PRACTICAL GUIDE TO NURTURE YOUR SELF-ESTEEM
I don’t know any, and in a recent episode of her newly launched podcast the former First Lady Michelle Obama doesn’t either: “I mean, yeah. If you just think about it, do you know any woman who would come in and go, ‘I’m good’. I don’t know one”.
If it was only an issue of achieving more, being more and doing more, most of us can agree that Michelle Obama and her friends like Oprah Winfrey tick all the boxes. They are high achievers, game changers, activists, gorgeous, successful and the list goes on. If they are not aways happy with themselves and have high self esteems, then how can a teenage girl in the midst of puberty exposed to all types of media do?
If I take an inventory in my life, I can think of many women that I consider confident, yet I wonder how do they feel about themselves. There must be at least one thing they would want to change about themselves. I for sure know that I have many moments of doubt, comparing my life with people that I know and many others that I only know online. However there is a big difference between wanting to better yourself and striving for perfection.
Reciting affirmations in the mirror may work for some people, but they never worked for me. Now the question is HOW do we actually achieve more self-esteem?
1. BE OBJECTIVE
Do you ever cringe when you hear the phrase mirror work? It consists of you standing in front of a mirror and tell yourself compliments. “You are the most beautiful, the smartest, dopest human being ever to step foot on earth.” Yeah, me too. I can’t really take myself seriously while attempting to do it, and it doesn’t help me feel better.
Being objective does. Firstly I like to ground myself, which means taking myself back to present moment and in the place I am at. I look around and become aware of where I am. Then I state the obvious objective things, such as “I have a functioning body. I have days when I feel happy and positive and days when I feel like sad, frustrated. If I am not satisfied with something in my life I can change it. I can change my friends group, career, country, lifestyle.” Being objective makes me feel powerful and strong, and it feels like someone else would look into my life and state the obvious.
2. REMIND YOURSELF OF YOUR MORTALITY
Nothing matter and everything matters at the same time. It is important to enjoy and thrive in this human experience, but at the same time it’s not worth it to be stressed all the time and striving for perfection. There is an end line for every single one of us and we don’t know when that is. We might as well enjoy life and be present while we can.
3. FIND AREAS YOU CAN ACTUALLY IMPROVE AT
Looking in the mirror and telling yourself you are the best chef in your family when you can barely boil some rice will not really make you more confident in yourself. Attempting to learn a recipe and master it, will.
As a polyglot I like to have a vast vocabulary in every language that I speak. When I first moved abroad, I wasn’t feeling very comfortable having conversations in the local language because of my poor vocabulary. The most simple solution to my insecurity was to learn new words, through reading, listening or learn one word a day apps.
4. STOP TRYING TO BE POSITIVE ALL THE TIME
No one is positive all the time and that isn’t the goal in life. We have a vast array of emotions and none is better than the other, but all are necessary. In a culture of #positivevibesonly, it can becoming intimidating and almost concerning feeling sad, frustrated, nervous. None of these emotions should make us feel less confident or “ok”. Feel it all, embrace all emotions, but do not get stuck in any.
5. LEARN THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN JOY AND HAPPINESS
Joy and happiness are wonderful feelings to experience, but they are different. Joy is less transitory and it is not tied to external circumstances. Happiness is triggered by external events. If something happens you experience happiness, however after that wave of emotion is gone you return to your default “joy level”. If a person’s default joy level is 3, when an external circumstance causes them to experience happiness it can raise to a 6. After the event it will naturally return to level 3. The aim is to build a default joy level that is quite high up so we can experience it most of the time. It can be cultivated through meditation, connecting with nature, journaling, gratitude practices.