This is a guest post by Lyn Bishop, of Art Farm Panama, about self-esteem. This is the first in our People With Purpose Series of blog posts featuring individuals whose purpose in life is to help others. Read Lyn’s bio at the end of this post.
In today’s corporate world, much research has been done on the effects of self-esteem in the workplace.
As Sheryl Sandburg explains in her book ‘Lean-In,” often low self-esteem is what holds women back from advancement in their careers. She says “Being confident and believing in your own self-worth is necessary to achieving your potential.” However, the reality is that women are often striving for perfection within themselves before reaching for the next rung on the ladder, while their male counterparts just “go for it.” Self-doubt is the silent epidemic that has been engrained into women’s’ psyche by society from an early age, and perfectionism is one of the key symptoms.
Your self-esteem affects all aspects of your life. When you maintain a healthy level of self-esteem you have an accurate and balanced view of yourself. Your solid self-esteem doesn’t mean you’re going around tooting your own horn all the time. Instead, it’s about learning to respect yourself, and to become your own best friend – mistakes and all.
When your self-esteem is high, you feel positive about yourselves and about the things you contribute to. A high level of self-esteem translates into a strong belief in yourself, and a strong belief in yourself assists you in shining your best self outwards. Strengthening your self-love, self-care and self-esteem are potent ways of honoring yourself, and when you honor yourself authentically, you make choices that nourish your mind, body and soul. When you are nourished on an emotional level, you move through life with greater purpose and ease.
The reality of self-esteem is that it fluctuates daily. Some days you feel ready to conquer the world, while other days, you prefer to stay in bed. One of the tricks to strengthening your self-esteem on a consistent basis is to develop a daily practice that helps you get in touch with your authentic self. Getting to know yourself deeply, intimately, and honestly is the best medicine of all for improving your self-esteem.
Here are 5 sure-fire ways to strengthen your self-esteem:
Notice Your Thoughts Through Meditation
Meditation is an excellent way to reduce stress and anxiety and can help you to become more aware of the messages you are telling yourself. Research is proving that even as little as 2-5 minutes of meditation a day can reset and center yourself. As you begin to notice your thoughts, it’s important to remember that you are not the thoughts, and that you do not have to believe everything that you think.
Stop Negative Self Talk
Negative self talk dims your enthusiasm and can damage your self esteem. As you get better at noticing your thoughts, feelings and emotions, you may begin to notice your negative self talk. It’s important to have compassion for your inner critic, for it’s job is to keep you safe and out of harm’s way. However, instead of allowing your inner critic to beat you up, thank her for communicating with you, and then do your best to give yourself some love and compassion. This helps you to acknowledge the inner critic inside of you, and then to make a conscious choice about where to go from there.
Forgive Yourself for Your Mistakes and Accept Yourself as You are in This Very Moment
When you hold onto your mistakes long after they have occurred you are holding a grudge against yourself. Forgiveness is a process, and surely it doesn’t happen overnight. However, with practice and compassion for yourself, you can begin to understand that you did the best you could at that time. Allow yourself to recognize that you have learned from the experience and let yourself move on.
Learn to Accept Positive Feedback
Accepting positive feedback can be challenging. If you are striving for perfection, you may feel that the positive feedback from others is false. When you learn to accept positive feedback, without the urge to pick apart your performance, you are strengthening your self-esteem. Allow the positive feedback from others to shine on your greatest talents and assets. You can respond to positive feedback with a simple “thank you”.
List the Things You Know You Do Well and Celebrate Them
As you begin to notice your thoughts, quiet your inner critic, forgive yourself and accept positive feedback from others, you begin to see your strengths more clearly. Create a list of all the things you know you do well, acknowledge that you are awesome, and celebrate yourself for these accomplishments. You deserve it.
When you begin to cultivate your self-esteem, you begin to see the emotional return on investment that occurs naturally, your performance improves, and you begin to move through life with additional confidence and self-respect. Go for it.
About the Author:
After a successful career running a design consultancy in Silicon Valley, Lyn Bishop made her way to Panama, where she runs a permaculture farm and art-based, self-care focused retreats. Her upcoming retreat on the Azuero Peninsula in Panama is called Awaken Your Passion and runs from January 12-15th. For more information, visit the retreat’s website.