In The 6 Main Triggers of Erythrophobia, we established that low self-esteem is one of the culprits of our overwhelming fear of blushing. Today I want to explore the things you can do to strengthen and (re)build your self-esteem.
But first, let’s dive into a definition: What exactly is self-esteem?
According to About Health, self-esteem describes a person’s subjective sense of personal value or self-worth, and is therefor synonymous (or near-synonymous) with self-respect, self-worth and self-value. It’s both jugdement and attitude towards the person’s self.
People with low self-esteem may feel unworthy of many things: of peoples’ affections, of pursuing their dreams, reaching for their personal goals, being healthy, being wealthy, even of being happy. They may feel like their opinion has no value, like they as a person have nothing to contribute to family, friends or society. They worry that the things they have accomplished, their views in life or their opinions aren’t relevant or worthy of respect.
Once you’re caught in this mindset, it is difficult to elevate yourself from its level again. Confidence is a state of being that you’re not worthy of, so you don’t allow yourself to feel it.
For people with low self-esteem, feeling confident is an uphill battle, especially at first. But I’m here to tell you that you can reach the peak of that hill – it is a battle that can be won. You can become more confident, and worry less about being worthy – because you are! You are worthy of anything and anybody you set your sights on.
Here are some things you can do to help you feel that sentiment throughout the deepest recesses of your being.
1. Stop Comparing Yourself to Others
Jack Canfield, author and motivational speaker, said it right: I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness. No one ever compares themselves to someone else and comes out even. Nine times out of ten, we compare ourselves to people who are somehow better than us, and end up feeling more inadequate.
So don’t do it. Just… don’t. What other people do, have, or have achieved is in no way significant to your life. It really, truly isn’t.
Instead of comparing yourself to others, applaud them. Congratulate them on their accomplishments – without spite, ill-will or anger! They probably worked hard for them. Even if they didn’t, they are still theirs. They are theirs, not yours.
Then call into mind your own strenghts and accomplishments, no matter how small. Applaud yourself for them. They are yours, not theirs. Fully, wholly, deservedly yours.
2. Silence your Inner Critic
Your inner critic can be an ass. She’s constantly harping on about things you don’t like, let alone love, about yourself, pointing out how you’re unworthy because of them.
To silence your inner critic, you first have to recognize when she’s in your head, bringing you down. She’s that little voice in your head always pointing out your flaws, making you sad or angry at yourself.
When you find her berating you, try not to react the usual way with sadness or anger. Try to figure out what the real issue is. What exactly is she criticising? What, therefore, is it that you don’t like about yourself?
Then take this issue, this part of you that you don’t like. Instead of being angry or sad at its – your! – imperfections, envelop it with love. Don’t focus on how it makes your life miserable. Don’t berate yourself for letting it. Just love it.
Sounds sappy, I know. But it also makes sense, if you think about it. It’s your reaction to your inner critic – your anger, sadness, etc – that gives her power. So don’t give her that. Give her the opposite. And what is the opposite of anger and sadness? Appreciation. Acceptance. Happiness.
Here’s the kicker. Your inner critic is a part of you, too. Learn to love her, and she’ll shut up about your flaws. I dare say she’ll become your new best friend.
3. Love Yourself
A little more on the topic of love, since it is, in fact, the most important of all. People who really, truly love themselves have no need to worry about self-esteem.
You know the adage “Love Thyself”. Trouble is, it’s an abstract idea, difficult to grasp. What exactly does it mean? How do you get there? Loving yourself is the very definition of things easier said than done.
But it can be done. It can be made tangible – sort of. Remember how you can make your inner critic your best friend? Same principle.
Whenever your fears or perceived flaws raise their heads and shoulder-butt their way into your business, don’t meet them with anger, sadness, hatred or, least of all, more fear. Instead, conjure up all the love within you; all the love you have for your loved ones, for your pet, for your favorite story characters, your awesomest teacher, your BFF. Then take that love and picture wrapping it around your fear- or flaw-of-the-moment. Flood it with your love, and thereby accept that imperfect part of yourself. Then expand it to encompass all of yourself. In case you’re having trouble picturing it, I always imagine my love as a bright, pure white light surrounding me.
You will never be able to eradicate your flaws and fears – they are a part of you, and you can no more cut them out of yourself as you could cut out your heart and continue to breathe. But you can come to accept them and let go of your perceived imperfections, by learning to love them as an intrinsic, vital part of yourself.
4. Define Your Vision
At the end of the previous post, The 6 Main Triggers of Erythrophobia, I suggested you write down the vision you have for your life, no matter how crazy it may sound. What do you want to do and accomplish? Where do you want to go? Who do you want to be? Nothing is off limits. (Also, nothing is set in stone. Change is a part of life, so if wishes or priorities change, don’t hold on to what you wrote down on this piece of paper. Delete and add as needed. The list should just never be empty!)
This is the vision you have for your life, a vision you’ve most likely been afraid to pursue because for whatever reason you feel it’s “not for you”. Except you’re the one with this vision, so who else should it be for?
It’s yours. Yours to pursue. Yours to grasp. Yours to fulfill. Reach for it. Starting now.
Your turn. Starting today, I want you to compile a list of things you like or, better yet, love about yourself. Title it “What I love about myself”.
Then comes the crucial part: Add one item to the list every day for at least a year and mean it.
No Excuses. No Backsies. No Halfsies.
One. Every day for the next 365.
By the end, there’ll be nothing left you dislike about yourself.
If you begin the list now, you’ll get a head-start on next week’s post, 10 Daily Exercises to Boost Self-Confidence.