How to Improve Your Self-Esteem
In my work as healing practitioner, there is a consistent pattern I’ve discovered when people don’t get well, or don’t achieve a goal: They have low self-esteem and don’t believe they are worthy of health, wealth or success.
And I’m here to encourage you to get over that right now. You absolutely do deserve everything wonderful in life. You are indeed worthy of all good things.
I can think of a few reasons why low self-esteem is so pervasive in our culture:
First, we are surrounded with advertising that inundates us with the message that we have to be slimmer, taller, blonder or better dressed in order to have value.
We’re constantly being compared to supermodels. It’s humiliating. And it’s just plain wrong.
Even our parents, in misguided attempts to motivate us, sometimes make us feel belittled by comparing us to other children.
Second, we fall victim to the “tall poppy syndrome” – this is a social phenomenon in which people of genuine merit are resented, attacked, or criticized when their talents or achievements elevate them above their peers.
As a result, people don’t want to succeed for fear of being attacked.
But in the words of Rev. Michael Beckwith, “Mediocrity always attacks excellence.” So, ignore those people who want to keep you small.
Third: We are afraid of our own power. I can’t improve on what Marianne Williamson said about this in A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.
“We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.
“We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone.
“And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Change your thoughts, change your life
Factors in forming our self-esteem usually start in childhood and are based on how others treated us.
If you were frequently criticized, teased or devalued by others, you’re likely to struggle with poor self-esteem.
But our own thoughts may have the biggest impact on self-esteem. And this is the part we can control. Our minds believe every word we say.
Stop the negative self-talk. If you have a tendency to say things like, “Oh, Molly, you’re too old to ___________,” stop and correct it: “Oh, Molly, your body is young and vibrant and ready to take up new activities like ____________.”
Learn to reframe negative thoughts and focus on your positive traits. Change your thoughts from, “I don’t deserve success” to “I am a beloved child of God who wants me to be successful.”
How to change a negative self-belief
Time to ask some hard serious questions:
Let’s say your limiting belief is that you don’t deserve success. So, is it true that you don’t deserve it? Really, seriously. Is it true? Of course not.
Where did the belief come from? I bet you can find an incident from earlier in life when someone gave you that message and you believed it. THEY WERE WRONG and you believed it anyway.
So what if our parents, teachers and peers put us down. THEY WERE WRONG. It’s o.k. to stop listening to them.
If you look at a beautiful blue sky and the person standing next to you insists it’s green, would you decide it wasn’t blue?
No, you’d realize they were apparently color blind and let them go on believing it was green while you know it’s blue. You shouldn’t give your detractors any more credence than that.
How does thinking that thought make you feel? Not good, that’s for sure.
What would your life be like if you changed that thought? Pretty spectacular.
Give some thought to that last question. It can be a big motivator.
Create a positive statement reflecting your desired state of being, and make it a believable process. This is the affirmation you’ll work with. For example, “Every day, I feel more and more successful.”
Change your posture, change your life: power posing
If you don’t feel successful, start acting successful. Stand a little taller, sit up straight, shine your shoes, put on your best clothes, fix your hair and makeup.
Hold your body in an expansive “power pose.” Doing this for as little as two minutes stimulates higher levels of testosterone and lower levels of cortisol. In other words, it will increase your feeling of power.
Power poses have correlation to the animal kingdom. If you are timid you make yourself small and may close your arms over your torso to protect yourself. If you stand tall and proud, you will be seen as powerful and successful.
How often do you stand in a crowd and try to make yourself small? Stop that right now and stand tall and proud.
The Maori people have a beautiful saying: “Stand tall and know who you are.”
Your self-esteem homework
- Watch Jessica’s Daily affirmation, just 48 seconds long. This is a good way to start the day: in front of the mirror expressing gratitude.
- For 21 days straight, look yourself in the mirror in the morning and in the evening and say your empowering affirmation.
- Power pose: stand up straight and be proud of who you are.
Remember that what you focus on expands.
Look at all the perfection in the world. Would the Creator who made such perfection make you imperfect? You are the Divine Child of a Divine Being. You deserve success.
Celebrate your uniqueness and let your light shine.
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Molly Larkin is the co-author of the international best-seller “The Wind Is My Mother; The Life and Teachings of a Native American Shaman” and other books on health. She is passionate about helping people live life to their fullest potential through her classes, healing practice and blog at www.MollyLarkin.com