you are not so good at this particular topic". Treat yourself well and think that beautiful words have positive effects on the mind, while negative ones affect mood and diminish self-esteem. You can start every morning by reminding yourself of something good that you are going to experience.
2. Do what you find difficult
What you already know how to do well does not feed you. When you leave your comfort zone and manage to improve, then your self-esteem grows. For example, if you are embarrassed to intervene at a meeting, prepare your intervention beforehand and make a commitment with yourself to ask for the floor. Once you finish talking, you will find that it was not such a terrible thing and your self-esteem will grow.
3. Let the conflicts breathe
If one occurs, we should not flee from it or want to solve it prematurely. It can be used to learn. You cannot pretend either that nobody will ever get angry with you. If you feel badly treated by your boss, because he does not appreciate you or does not let you develop your talent, don’t accept it docilely, but don’t react with aggressiveness. See the conflict as an opportunity to negotiate or agree on a solution. Take the opportunity to ask for a personal meeting, state your views and propose a solution.
4. Learn from the error
It is part of learning and personal growth. You have to allow yourself to fail from time to time. Perfectionism, in fact, is often a symptom of low self-esteem. If you make a mistake, whatever it is, you can: be honest and recognise the failure without excuses, apologise to the people affected, or forgive yourself and analyse the situation to detect the cause of the error. This will help you not to do it again.
Pilar Conde, technical director of Origin psychology and psychiatry clinics (clinicasorigen.es) explains that self-esteem begins to build in the earliest childhood, "when it is of vital importance what we believe we are for our parents, brothers and sisters and also first friends." Then, in adolescence, personal identity begins to be established and complexes and embarrassments appear that can undermine the security achieved in the early years. And then in adulthood, "there are infinite situations, some prolonged in time, that test what we think of ourselves and how we see ourselves".
She therefore gives a series of small actions to do each day, which can be applied at any time and at any age to reinforce our self-esteem. They are the following:
- Appreciate the achievements of each day.
- Say 'no' when convenient and do not assume others’ discomfort as your own responsibility.
- Do not punish yourself for mistakes that can be made.
- Expose yourself to looking a fool and see that it is not so serious.
- Feel proud of your achievements.
- Give thanks to compliments; never take value away from them.
- Do not hold back in getting what you want just because you are afraid
Small gestures that can help create a solid and healthy self-esteem safe from toxic external inputs. We all need it.