Many self-improvement books are available at Amazon. Self-improvement books
Esteem is defined as worth or value. Self-esteem then is the worth or value that you have of yourself. It is based on the beliefs you have of yourself, regardless of whether those beliefs are true.
Your self-esteem influences every part of your life. How you get along with people. Who your friends are. Who you marry. How well you do your job. How much you use your natural abilities. Whether or not you succeed as a person.
Your self-esteem is so important to any career success that, in my opinion, it is one of the first personal qualities that you should work on. And it will probably be a lifetime of work.
People with high self-esteem tend to be optimistic, decision makers, and able to make a commitment. Those with low self-esteem tend to be pessimistic, indecisive, and unable to make a commitment. All three of those qualities are essential to making a success of your life.
How did you develop your self-esteem? In Mack R Douglas’ book HOW TO WIN WITH HIGH SELF-ESTEEM he quotes psychologist Carl Rogers who said, “God gave children to parents expecting them to be raised as princes and princesses, but parents have turned many of them into frogs.”
For many of us, our parents helped us decide how much value we had. If we were fortunate, they made us feel valuable; if unfortunate, less than valuable. Teachers, siblings, and childhood friends also influenced us. I had one teacher who did not care that I was colorblind and teased me in front of the class one day because I was wearing two different colored socks. For many years now, I only buy black or white socks. Those I can tell apart.
One of the neighborhood boys when I was growing up laughingly called me “horse.” My name is Charles, thus Charlie Horse. I cannot explain how much it hurt for him to laugh, call me “horse,” and get the other kids to laugh at me.
I expect many of you have had similar situations that hindered your self-esteem. Even at my age now you can tell I cannot forget those times. Getting past low self-esteem seems easy. You just tell yourself that you are valuable and keep reminding yourself of that. But trust me, advice can be simple yet not easy. Especially if your memory is too good. That’s why I said earlier that working to improve your self-esteem will probably be a lifetime of work. Work, though, that will pay off greatly.
How can you tell whether you have high or low self-esteem? People with high self-esteem feel good about themselves most of the time and have confidence that they can handle life’s challenges. Those with low self-esteem often do not feel good about themselves and doubt that they can handle life’s day-to-day challenges. People with high self-esteem set goals and commit to them. Those with low self-esteem are reluctant to set goals because they have trouble committing to anything.
Then, how can you improve your self-esteem? Mack Douglas says, “Self-esteem has two parts: 1) a sense of personal ability, and 2) knowledge of personal value.” You need to recognize that you have the ability to accomplish things and you need to accept that you are a worthwhile person.
Do we all have the same abilities or value? No. And there is no reason to ever think that your abilities or value has to be the same, or better, than anyone else. Each of us is different. You should always explore your own abilities and focus on the ones that you like. Likewise, you should look at yourself and see the ways in which you add value to the world.
The more often you do both of these, find abilities and see value, the better you will feel about yourself. That’s what determines your self-esteem. And as your self-esteem improves other people will notice the improved you and react in a better way. They will appreciate and like the new you. Believe me. Your life will improve dramatically when you raise your level of self-esteem.
Need ideas on finding abilities and seeing value? Most people with less than the best self-esteem probably could use some help. Let’s see how I can help.
Get out a pen and paper so that you can write things down. First, abilities. Ask yourself what you know you are good at. For me, it’s easy to say that I am good at math, Sudoku, logic, and attention to details. With some thought I remember that long ago I was a good Bridge player, I sang in the choir, and was an average Chess player. With even more thought I recall being on the base Honor Guard one year in the military (1966), tying for the home run lead one summer in baseball (1960), and twice finishing a 10K run (1990 & 1994). None of those are great, but they remind me of abilities that I had; abilities that gave me some confidence and raised my self-esteem.
I am convinced that most of you can find similar abilities in your life. You just have to look, write them down, and accept them so that they add to your level of self-esteem. We all have many abilities. We simply need to see and accept them.
Next, values. This might be harder for you because people’s values are often very different. In my younger years, I valued physical pursuits, reading novels, and the outdoors. In my middle years, I valued helping others, traveling, and going to the movie theater. In my later years, I value fond memories, varied musical genres, and realizing more things to like in other people.
You can ask what good my values are. Remember we are all different. The things I value might mean nothing to you, and vice versa. But what our individual values represent are the things that each of us appreciate and respect. And having more people and things to appreciate and respect adds value to society. I find myself appreciating the senior male nearby who still walks talk and straight and the very senior female who still sings in the choir. In that way I am adding value to society because I find more good in strangers than I used to. You might be doing the same thing without realizing it.
My challenge to you is to begin looking for more abilities that you have. Take on new projects to add more abilities. Look for more ways that you have value because of what you add to life. Someone might appreciate the way you cut your grass, trim your hedges, or clean your car. I guarantee that someone new will appreciate you for your cookies, cakes, and pies once they know about them.
With some thought and action, we can all raise our self-esteem and continue doing so.
(Disclosure: If you buy any products through my Amazon link, I will earn a little money.)