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First Aid For Self-Esteem: Part 2

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Get involved. You need people and they need you. Don’t hide because you may feel you have nothing to contribute. Get involved with co-workers you don’t usually work with. Start a new project, take a class, learn something new, befriend a different co-worker and start a social group or book club. Invite colleagues to your home. You need to invest in your job, just as your employer has invested in you. Becoming more involved in your job and other areas of your life will pay off with dividends for your self-esteem.

Consciously visualize a good self-image. Mentally picture how you want your life to be. Concentrate on the positive changes you want to make in your life. To boost your self-image, you need to alter the way you think about yourself. Remind yourself of your good qualities. Observe the characteristics of people you admire. Ask friends and confidants how they overcame their own fears. The image you put into your mind today will be the image you project tomorrow.

Don’t compare yourself to others. No one’s life is as perfect as it looks; so don’t try to model yourself exactly on another’s. You have no idea what problems they are dealing with. Remember you are only seeing the self-image they choose to project. The key is to accept your differences. It’s okay to have different levels of experience, talent or intelligence than your co-workers. You and your colleagues are all at different stages and it takes those differences to form a dynamic team. Every person is unique and has some talent and experience worth bringing to the table.

Verbalize good self-esteem. When having an internal dialog with yourself, always keep it positive. Your energy is much better spent in projecting a genuinely positive attitude. That is best accomplished when you feel positive toward yourself and others. Keep your self-evaluation positive and you’ll find that it makes others feel more positive toward you. Your fears and beliefs can have a lot of power over your life. They are not reality; they are only ideas that can have positive or negative impacts on your attitudes and behavior. These beliefs come from your past programming—some of which has had a good influence and some of which is negative. Your task now is to work on reversing the effects of the bad programming. Remember that everything you say to yourself and to others is being recorded in your head, so try to make it as positive and nurturing as you can. Occasionally, constructive criticism is necessary. Whether the constructive criticism is for you or for another, direct the remarks to the action and not the person.

Accept whatever is valid in both criticism and compliments. People with low self-esteem have a hard time accepting either compliments or criticism. They take criticism too much to heart and dwell on it. They often refuse to believe a compliment. When you receive criticism, examine it. Accept the valid part from which you can learn. Throw the rest out. When you receive a compliment, it’s a gift! Appreciate it. Unless the compliment is exaggerated, accept it as truth. Be gracious to the person who gave it to you. Allow yourself to feel good about it.

Make a think / thank list. List your blessings and all of the things that you are thankful for. It helps to focus on what you appreciate. Write down your good qualities, accomplishments and talents. Don’t leave anything out. Once you get that list going, use it to help reshape your self-image. Keep all the positive things in your life on this list, including family, friends, work and home. Now list your personal and professional ambitions. Be as specific as pos­sible. Figure out where you are on the road to making those goals a reality. The think / thank list gives you the opportunity to see where you’ve come from, the hurdles you had to jump over and the negative experiences you had to get past. Use the list to remind yourself of the goals you have already accomplished. That list will help you maintain a positive outlook and make new plans for the future.

The benefit of repaired and strengthened self-esteem is the ability to reach your potential – to be the best you can be. Some people settle for less, some may fear failure and others will fear success. They are comfortable with what they have now in terms of a job or relationship. They fear delving into the unknown, which might be worse. Life is a risk and none of us would be where we are now if we hadn’t taken some risk. We will never get to be where we want to be tomorrow if we don’t take some more. When you have good self-esteem, those risks don’t seem half as scary. You will have the confidence you need to tackle anything.


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