Having a low self esteem can arise for many and complex reasons, and different causes may require different remedies. However, there are some common themes amongst those who suffer from a lack of self esteem, and alongside them come some partial solutions which, when brought together, may help you to start increasing your self regard. Once you start that process, it can then become a much easier task to eliminate your low self esteem altogether.
It can sometimes be very difficult to view yourself in a detached and critical way, without emotion intervening, and that is especially so if your self esteem is not at a tolerable level. However, it can be a great help if you can devote some initial time in self examination, and to find if there is a pattern to your feelings. If you can pinpoint those moments when your esteem is, in your eyes, at its lowest, and also at its highest, you will probably find some clues as to how you may improve the way you feel.
Something very important to remember is that, although you may not think too highly of yourself at any one moment, others may see you differently and more positively. In fact, everybody will see you from different angles, and with different results. You are an individual, and so is everyone else; what that means is you have a self image and a different image to everyone else you ever meet. That image is one you make into what you want, if approached in the right way and with patience.
How differently you may appear to others can be quite stunning, when compared to the way you feel. Once on a management course I had to do a mock presentation to a senior executive, based on quite a large volume of reading material. It was February in England, and I had just come back to work that day after 2 weeks of flu, commuted for over 2 hours, and felt awful. What was more overwhelming was that my personal life was in emotional turmoil, and was about all I could think of. I felt dire, but had to do the presentation, and to make it worse, have it videod and then criticised by others on the course, plus lecturers.
When I watched that video, sitting with the jury, I could not believe I was watching me. I had felt terrible, but came across as calm, knowledgeable and in full control. I never once obviously referred to my notes, whereas others had. Yet I knew there were others on the course far more able than I.
There are a couple of lessons that can be learnt from this:
Firstly, I saw for the first time how differently you may be viewed from outside of yourself, and it is always worth bearing in mind that others in your life may be thinking very positively of you.
Secondly, what carried me through on that occasion was simply my memory. My natural memory was not good, so when I had first started professional studies, I had bought a manual on improving memory. That was the only reason I could appear so confident to others, when I, quite frankly, felt like death warmed up.
What, then, can you do with those two lessons? As far as the way others see you is concerned, try to spend some time focusing on the way different people react to you, and concentrate on those who are very positive and seem to like you, and respect you. It is a privilege to be liked and respected, so you are entitled to make the most of it and appreciate it. Try to see yourself the way they see you. If you feel happiest with those people, or even one of them, then try to understand why. If the opportunity arises, have yourself recorded on video with these people in a natural setting, just a home video. Better still, make that opportunity arise. Then watch that video and learn; see yourself happy and at your height in confidence. You will not be the person you feel inside.
If you find there is a part of your life, such as work environment, where your self esteem is lowest, then work on building your confidence with the aim in mind of leaving that environment. A fresh start with people you have never even met before can be an ideal time to reinvent yourself. The important thing, though, is to make the most of the positives in your current situation, and give them greater emphasis. Over time, you can work on minimising or eliminating the negatives.
When it comes to memory, that is a skill that can be applied in just about any situation. Used discreetly and naturally, without showing off, a good memory can make a very positive impression on others, and enhance your own life in many ways.