Article Summary:How you can build your self-esteem.
If you have a predisposition to low self-esteem and low self-confidence, you can "programme" your brain to help you boost both. Here are some tips to help you do this:
- Each night before you go to sleep, think of at least five things that happened that day that made you feel happy and/or good about yourself. These don't need to be major things. Examples: a stranger smiled at you on the bus; you heard your favorite song on the radio; someone showed kindness to you; your boss congratulated you on a good piece of work; your cat cuddled up on your lap; beautiful weather; a friend rang just to say hi, etc.
- Our brains churn over our day's problems while we sleep – sometimes we have weird dreams while our brain is doing this. Use this time productively. After thinking about your 5 happy events, choose a problem you want solved or a question you need an answer for, and ask yourself that. Make sure you phrase the question in a positive way... for example, don't ask "Why am I so fat?" Instead, ask "How can I be slimmer and more healthy?" Don't ask, "Why am I so poor?" Ask: "How can I be wealthier?"
If you've not done this before, it may take some practice before the process becomes obvious for you, but eventually you will learn that you really can ask your brain a question, sleep on it, and then some time during the next day or two the answer will just "pop" into your head... probably at the craziest times... but it will arrive!
- Speaking of "language", always speak positively to yourself. This takes practice if you are used to berating yourself. We want you to stop that right now! Never say to yourself things like "How could I be so stupid!" To programme your brain, you need to say to yourself the opposite of what you normally say... for example: don't say, "I mustn't be so weak." Instead, say: "I am strong." Don't say, "I shouldn't eat so much junk food." Instead, say: "I enjoy and prefer to eat healthy food choices." Don't say, "I'm just lazy!" Instead, say: "I am energetic and productive."
- You're probably used to telling yourself off when things go wrong, and we're willing to bet you don't congratulate yourself when things go right! Go for balance. In future, find things to congratulate yourself about, and again, these don't have to be trumpet-blowing experiences. For example: You finished a job on time or before time; you made it to work on time; you won a game of chess; you finally cleaned out your closet; you did something right with your hair today and it looks great; you were kind to your neighbour, etc.
- Think of your brain like a computer. You know how your PC slows down when you hoard too many programs and files and you have to delete the rubbish to get it to run efficiently again? Well, start deleting those old programmes that involve putting yourself down and being, feeling, and thinking negatively. Replace them with positive, uplifting ways of being, feeling, and thinking. Don't keep problems in your brain. It doesn't matter if the 'negative' thing is something you did or someone else did, don't dwell on it – don't allow it a 'home' in your brain. Just acknowledge that it happened, learn from the experience, and then delete it. This does get easier with practice.
If it takes 21 days to form a habit, don't expect to see overnight changes in your thinking habits. You need to do these exercises continuously, every day – make them part of your "being", and then you really will see the results.
Terri Levine, MCC, PCC, MS, CCC-SLP, is the Founder of Comprehensive Coaching ? The Professional's Coach Training Program. A popular Master Certified personal and business Coach, Terri is also a sought after Public Speaker. She is the author of the bestsellers "Stop Managing, Start Coaching", "Work Yourself Happy", "Coaching for an Extraordinary Life" and "Create Your Ideal Body". She can be contacted via the web site at: TerriLevine.com or by telephone: 215-699-4949.