Sudha got ready to go to a party. At the party, her colleague praised her saying that she looked beautiful and pretty. She immediately reacted by saying “No, no. I am just looking normal, nothing like that”. Later she started thinking that either her colleague was just trying to be nice to her or she used to look more horrible earlier or he really did not mean that at all. She felt uncomfortable all the while in the party and could not enjoy it.
What is low esteem?
It is about we undervaluing ourselves (giving less importance to ourselves) and how less valuable we think we are to others (think that we are less important to others). The person does not realise his/her full potential.
How to recognise low self-esteem?
1. If your eye contact is not good with others while communicating and walking with head down.
2. Saying sorry a lot.
3. Being more dependent on others for decisions.
4. Taking things too personally and thinking negative most often.
5. Not interacting much with others and fear of taking risks.
6. Trying to be perfect in everything.
Possible causes of low self esteem could be
1. Excessive criticism in childhood, not receiving praise.
2. Inattentive parents/ Parental conflict
3. Being bullied in childhood; Not accepted in peer group.
4. Overprotective and overly supportive parents.
5. Abuse – physical, sexual or emotional.
6. Media and society highlighting about beauty, thinness, etc.
To raise your self esteem, it will take time, hard work and if needed, counselling from a friend or a mental health professional.
Here are some simple positive techniques to boost your self esteem.
1. USE POSITIVE THINKING INSTEAD OF NEGATIVE SELF TALK.
a. For example – A person who made a mistake in the job with low self esteem would say “I made a stupid mistake, I am no good at all in this job.”
Instead say “ Yes, I did make a mistake and I learnt from it. Now I can do a better job.”
2. LEARN TO RESPECT YOURSELF and affirmatively keep saying this daily “I respect myself and others too.”
3. ACCEPT YOURSELF AS YOU ARE.
a. Say to yourself “It is okay to flaw or make mistakes. I am human after all.”
b. Try not to be perfect in everything. Set realistic standards.
c. You are fine the way you are and always give room for improvement.
4. RECOGNISE WHETHER YOU ARE CRITICIZING YOURSELF A LOT like “I am not good”, “I am a failure”, “No one likes me” etc. Usually such statements are never totally true. Instead of seeing yourself in black shades try to see grey shades like
a. For example – say to yourself “I have not done my work properly a few times, it means I have to work harder, does not make me a failure” instead of saying that you are a failure.
5. QUESTION THE NEGATIVE MESSAGES ABOUT YOURSELF.
a. For example – A doctor who performs surgeries feels that there is something wrong with him just because he is shy in parties. Just being shy does not make him a loser. Every person has his/ her own weaknesses but one should not label oneself based on it.
b. There is nothing really wrong in being shy or awkward
6. TRY TO WORK OUT ON YOUR WEAKNESSES.
a. Talk to people/ friends about ways to improve.
b. Seek professional help if needed. Before that identify the problem, accept it and get ready to overcome it.
7. AVOID TRYING TO BASE YOUR SELF ESTEEM IN EXTERNAL SOURCES like getting a job, getting many friends etc. Try to find it within and not based on external sources as they are temporary.
8. DO NOT TRY TO SEEK CONSTANT REASSURANCE FROM OTHERS QUITE OFTEN.
9. BE COMFORTABLE TO TAKE PRAISES FROM PEOPLE.
a. For example – In the case scenario, Sudha should have thanked her colleague for complimenting her. Be ready to accept praises.
b. Not many people have time to praise others and if they do, accept it with a thank you note. You do not lose anything by feeling good once a while.
10. DO NOT JUMP TO CONCLUSIONS.
a. For example, you have messaged your friend to meet up and they have not replied. Do not say “I am a loser, they do not like me. I will never have friends”. Instead say “Okay, he must be busy, let me plan something else in the meanwhile.”
Final word – You value yourself first and only then can you expect others to value you. You are your first priority and first love.
The post in telugu.