Written by Mitch McCrimmon, Ph.D.
A sure recipe for low self esteem is to constantly beat yourself for your failings. To raise your self-esteem, celebrate your strengths and achievements. It's easy to overlook our strengths when we are in a negative frame of mind. Also, we take for granted the things we find easy to do. Getting honest feedback also helps.
Why do you think you have so few strengths worth celebrating?
- Because everyone has always pointed out your shortcomings - as you do yourself.
- Because you rarely get any positive feedback for a job well done .
- Because the things you do well are so familiar to you that you take them for granted .
- Because you have learned to focus only on your mistakes .
Audit your strengths
- This is not as easy as it seems because you will have discounted your strengths.
- Find a good listener to help you review everything you have done.
- Others may be more objective about what you can do than you can be.
- Discuss work and non-work projects you have been involved in over the last 5 years.
- Strive to avoid discounting the other person's attempts to name your strengths.
Review your strengths
- Make a list of your strengths and read it to yourself regularly, adding to it as you go.
- Praise yourself for what you have achieved.
- Compare yourself favourably with peers who have not done what you have done.
- Review your strengths whenever you are feeling particularly defeated.
- Without feedback, we think negatively and we lose touch with reality. We maintain low self esteem.
- In a negative frame of mind, we exaggerate negative thoughts about ourselves and our self esteem falls further.
- The thought of feedback is frightening as we expect confirmation of our worst fears.
- Actual feedback is more objective and we are surprised at how positive it is.
- The best way to get honest feedback is through an anonymous questionnaire.
- Like businesses, you need accurate feedback from key customers.
- You will get some negative feedback, as will everyone.
- The key is to CELEBRATE the positive feedback and plan to improve in the other areas.
- Use regular feedback as a way of maintaining perspective on yourself.
- Your self esteem will rise as you see how little it takes to really please people.
- Our self esteem suffers when we have no feedback because we expect the worst.
- Even if you don't like some feedback, it is critical to thank the person giving it and to avoid arguing or defending yourself. Otherwise you won't get such feedback ever again.