Confidence counts. You lose confidence when you negatively believe that past failures or personality flaws are fatal. For example, some people believe that being divorced or losing a job makes them losers; in reality, divorce or losing a job can be the result of positive choices or lead to necessary changes. You gain confidence when you improve yourself against all odds.
Being happy and confident comes more from within than it comes from without. Even if it doesn’t pay to be real-be the real you. After all, you gain confidence when you choose to be a real person with real emotions while considering your life to be a wonder-filled work in progress.
Here’s how to make high self-esteem an option even when you feel down and out:
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #1: TALK POSITIVELY FOR A CHANGE IN YOUR WORLD
Don’t allow your “bad” feelings to determine whether you are a good or bad person. Talk positively for a change in your world. Isn’t it silly to tie a guilt anchor around your neck and then try to swim?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #2: DON’T PLAY THE VICTIM VIOLIN
Learn to use “bad” feelings to improve yourself and be more independent instead of quitting and playing the victim violin. Can you let go of the vengeful belief that people who fail to live up to your expectations (bad people) deserve bad things to happen to them?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #3: USE GOOD ADVICE TO GROW
Assert your right to ask for needed input and support from others who know you well and know what you want in life. Are you actively acquiring others’ life insights by listening to good advice?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #4: BE DIFFERENT–CHANGE TODAY
Ponder your past mistakes but decide how you can and will be different today. What would your life taste, feel, sound and be like if you behaved like the person you are capable of being?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #5: KNOW YOU CAN’T PLEASE EVERYBODY
Put stock in sustaining high-quality and high-equality friendships, work and romantic relationships by giving and receiving in equal measure. Have you checked in with your most valued relationship customers to find out how satisfied they are?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #6: USE ANGER IN ASSERTIVE WAYS
Use anger innovatively to set healthy relational boundaries and transform procrastination into motivation. Do you know the difference between healthy and unhealthy anger? Do you refuse to play “the anger game” of rejection…resentment…revenge?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #7: COACH YOURSELF TO DO THE NEW
Vow to use anything that works instead of repeating what doesn’t. Why continue to play a broken record? Are you able to coach yourself to refrain from doing what “should” work but doesn’t?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #8: DRIVE DOWN THE TWO-WAY COMMUNICATOR HIGHWAY
Stick with what challenges you the most to grow and change. Replace old, outworn mental maps with new ones that are affirming and pointing you in the right direction. Do you know how to speak caringly and carefully when you feel very vulnerable?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #9: STOP CASTING STONES
By refusing to play the blame game, you recognize that feeling contented and happy takes guts and is a courageous act. Can you change your language from “good/bad” to “positive/negative” in order to stop casting stones of self-criticism and judgment?
SELF-ESTEEM OPTION #10: SET POSITIVE GOALS
Take your heartfelt goals seriously by writing them down in an email to send to yourself. Do you refer back to your positive goals frequently when you feel unfocused or defeated? Do you believe in yourself anew?
Dr. Dennis O’Grady is a communications psychologist from Dayton, Ohio, and the author of TALK TO ME: Communication moves to get along with anyone