Whatever it is that you ultimately want to do in life, whether that is becoming the CEO of a fortune-500 company, or even just maintaining an active and dynamic social life which allows plenty of opportunity for fostering close friendships, self-esteem is an essential trait to develop.
It’s clear that those with higher self-esteem can handle greater amounts of stress, are more daring in work and life, and are more likely to have a positive disposition to the world. All of these things are like a master-formula for success in work and life.
The idea of self-esteem being important is by no means new. Everyone is aware of it, on some often-implicit and unstated level, and a seemingly endless number of self-help books and counselling programs are focused around improving people’s sense of self-esteem.
The thing is, self-esteem isn’t just an abstract thing that appears out of the blue. Not usually, anyway. There are certain things you can do to enhance your self-esteem.
Here are some examples.
Take active steps that move you closer towards your goals
A large part of self-esteem — that is, of viewing yourself in a positive light — is the sense that you are moving meaningfully towards your most valued goals.
Career is a major area where this plays out. If you want to be a truck driver, for example, researching which trucking companies are hiring is the first step in achieving your goal. As such, the trucker-research is likely to provide a perhaps small, but significant, self-esteem boost.
This same principle applies to your social life as well. Your self-esteem is likely to rise when you begin noticing improvements in the gym, or begin working up the nerve to ask out members of the opposite sex.
Don’t do things that make you dislike yourself
One reason why people often get self-esteem wrong — particularly certain individuals in the self-help arena — is that they don’t fully consider the fact that self-esteem isn’t just a disconnected state of mind, it’s, in part, an internal evaluation of your own positive and negative traits.
If you constantly act in a way that makes you proud, your self-esteem is bound to rise.
If you constantly act in a way that makes you ashamed — that makes you dislike yourself — your self-esteem is bound to plummet.
To develop your self-esteem, stop doing things that make you dislike yourself.
Practice meditation and positive affirmations
Sometimes, self-esteem problems are driven, to a large degree, by faulty thinking and ongoing negative self-talk.
In just about any situation, it’s possible to frame things in either a positive and uplifting light, or a negative and disheartening light. If, for example, you lose at a sports competition, you may think “ah, too bad, but I had fun, made some new friends, and I’ll be better next time”, or you may think “I’m a failure, I’m useless, I’m useless at everything, no one likes losers like me.”
To ensure that you’re not sabotaging yourself with negative self-talk, look into positive visualisations, CBT courses, and meditation sessions.