Written by: Jo Uff, Executive Contributor
Executive Contributors at Brainz Magazine are handpicked and invited to contribute because of their knowledge and valuable insight within their area of expertise.
"If I asked you to name all the things your love, how long would it take for you to name yourself?"
I heard this from a friend some time ago, and it really made me think. So many of us have a low sense of self-worth or personal value that we would not even consider naming ourselves as something we love. Yet self-esteem is so important because it completely influences our choices and decisions. Low self-esteem can stop us from being, doing, and having what we want in our life.
Why we suffer from low self-esteem
Our level of self-esteem, or sense of self-worth, is based on the opinions and beliefs we have about ourselves. Sometimes these beliefs are empowering, however if these beliefs are disempowering, they contribute to a low sense of self-worth.
Surprisingly, it only takes two or three pieces of evidence to form beliefs that can remain with us for the rest of our life. Beliefs feel true and real, so we do not think to question them. It is just how it is or who we are. Many beliefs are formed in our early years, between the ages of 0 and 7, when we do not have the ability to believe anything to be untrue. We accept everything at face value, so if someone tells you that you are amazing, brilliant, or kind, you will grow to uphold this belief. Equally, if you are told you are stupid, useless, or not good enough, these beliefs will stick too, even though they are generalizations about the past, which no longer serve you.
I often hear my clients saying, “I have low self-esteem,” “I have no self-confidence,” or “I am not good enough.” These identity-level beliefs affect the meaning we give to things and how we behave. They create a self-fulfilling prophecy making it impossible to see things differently. This is because our Reticular Activating System (the part of our brain that heightens our perception and ability to see things) focuses on the things we have strong emotions about. It helps us to notice them more, reinforcing the beliefs we already have.
Sometimes, a low sense of self-worth can begin later in life because of ongoing periods of stress, difficult relationships, or financial difficulty. These opinions and beliefs can feel equally as difficult to change.
How you can begin to boost your self-esteem
When we have a low sense of self-worth or believe we are not good enough, finding ways to boost self-esteem can feel hard. Here are five ways you can begin discovering the amazing person you are.
1. Acknowledge how you are feeling
Be aware of how you feel. Take time to label the feeling and the emotions. Define what, specifically, is making you feel this way and process your thoughts properly. We often find our heads are like a tangled ball of wool, with too many thoughts, meanings, and questions competing for space.
2. Focus on what you want
Having clear outcomes is an effective way to begin making changes in your life. Take the time to define what you want to be, do and have. Dare to daydream, seeing how life is once you feel great about yourself and have everything you want. If that feels difficult, start identifying what you don’t want and then consider what you do want instead.
3. Forgive yourself for past mistakes
Let go of any guilt you have about things that have happened and learn from your past experiences. Everything we experience in life is helping us to change and grow. Allowing yourself to accept the past will free you up to focus on the now and the future.
4. Keep your love and belonging and significance buckets full
Identify the things which make you feel loved and feel good about yourself. Make a list, and then look at how you can include them in your daily routines. Finding supportive people to connect with can be beneficial, as isolation often increases the feeling of low self-worth—mindfulness and meditation work for many people, helping to turn off the unhelpful chatter in their heads. Daily affirmations are a great way to boost your mood and outlook about who you are and what you can achieve.
5. Find gratitude in your life today
Remember to enjoy what you have right now. I know this can be difficult when you don’t feel great about yourself. Take time each day to make a list if that helps. Jot down whatever comes to mind, however big or small.
So, go ahead, give your self-esteem a boost this week and experience the difference it makes.
Jo Uff, Executive Contributor Brainz Magazine
Jo has been coaching and leading individuals and teams to achieve successful, transformational change since 2007. Following a 30-year career within corporate organisations across a variety of sectors, Jo established her own coaching business, dedicated to strengthening positive mindset and wellbeing. She is a certified NLP Master Practitioner and Coach.
Having overcome her own struggles, she is passionate about the importance of good psychological wellbeing and helping people to rediscover joy and embrace life as an adventure. As a mum to two teenagers, Jo appreciates the challenges of juggling a career, alongside raising a family. She enjoys running regularly to support her overall well-being.
As a personal wellbeing coach, Jo helps women to feel positive, confident, and full of energy, so that they can be, do and have more of what they want in their personal and/or professional life. She does this by working as their guide to alter the beliefs, behaviors and values that are disempowering and no longer serve them.
Jo continues to work with organizations as a business coach and mentor, empowering individuals and teams to increase performance, achieve goals, and overcome challenges affecting their wellbeing and success.