Why is there such a problem with low self-esteem today?
The 2008 Real Girls, Real Pressure: A National Report on the State of Self-Esteem, commissioned by the Dove® SelfEsteem Fund, reveals that “seven in ten (70%) girls believe they are not good enough or do not measure up in some way, including their looks, performance in school and relationships with friends and family members.”
As this illustrates, self-esteem or self-worth begins in childhood. And while there are endless combinations of behaviors that contribute to low self-esteem, there seems to be two extreme parental behaviors that start the low self-esteem ball rolling:
- One extreme is abuse, neglect, withholding love and support.
- The other extreme is praising children for everything so they never develop a real sense of self-worth.
Even when parents are doing their best, they make mistakes, such as these, in varying degrees of seriousness. If left uncorrected, they can have long-reaching consequences. Add the unrealistic body image promoted by the media, plus the demands for fitting in and being popular, and we a have the perfect storm for low self-esteem.
It’s important to note that confidence and self-esteem are not the same thing. You have confidence in your abilities (doing). Esteem means you value who you are as a person (being). There’s a big difference between doing and being. You could be doing the most amazing things, and yet feel that you’re not being good enough.
How can self-esteem be restored?
- Correct your thinking.
Teach yourself to think long term. Negative thoughts are often trying to protect you, in the short term, by shaming you into fitting in, not making waves, keeping the status quo. But in the long term, these negative thoughts are limiting your growth. A practice of mindfulness will help you identify limiting beliefs or unrealistic expectations.
- Teach people to respect you.
People will treat you like you treat yourself. So get your badass attitude on. You deserve to love yourself, to be kind to yourself, to talk to yourself without judgment or harshness. Don’t primarily focus on being liked or pleasing everyone. That will only lead to compromising your boundaries. Instead, focus on being the best you that you can be.
- Own your uniqueness.
No one else on the earth is exactly like you. Your experiences, perspective, and acquired knowledge are valuable gifts you can share with the world. But the best gift you can give is being yourself. You are the one person who can make a difference in this world. When you believe that, you’ll be centered on what is real.
Because Neuro Linguistic Programming is such a powerful tool for improving low self-esteem and building self-worth, I’d like to invite you to our upcoming Foundations of Life Coaching and NLP. It will be held in Ashland, Oregon, so make plans now to attend this life-changing, 3-day event and Nando and I will help you kick your low self-esteem to the curb.