This is the 2nd of a three part series on self-esteem. Please refer to Part 1 before continuing.
Today, Nokubonga Mbanga, Leadership Coach and our weekly contributor, continues the discussion around self-esteem as she shares her first 5 tips and ideas on the topic.
Building Self-Esteem that Works – Part 2
Let’s look at the first 5 techniques that I have practiced, with myself and with my clients, which have stood the test of time.
- Understand the soup you are cooked in: How did you become a person who lives with low self-esteem? What influenced you to think poorly of yourself? Where did you learn to believe that you deserve less? Once you understand your context and the background to how you became a person who lives with low self-esteem, you begin to take ownership of the current reality. You also understand that in some instances, if not most, these messages were not created by you. You own someone’s view of yourself. I remember the sobering feeling which I experienced, it was liberating to know the role that I played and that I can give myself permission to write the future differently.
- Manage your inner dialogue: Be in touch with the conversations which take place in your head because if they continue unmanaged, point 1 becomes a fruitless exercise. Managing your negative self-talk or inner critic requires you to challenge the messages, beliefs, patterns and all the nuances that perpetuate negative self-talk. I had a client who would undermine her own success. Whenever she received positive feedback or opportunities, she would downplay them and laugh it off with disbelief. The conversation in her head will go something like this: “How could they ask me to come and speak at such a prestigious event? Do they know how crazy I am? Maybe they ran out of options and I was the last resort?” What follows is self sabotage, for example, delaying the acceptance of the invitation or coming up with excuses, in order to not so show up at all. When negative self-talk is not managed it is like a wild dog. It creates havoc in your mind, keeping you away from experiencing life and you give it permission to keep you in jail. Wear an analytical hat because often these negative beliefs are based on one occasion or evidence only. It seems irrational to believe that you are ugly just because someone said you have a goats chin, doesn’t it?
- Define how you want to be and how you want to show up in the world: Once you know your inner critics’ intention and the role you have played in the past and present, its time to write a future that is inline with who you truly are. When we live with low self-esteem we do not show up as our authentic self. For example, you don’t challenge your boss or colleague in a meeting because you are afraid of how they will respond and the rejection that comes with possibly offending someone. People with low self-esteem rely heavily on external validation and that can be a very excruciating way of living your life.
- Build a loving relationship with yourself: This is a great opportunity to introduce a positive voice to your inner dialogue. Let’s call it your inner mentor and its purpose is to provide a different mirror or perspective. Building a loving relationship is about knowing who you truly are and developing practices that enhance what already exists. This requires you to be your own best friend through various practices that include: giving yourself positive feedback based on evidence, starting to get in touch with what makes you tick and celebrating what is great and amazing about who you are.
- Know your strengths, values and talents: This is an antidote when your inner critic starts to make claims with no proof and you can easily challenge the belief because you have all the evidence and knowledge that you are competent.
In part 3, I will share the last 5 techniques.
Why not you, why not me? Its time to fill up your cup with a healthy self-esteem mindset.
I would like to encourage you to go back to our old blogs as I find that the lessons and advice shared on those posts is still powerful and relevant. I would like to challenge you to always share a post after you’ve read it. The idea is to touch and help as many people as possible.