Increasing Your Self-Esteem: the first step


What is self-esteem?

There is a lot of confusion about self-esteem; it can be confused with arrogance, narcissistic tendencies, or being selfish. This couldn’t be further from the truth. It sounds like some psychological term that you need to learn before you can have more of it.

The good news is that it is actually much more simple than that.

Self-esteem is the value we place on ourselves (self-worth), which then influences how we imagine others perceive our value, and the contribution and value we believe we are able to offer the wider world.

Self-esteem influences everything we do, because we make decisions and behave as though what we see through our (not so rosy) glasses, is true. If we have low self-esteem we might be overly sensitive to perceived criticism, find it difficult to accept praise, avoid things in case we are rejected, accept bad behaviour, feel guilty or ashamed for doing something nice for ourselves etc… all of which perpetuate an erosion of our self-worth.

Getting to know yourself

The first step (as with all personal development changes) is to start with the relationship we have with ourselves. This in turn affects our relationships with others and expands the available possibilities and opportunities.

“But I don’t know how to have a better relationship with myself” I hear you cry!

Actually you do… because you are having relationships with people every day of your life. It’s just that if we have poor self-esteem, we might not think that the rules we apply to others, apply to us (because we aren’t worth it are we)?

Let’s use an example: if you went on a date or to a network meeting, how would you get to know someone and build a relationship with them?

Here are some of the behaviours we use in successful relationships with others :

  • Spend time with them regularly

  • Ask them questions about themselves

  • Listen to their wants, needs, desires, hopes, dreams

  • Treat them well (respectful, kind, etc…)

This is how we begin to build trust, it feels good, and it forges the way for deeper relationships or collaboration. Similarly, if we are rude, don’t listen to someone, ignore what they want, put them down, put their needs as a low priority - they are unlikely to want to collaborate with us.

The same rules apply to you. If you treat yourself poorly, you will feel bad. If you start treat to yourself as though you matter, your self-esteem will catch up with you. Others will also start to treat you like you matter because we educate people about our worth by how we treat ourselves.

Spend time with yourself

The first stage in all changes and improvement is self-awareness and for this you need to invest time into getting to know yourself. So here is my invitation to you - look at your calendar, find an hour where you can be uninterrupted (even if this means you have to drive to the middle of a forest where you have no phone reception!!!) buy yourself a shiny new notepad and pen, grab a cup of tea, get comfortable and fill in this worksheet.

Even if it feels uncomfortable, you’re too busy for self-improvement, and you don’t even know where to start, do it anyway. I promise you that building your self-worth will be the best and most important thing you will ever do for yourself. You will be a better partner, parent, colleague, friend, community member… It is the start and end of all your goals, dreams and ambitions. What you will be able to achieve when you don’t have to fight off the negative committee every day, is going to be 100 fold. Once you’ve got your self-worth intact, everything else is going to be so much easier.

Do this for yourself- you absolutely, completely and truthfully are worth it.

Love, Ismene xxx

Ismene Coleicole