We've all seen them -- attractive, sweet, intelligent girls -- involved in relationships with men who are possessive, dominating, and even abusive. Are you plagued by anxiety, insecurity, constantly fearful of making a mistake, desperately seeking re-assurance, feeling so imperfect, so inadequate? There is hope out there for women to lead a happy, worthy life.
We need to believe in our own assessment of ourselves rather than "needing" to seek the appraisal of others.
Self Esteem is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness.
Women are particularly vulnerable to low self-esteem. We strive to establish our place in a "man's world" in business, while at the same time trying to balance a career with family and household responsibilities. We strive to work on our physical image, feeling pressure to be thin and fit and look like a Hollywood starlet.
A woman's low self-esteem can effect every relationship she has.
She may feel unworthy as a daughter, feeling she let her parents down by not being as successful, smart, or popular as a sibling, or to the same degree that she feels her parents think she should be. As a wife, she may not feel pretty enough, thin enough, or sexually attractive enough. She may even marry someone who is mentally or physically abusive, as she feels she doesn't deserve more. As a partner herself, she may have difficulty being a strict disciplinarian. In friendships, she may not pursue any relationships, causing her to feel more isolated. She may be a pushover and be unable to say no. She may develop relationships with people who take advantage of her vulnerability.
A basic need of all people is that of believing that they are lovable and knowing that they are loved. So many women wake up every morning without that.
Remember - you're uniquely special!
Start improving your self-esteem by acknowledging that you are special - because there's no one else quite like you. Not only are your fingerprints and DNA different from everyone else's (Unless you have an identical twin), but your mind, and how it thinks and operates, is totally your own. This means that out of almost 7 billion people in the world, you are a one-of. So if nature has bothered to make you unique, don't you feel you should accept that you're important and also that you have as much right as anyone else to be on this planet?
Put behaviour in perspective
Unfortunately, lots of people with poor self-esteem really beat themselves up whenever they make a mistake or error of judgment. If you are prone to deep despair at some aspect of yourself, try telling yourself that it's just a tiny fragment of the multiple layers and components that make up the real you. And try not to condemn the whole of your being when you make a mistake or do something you're not too proud of.
Halt destructive thoughts
Many people with poor self-esteem think they're not very important and that their views carry no weight. Is this you? Try to stop these destructive thoughts because if you go around believing them, you'll encourage other people to believe them too. Start thinking of yourself as someone who has rights, opinions and ideas that are just as valid as those of anyone else.
Accentuate the positive
Often we make ourselves unhappy because we go over and over mistakes we have made. But we can improve our self-esteem if we re-think the things we believe we have done wrong or badly. For example, where I work, we are required to give presentations to clients. Our boss used to be very critical of our performance and we would lose sleep afterwards over the tiniest of errors. But now, I write an account of each presentation shortly after I’ve given it and I only write about the things that went well. I don't need to write about the bad things – that will stick in my memory.
A final note...
Having poor self-esteem can really make our lives, work and our relationships so much more difficult than they need to be. Once you have more positive regard for yourself, you'll find that everything in your existence will run much more smoothly than it does at the moment.
Written by Ricalda Makena
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