Low self-esteem doesn’t let us engage in a healthy relationship and reach professional heights, it causes addictions and emotional traumas. Can something be done about it or is low self-esteem a curse? Here are 11 pieces of psychological advice by Janet Woititz that will help you to decrease stress level in a relationship and raise your self-esteem.
Stick to the following principles
What do you like?
The only way to realize who you are is to find the things you like doing.
Discussion vs silence
Discussing relationship problems decreases the fear of being rejected.
Are you normal?
Perhaps, you are always trying to guess what “a norm” means. People with low self-esteem need to know and understand that there is no such notion as “being normal.” It’s much more effective to ask yourself a question: what is really important to you? What is important to your family? Your main task is not to find out what is normal for you but to understand what works the best for you and your close people.
Accept your true self
The first step to giving up on any harmful habit is to realize it. Just keep an eye on yourself. Instead of or criticizing yourself, try to get to know yourself better analyzing the way you behave. Should we start looking at ourselves honestly without condemnation and draw a distinct boundary between our self and behavior, we are able to change, develop, and grow.
Admit your feelings
Feelings can be neither right nor wrong. If we consider our feeling wrong, guilt is being added to it, which makes a situation even worse. The anger you feel is real. Should you decide it’s wrong to feel anger and change it for compassion, this practice won’t help you. One feeling isn’t to be substituted for another.
It’s impossible to completely win over the feeling of loneliness, but there are ways of decreasing it. First of all, you need to risk opening to others. The best way to get what you need is to start doing it yourself. If you want to be loved, be the first to offer love. Of course, it’s a risk – to be misunderstood or rejected. Yet, avoiding a risk you сhoose to be lonely. The point is that risk gives us a chance to change. It isn’t enough to try once. Promise yourself that every day you will gradually be leaving your comfort zone.
The harm of self-criticism
There is a nice group exercise proving that self-criticism is always too subjective. Participants form a circle; their task is to free themselves (either partially or completely) from the traits they don’t want to possess anymore. If somebody likes the rejected traits, they may “acquire” them.
For instance, one participant says they want to get rid of procrastination, but almost at the same time, another person says they need this trait because they are hyperactive. Others may say: “I want to get rid of a feeling of guilt,” and instantly get an answer “I need some of your guilt. I feel too selfish.”
This exercise proves that our traits are to be thoroughly studied. How useful do we find them? Are they really as harmful as we believe? Obviously, there is no use condemning yourself and your negative traits. If you decide to be yourself, you get more possibilities.
A too emotional response to a minor problem (for example, friends cancel a meeting at the last moment) is typically connected with our past. Something similar happened before, once or many times, usually in our childhood.
The first thing you have to do is to clearly define what cases make you respond too emotionally. Is your response adequate and should you react exactly like that? If these questions make you defend, you really react too emotionally.
To overcome such reactions, firstly you have to realize their essence and understand what past actions have caused them. The next step is to consciously change our habits. Ask yourself to which extent you stick to your usual plans. Can you take another way home? Or go shopping on Monday not on Wednesday as usual? Can you change plans not disorienting yourself? This is an opportunity to become more flexible. Being flexible in one realm lets us develop this feature in other spheres as well.
Analyze what people are present in your life and what is the essence of your relationship with them. Do you get from people around you as much as you give them? Are they stronger or weaker than you? It may happen that if you objectively evaluate your surroundings, you will see that you give more than receive. Then you will have to change your circle and support a relationship only with those able to engage in a symmetric relationship.
Perhaps, it happens so because you don’t let others do something for you. You consider yourself strong enough to independently take care of yourself, but why not let others take part in your life?
If you are constantly asking yourself “Why am I together with this person? Why can’t I leave them?” you should definitely analyze your relationship. People unworthy of our loyalty tend to constantly criticize us. Be careful while listening to these remarks: who is a person criticizing? Does criticism refer really to you or a person projects their own flaws on you?
Pain, sadness, or anger belong only to those who experience them. These feelings shouldn’t become yours, you can merely display empathy and compassion. Probably, you’ve been involved in an unhealthy relationship because of your feeling of guilt. If this feeling makes you are easy to manipulate, you may think you owe another person something. “They have been good to me. They cared about me.”
Keep in mind that it’s wrong to feel guilty or obliged because of these reasons. You owe others nothing for their supporting you. You are self-sufficient. If you feel obliged because they have supported you, you admit that you are absolutely unworthy.
You will become confident only if you manage to cope with the tasks you’ve set yourself. Tasks may be simple or difficult, but you must be sure you can complete them.
You may fail sometimes. If you’ve succeeded, you’ve done a great job; thus, reward yourself. Always remember about the things you do well. Don’t ignore them. Use them as a basis to become a complete personality. Should you fail, find something else. Failures shouldn’t devastate you but give the power to move on.
If you follow these simple but effective pieces of advice, you will definitely become more self-confident. This, in turn, will open new horizons to you. So, don’t miss your golden chance!