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Self esteem: four ways to get it

Self esteem It is ironic that your self esteem (or lack of it) is most probably a result of the attitudes that other people have taken towards you during your life. Your self esteem is largely shaped by your parents, siblings, superiors, peers and other 'significant' people you have encountered during your life.

Your self esteem can be changed, however, by you - by the decisions you make and the actions you take. This page explains some of the things you can do to improve your self esteem.

The origins of self esteem

The level of self esteem you have originates from the psychological messages you were given by the significant people in your life as you were growing up. Esteem is something that parents give to their children, and part of growing up is learning to be less dependant on parental approval for esteem, and developing an inner source for it - ie: self esteem. You grow up believing that you have inherent worth.

You can get low self-esteem if, instead of positive reinforcement, the messages you were given were negative ones. You then grow up believing that you are worthless. This is not not true, but you end up believing it - that is, you end up believing a lie.

Self-esteem: getting it and keeping it

If you have a need to rebuild your self esteem, then there are four techniques that may help:
  1. Get your facts right
    Take a realistic, balanced view of your self in comparison to others. People with low self esteem see themselves in an unduly negative light, and others in an unduly positive light. The truth is much more balanced than that. There is much about you that is good. None of us is perfect.
  2. Get a supply of warm fuzzies
    Get people to give you positive feedback, where appropriate.

    Or spend time with people who offer it to you without asking.

  3. Don't discount yourself
    Treat yourself with respect and don't dismiss praise and recognition.

    Say "thank you" when you are complimented or praised.

  4. Don't accept the baton of low self esteem
    Don't let other people make you feel bad.

    Don't accept "put downs" from others.

If you want more explanation of these techniques, then they are discussed in more detail in our page on self esteem - the four steps.

Remember, no matter what other people say (when they are suffering from low self and try and take it out on you): you are some of significant self-worth. Start believing it, and start behaving as if it is true (because it is true).



Invest in Yourself