How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence

build self confidence and self esteem
build self confidence and self esteem

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Self esteem. Most people don’t know how to build their self esteem and self confidence. And it’s tough, self esteem is kind of an abstract concept. Most people feel like they know what it is but they really don’t. It’s one of those ideals people constantly chase like- purpose, meaning, life, and goodness. Self esteem is probably the most valuable thing you can have and yet so many people don’t posses it.

So what is self esteem? And how do you build your self esteem?

Self esteem, by my definition, is a sense of confidence and belief in oneself that you are a person of value; a person worthy of respect and dignity. That you are a capable and independent person no matter what.

Let’s break down the concept further. What is esteem? What does it mean to hold someone in high esteem? Well, you’ll probably really respect that person, you won’t doubt them in moments when they give you advice and you might even want to be a bit like them. Self esteem is exactly that, but towards yourself.

A lot of people throw around that phrase but don’t really have it in themselves. Often times it’s confused with ego. But self esteem is different than ego. Ego is a version of ourselves that we imagine. Our sense of self. You can have an ego and no self esteem. You can also have self esteem and no ego. You can have both. But they are separate. Like I said, ego is the version of ourselves we imagine and self esteem is the complete respect and belief in oneself.

So what do you need to do in order to build a high self esteem? It’s not as easy as you think:

1) Avoid toxic people
This seems like a given but somehow toxic people tend to slither into our lives. They love to leech off the good energy of people with high self esteem and confidence. Usually in the form of a romantic interest. When you have high self esteem you tend to repel toxic partners (because you know better than to engage them) but when it’s low, the toxics will come in droves. It makes sense to avoid someone who devalues you, doesn’t respect you, pokes at your insecurities and overall is incompatible. Yet so many men and women end up with partners that thrive on keeping their lovers down and out.

By ending relationships that hurt how you see yourself, you are taking the next step to confidence and happiness. Because it’s impossible to be happy when someone you love is hurting you. It just doesn’t work if you want to build your self confidence.

2) Avoid situations that are emotionally harmful

This sort of ties in to topic # 1, if you’re avoiding toxic people you’re essentially avoiding situations that are harmful. But that’s not enough, there are tons of different situations you’ll need to avoid in order to maintain your sense of who you are and your value.

Somehow we’re also drawn to situations that seem either too good to be true or just give us too much hope. Disappointment is a huge reason why people lose their self-esteem. It could be something as easy as wanting a guy/girl to like you and finding out he wants your friend or standing next to your supermodel sister and feeling like the most monstrous person in the world when you’re actually really cute or dating a known player but still hoping you can change him. Or studying with the smartest kid in class, only to be left feeling dumb because you take too long to do the work. These sort of small not so serious situations will peck at your self-esteem and keep you from feeling as confident as you should be.

There’s also the issue with drama. I wish people were logical but we aren’t. We’re drawn to drama because it gives us a thrill or some sort of validation. It’s so important to avoid all drama and disappointment as much as possible and not put yourself in these emotionally charged situations because at the end of it all, the conflict will cause negativity towards yourself.

Think about the last big argument you got into…it wasn’t long until you started doubting yourself and wondering why you’re going through such a hard time. You started to question who you are and your value. The truth is, you can’t always avoid drama but, at the very least, you don’t have to seek it out.

3) Remember your strength

Sometimes when I’m feeling like life is impossible and too hard, I look back at what I’ve accomplished. I think of all the really hard shit I’ve gone through like my battle with achalasia or my unplanned pregnancy or the mold that infested our house. You see, I went through all that and it was stressful but I got through it.

Chances are there are challenges you’ve had to go through too. Remembering those obstacles in your life and drawing on that strength you had to get through them is a huge tool.

Looking at your past moments of perseverance and applying that to your future is one way to build your self esteem. Why shouldn’t you believe in yourself now when you’ve proven yourself capable time and time again? This is an easy way to build your confidence. It’s not really a fake it until you make it sort of self-esteem but more about giving yourself the credit you deserve.

4) Be your own cheerleader
It’s not always going to work out that someone will be rooting you on. In reality, there might be people in your life who are actively trying to tear you down.

Life is rarely perfect in that way and in these times you’ll need to know how to be your own cheerleader and believe in yourself when no one else does.

There was a girl in my high school that was always so negative. She had no knowledge on how to build self confidence. Every conversation I had with her was dreary and self-deprecating. She always complained about how nobody liked her, she was ugly, the teacher didn’t help her, her parents suck, etc. I tried to cheer her up and get her to think about the positives in her life but it never worked. After a while it was too draining and I had to distance myself. It just seemed like she enjoyed her own misery.

The point is to not expect others to lift you up but to do it on your own, even if you have to fake your own happiness for a little while. Self esteem isn’t something that can be built overnight but is something that’s built over time as you start to see yourself as worthy.

That friend, she had terrible self esteem and even though I was a friend who always was positive, it never helped. She needed to see all the positives in herself, for herself.

5) Accept who you are
Don’t be an apple wishing it was a pear, and don’t be a pear wishing it was an apple.

We all have things we wish we could change about ourselves but some of those things are unchangeable.

When I was younger, I used to wish I had lighter skin. Can you really change the color of your skin? Not unless you’re Michael Jackson.

My skin is the color of light milk chocolate and it’s a very nice complexion, but I lived in a neighborhood that was white and Italian so I wanted a fair complexion instead. Over time I learned to really love my skin, it hardly wrinkles and never gets sunburn. Imagine if I dwelled over my darker skin color, how unhappy I would have been?

For things you can’t change, you need to learn to live with it and love it. Your quirks, your imperfections, all of it. Accepting these things about yourself and even loving them will give you the mental room to feel positive about who you are and what you’re all about.

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I think the main point here is that most people aren’t born with a ton of self esteem. I would describe it more like a muscle you need to flex to strengthen.

What benefits are there to build self confidence? Tons, actually! You can finally do all those things you wanted to do in your life but were uncertain you could accomplish. You can ask that cute guy/girl out and not feel like their approval means everything and you can start living on your own terms and no longer feel chained to your insecurities. A person with high self esteem has the ultimate freedom.

So take it one step at a time, little by little your self esteem with find you.

If you like “How To Build Your Self Esteem & Self Confidence” Check Out My Other Posts!

Motivational Book Club: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey
How To Be Charismatic & How To Be More Likable
How To Be Successful & Be Happy

What To Do When You Dislike Your Job

 

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I’m going back to work in less than a month, my maternity leave is over and I really wish it wasn’t ending. Though it would be nice to earn real money again, short term disability and paid family leave is really nothing in terms of compensation.

During my time of just being at home with family, I realized why I’m always so on edge and why I’ve been so unhappy with my career. I finally have the job that I’ve been looking for for so long, but it’s the people that make it miserable.

You see, I thought I would be happy doing challenging work with competitive pay but I was wrong.

There’s not a single one of my bosses that I’ve liked. You can follow all my blog posts and see just how miserable this job has made me. Yet I stay because of the benefits; because I have to put food on the table.

  • I’m Beginning To Realize It’s Just Me.

I’m not a team player and organizations don’t like that. They want someone who’s going to do what they’re told, follow the pack, play fair and be nice, all while being trampled on. And I don’t know how to be a team player in that kind of environment.

Ever noticed whenever you question something at work or you you realize that you’re taking on more work than you should, they always throw out “be a team player?” Like that propaganda is going to make me forget that I am being used beyond my compensation. If I already know that I have no chance of being promoted mainly due to the culture of the company, why would I do more and why would I want to be a team player on a team that doesn’t recognize hard work and excellence?

The truth is I work better on my own. I like to solve my own problems, have my own system and have autonomy over the quality of my work. With team environments, generally, jobs want a systematic approach that’s not necessarily most efficient, consistency across the board and groupthink where everyone has the same opinion. And that’s just not me and that’s not going to change, I’ve tried.

So here I am, a black sheep in a white flock, trying to stay inconspicuous.

I Haven’t Met A Manager I Respect

I honestly have rarely met a manager I can respect. Just because you’re above me in rank or in compensation doesn’t mean you own me; the corporate world kind of forgets that.

The only manager that I have ever been able to respect was one that looked out for their employees, mentored them and wanted to see them succeed. Plenty of managers will pay lip service to that kind of idea but actions always speak louder than words with me. And someone who doesn’t walk the walk is less than a manager in my eyes.

So right now my manager is someone who complains a lot, wants to get things his way, a brown noser and someone who pretends to be nice but really isn’t. I’ve worked with him for about a year and a half now so I have low hopes that things will get better. I just can’t get myself to respect him.

So what do I do? When I’m working at a job that has no growth with a manager I don’t respect?

My goal for when I come back to work is to just keep my head down and take it day by day.

I’m not going to pretend like I love my job or that I respect my manager or that I’m even friends with my coworkers, because I’m not. What I can do is control my attitude and realize that I’m at this job for a reason. I can quit any day I want. But I don’t. And that’s because I still need to keep this job for whatever reason whether it’s benefits or pay.

A lot of career advice will tell you to just talk it out with your boss or change directions at work or put everything in emails, but sometimes that advice is just full of shit.

I’m giving real world advice here and that is: work’s not fair and work’s not always right. You have to keep a long-term goal in mind even when you’re doing something you hate because you’re not going to be at that job forever. And I want to say that there’s nothing wrong with you just because you can’t fit into corporate culture; it’s really not for everyone. It’s not for me either but you need to use it as an opportunity even if it’s only a short-lived one.

Worst than being at a job that you dislike is being the person who’s constantly jobhunting for the perfect job, which I don’t believe exists unless you’re your own boss and can control your work environment.

So my main point is to make an exit plan, find out what you love and find a way to monetize that. Then make a deadline on how you’re going to make that your full-time job and do it. Your day job can just be a steppingstone, something that can get you to the next place in life.

Maybe I’m not corporate made, it’s not who I am but somehow I’m going to find a way to make my job work for me and help me grow into a career that I can be proud of and love.

It’s OK if you’re failing at work or just getting by, as long as you treat it like an opportunity and a stepping stone to help get you the kind of work you love.

Why Integrity Matters

As I get older, The idea of living a life of integrity is starting to fade. I miss being “green” and wanting to do the right thing all the time.

But I know that that’s not how the world works. Why is that? Because of greed, selfishness and ego. This is what drives our world.

Integrity, according to Webster Dictionary, means a firm adherence to an exceptional code of moral or artistic values.

As a child I was always concerned about doing the right thing, making sure everyone got their fair share. But even then, I noticed the lack of fairness and integrity in my fellow students, teachers and other adults. I saw the most talented athletes get chosen first for sports teams at gym and given the most floor time. Students that wanted to participate were left to the sidelines. And I’m not even talking about organized school sports. Teachers spent the most time with students who were already very smart, had tutoring and helicopter parents to support their performance. So children who had less were expected to produce more to keep up.

I always thought adulthood would be a lot easier when dealing with moral problems. I thought people are honest. Naively, I wondered why would adults lie? I had thought that my fellow students were opportunistic liars and cheaters because they were immature. But the reality is that these children would grow up to be adults who continued to lack important characteristics like honesty, integrity and virtue. The saying “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” has a ring of truth.

The childhood version of me imagined that I would grow into an adult that was confident, sure, honest and willing to fight for what’s right but now I’m not sure I’ll ever be those things. Some days I can feel myself shrinking, barraged by the screams of people playing politics and those fighting for themselves.

From the time I was 20-25 years old, I was very optimistic. Truly believing that the world would sort itself out and that what’s right will prevail, but that’s not necessarily the truth. It feels like the older I get, the more “woke” I am about how things work.

I’ve been burned a few times. I’ve written a few posts on that.

The Horror of Dealing With Mold In My Apartment

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

From friends to work to even my landlord now. They’ve all burned me. When it comes to benefits, money and status, a sense of doing what’s right goes out the window.

I came to realize that there are people who will only interact with you when it benefits them financially, politically or socially. It was a hard pill to swallow, to realize that there were a lot of people who were disingenuous.

But I grew up.

And sometimes when I’m looking at a situation, I now think how can I profit from this, how can I benefit? I hate to admit it but I’m becoming one of those people who are selfish, egoistic and greedy. It’s almost like I can’t help it. Intrusive thoughts enter my mind like, if you don’t take advantage, someone else will or you have to take your share of the pie.

I’m ashamed because deep down I know these thoughts are wrong. I’ve grown to distrust other people to the point that I’m becoming untrustworthy and I hate that.

Am I growing up and becoming less naive? Or am I becoming jaded and callous?

If the young and optimistic version of me met 30 year old me today what would she say? She’d say I’m becoming everything she hates about this world and that I’ve given up. But fighting to keep my integrity and resolve to be an upright, unselfish human being sometimes feels like swimming against an impossible current.

I can count on my one hand the amount of people outside of my family who I respect for their character. Everyone else would easily resort to dishonesty if they knew they could benefit from it.

Maybe that’s why I have no friends… I just can’t accept a friendship that’s false.

So what to do?

I still think that being a good person is important. I want to hold on to that childish hope that as a human being we can care for the good of others without gaining anything for ourselves. Without even a few good people in our society, we’d be living in a literal hell where society is built on bullshit, lies, deception and selfishness.

The truth is I’ve met people with integrity and I hope others can look at me and see that I aim to be a person of good character as well.

So hopefully the child I knew isn’t as disappointed as I feel in myself sometimes. As I aim to be a person who’s better at standing up for what’s good and right for its own sake, I need to learn to not have such high expectations of other people.

Integrity and character matters because at the end of the day that’s all we have.

Check out my other posts

On Gratitude…

The Power of Positivity

The Power Of Change

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

Stress at your job or feeling over worked concept.

This is my first post in a while. Thought I would just get back into it. I’ve been working at my “well paying” but toxic job. By toxic, I mean totally manipulative, cut throat, constantly changing and stressful toxic workplace. But luckily, I am on maternity leave until August. I’ve been there nearly 3 years and somehow managed to survive and out live several other employees.  Yet still I have days where the toxic work culture kicks me down and I feel totally lost on what to do.

I have survived 1 horrible bitchy manager only to be replaced by a slightly less horrible condescending, sexist manager. I survived 5 receptionists and countless weekend receptionists. I survived 1 assistant director. All these people gone and yet I remain.

For me my motivation for staying in this dead end job include the fact that I am paid well (for now), have good health insurance, have a decent schedule. And honestly, I would hate to quit and give in to the bullies. How would I feel knowing that I was run out of a perfectly good job because people are assholes?  It’s still worth staying even though I hate my job sometimes.

So here are my tips on staying sane and staying on your grind. Your job is definitely not perfect, but it’s still a job that puts food on the table.

1. Be Humble: Pride is the worst vice and when you start to think that you are better or more deserving of something ,that’s when resentment builds. Yes, know your worth. But if you’re in a position where you need to stay at your job, resentful feelings are really just  a waste of energy. I used to want justice for every slight or disagreement. But that desire for justice came from a place of pride, not a place of actual righteousness. Learn to recognize where you are being prideful and instead ask yourself how you can be humble. I like to be humble by telling myself I just need to focus on my own performance, my own objectives and my own motivation.

2. Focus on the positives: Understand your reason for being there. What are your financial goals? How do you plan to make the most of this experience? How does this add to your resume? Do you like this position in general, maybe there are aspects of it that you like? Focusing on these points will help make your job more bearable and less stressful. The effects of positive thinking are numerous. If you don’t like something change it, if you can’t change it, change how you think about it.

3. Care less: If you’re a type A personality this might be a hard one but recognize that you don’t have to love your job. Your job doesn’t even need to love you. All you need is just to do your job. Show up and get it done. Your job isn’t going to dry your tears when they lay you off or fire you. They’re not going to give you more time off than allowed when your going through a tough time. If they don’t care, why should you? I’ve spent too much time caring about a position that doesn’t give two sh*ts about me. I know this, yet my struggle lies in the desire to be acknowledged. Stop wanting that acknowledgement and you’ll start to feel the burden of stress lifted off your shoulders.

4. Build your own support network outside of work: Do not commiserate with coworkers. They can’t be trusted and it can be construed as spreading gossip. Friends, family, online network of strangers on Reddit or blogs going through the same thing…these can be a great base of support when you feel like just giving up in general and stressed from work. Rome wasn’t built in a day and it certainly wasn’t built by one man. Being able to vent in a safe place is key and essential to your mental health.

5. Document, document, and document: some workplace bullying is illegal and discriminatory especially when it pertains to protected classes like age, sex, disability etc. The issue is that it’s not always clear up front whether you are being discriminated or not. So document everything. Make sure everything is in writing. If there is discrimination it will flush itself out as long as everything is documented and written.

6. Make an exit plan and stick to it: If your job is really messing with your mental health, the truth is you just can’t stay there. It’s ok to make plans to leave. How many times have I said “I’m going to find a way to quit,” and magically the job gets better and I decide to stay? This cycle has repeated itself so many times. But your mental health is NOT WORTH IT. Make plans to either find another job or build your own business.  Do something that will earn residual income or passive income so you can take a lesser paying job on top of that.  It might take a year, it might take 3 years but those years will pass you by faster than you think. Being perpetually miserable for a paycheck isn’t the answer so find a way to break the cycle and commit to your exit plan.

Overall, employment takes an average of 2080 hours per year. But that still leaves 6680 hours in a year to get stuff done and pursue your passion. Work isn’t the end all be all and if you get fired or if you quit, your identity won’t be lost. We are not what we do for a living.

My husband always tells me this when I stress out, “They don’t pay you enough to stress like this.” And he’s right, they definitely don’t. I’m not an executive or a director. Why should I be stressing the way they would about their jobs?

To sum up this blog post, working in a toxic environment is tough, probably tougher than working in a physically demanding environment. But finding ways to cope in a stressful job when you have no other options is essential to your wellbeing and mental health.  Workplace stress is not worth it.  Work, work, work and all stress would drive anybody crazy.

Check out my other posts!!

Office Politics: Win At The Workplace

Top 6 Ways To Maintain A Work Life Balance When Your Job Is Stressing You Out

My Job is Killing Me….

Motivational Book Club: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey

It’s been a while since I’ve written a motivational book review post. But this is a meaty book with lots of knowledge and information. I initially thought it would be another “how to be successful” type book but surprisingly it wasn’t. It’s more like how to be successful in all aspects of your life.

Stephen Covey is a motivational business man, life coach, relationship coach and a lot of other things. His book focuses not on his own successes but on carefully curated stories about others that tie into 7 Habits.

I will admit, it’s a very meaty book that requires your full attention. It’s highly conceptual so bear with me.

He has 7 habits that will help you take your life from mediocre and without vision or direction, to a life that has purpose, intention and success.

Habit 1: Be Proactive

This is mainly about how to build your character and also make choices in your life. It’s pretty solid advice considering most people are living their lives in autopilot. He basically says build your character so you know what you stand for and what your strengths are, then get ahead of yourself and make choices in your life that matter.

Here he tells us to question our Paradigms: our assumptions about how the world works.

Habit 2: Begin With The End In Mind

This was a bit confusing for me. All the stories and examples he gives can really make you lose focus on the message but I think I got the gist.

Covey suggests to create a personal mission statement and think hard and long about who we are and what we stand for. Through this we’ll be able to act through our principles, that we chose for ourselves, and make sound decisions. Most people make decisions based on motivations from friends, family, financial, selfish, professions and other influences. Having a set of principles that you carved for yourself and built will allow you to be consistent and make better decisions long-term.

There is also an exercise called “visualization and affirmation” that helps you to really dig into yourself, visualize the behavior in yourself you want to change, then create an affirmation you can use to remind yourself to follow the vision.

Habit 3: Put First things First

Covey makes it clear you must master Habit 1 & 2 before you can get to 3.

It’s mainly about time management. Truly efficient people know how to time manage. He recommends focusing your time on things that are important but not urgent towards your growth/business. This is the area that’s most ignored by pressing but not urgent matters. And this is the area that’s going to result in the biggest impact.

Also learning how to say no is a must. Because we all have the same hours in a day and limited time, saying no to one thing means saying yes to something else.

Covey recommends planning to do lists on a weekly basis. It forces you to prioritize and focus on your long-term vision.

He also touches on the power of delegation. True delegation, giving fundamental instructions but not micromanaging.

Part 4: Public Victory

Covey Starts off talking about dealing with people. Essentially you want to act towards others with integrity and honesty. Because with every moment that you prove your character, it’s more likely to pay off when you really need it.

He reminds you that building relationships take time. Never go for the quick fix, that doesn’t work.

The things that will help you build your relationship:

1. Understanding people

2. Small acts of kindness

3. Keeping Commitments

4. Clarifying Expectations

5. Showing Personal Integrity

Covey discusses the importance of interdependence, the idea that you can be independent but also that you need other people and they need you. A type of Win/win scenario

Habit 5: Seek to Understand, Then Seek to be Understood.

Empathy is an absolute must. You need to put yourself in the shoes of others. Often we want to be understood first, rather than take the effort to understand others.

Empathy is actually a personal strength of mine, so I found this chapter to be very obvious but I definitely would recommend this section for people who struggle with connecting or understanding people so to be persuasive.

“If you really seek to understand, without hypocrisy and without guile, there will be times when you will be literally stunned with the pure knowledge and understanding that will flow to you from another human being.”

Then Covey discusses “how” to be understood. You have to explain your point of view though other people’s perceptions. And you can only do that once you understand other people.

What??

It’s actually quite brilliant and efficient. So the empathy portion is vital to being persuasive and getting your point across..

Another way to build open communication is to really invest time in the people in your circle of influence, like your family, friends and coworkers. If you’re nice to them, they’ll be nice to you.

Habit 6: Synergize

This is a shorter chapter but he goes over making using habits 1-5 all together and watching the success that follows.

Covey follows the idea that using all the habits together is more powerful than the sum of each part. Is damn incredible! He says.

Using habits 1-5 require you to be courageous, authentic, and true. Which can be uncomfortable but growth never came from comfort.

Synergize isn’t about just compromising.  Compromising means that both people get part of what they want but not all.  Synergize is about coming up with solutions that please everyone, so that no one feels like they are getting the short end of the stick.

Habit 7: Sharpen The Saw

Covey starts this chapter about a man sawing down the tree.  The conversation reveals that, he had been going at the tree for 5 hours.  It’s suggested he should take a break and sharpen the saw, a sharper saw will make him more efficient.  The man replies that he doesn’t have enough time!

This chapter is about taking a break sometimes.  We all like to be efficient and productive but not giving ourselves rest is a recipe for disaster.

But specifically we need to rest so we can achieve a balanced life in the areas of spiritual, mental, social, and physical activities.

This is quite a hefty book, though I’m glad I read it.  It kind of confirmed a lot of things I thought about life and made it easy to understand why character and integrity, though not obviously important, are essential for any successful person.

This book is a must read for those who are still figuring their way out of life.  It kind of puts things into perspective and allows you to dig deep inside of yourself to find the answers that will change YOUR life.

If you’ve read this book, feel free to tell me more about what you think!

Check out my other motivational book posts here:

Motivational Book Club: The Defining Decade: Why Your 20s Matter, by Meg Jay

Motivational Book Club: The Subtle Art Of Not Giving A F*ck By Mark Manson

Motivational Book Club: The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey

I’ve included a few places for links above to purchase the book if you’re interested.