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
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How To Be Successful & Be Happy

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier
How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier

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I’ve been guilty of it, subtly putting someone down, nitpicking flaws, needing to have the last word as a futile effort to be “right.” It’s true, I have moments where I’m the asshole and most of the time I don’t mean to be…it just sort of happens. But I’m working on it. I really want to learn how to stop being so petty and learn to be happier.

According to Urban Dictionary (my main source of definitions for modern day lingo), petty means:

1)making things, events, or actions normal people dismiss as trivial or insignificant into excuses to be upset, uncooperative, childish, or stubborn.
2)A person who habitually overreacts.
3)A person who is purposefully childish with the intent of illiciting a reaction.
4)An immature over reaction in retaliation of an undesired outcome.

You get the picture, basically an asshole. Most of the time, I don’t mean to be this way, it’s usually a response to other people’s asshole behavior.

I think most of us are petty in our own ways. At work I often find myself absorbing other people’s negativity and then giving it back in petty, unwarranted comments. Life is so stressful, sometimes my capacity for stress bubbles over in pettiness. I need to really learn how to be happier and not so petty.

Here are some of the ways that pettiness can show itself:

1) Needing to get the last word

Have you ever spoken to someone or gotten into an argument and the other person always had a biting comment back? You might correct them or clarify politely and you’re met with a derisive unnecessary comment that really didn’t do much but get under your skin. With people who are petty in this way, you can almost always guarantee that there’s a biting comment around the corner, usually it’s something to put you down or or point fingers at you for some wrong doing. It looks like this:

“Marsha, can you please wash the dishes tonight. I feel so tired.”
“Of course I’ll do the dishes Jenna, it’s not like I have anything better to do than to clean up after you.”

Of course Marsha, is being a petty b*tch about washing dishes. She could have either said “yes” or “no, sorry I can’t,” but she had to give this underhanded comment that was totally unnecessary.

3) Nitpicking

Nitpicking is an obvious one, and kind of piggybacks on needing to get the last word. It’s a way of picking at someone’s flaws until they have nothing left but bareboned insecurity. People who have experienced nitpicking tend to feel very insecure around the person being petty, it often feels like they’re walking on eggshells.

I used to have a friend, honestly she was more of a frenemy, she would always make fun of little things “jokingly.” It was pervasive from what I wore, to how I ate, to what I said. She always said it in front of other people so they could get in on the “joke.” Little things like, “why are you wearing that, it’s too hot, you never know how to dress for the weather,” or “you eat too slow, everyone always has to wait on you,” or “look how forgetful Alex is”, she always needs to be reminded of when the test is.” After a while those kind of comments tend to strip you bare and leave you feeling like you’re nothing. It’s so much harder to learn to be happier, when someone is reminding you of all the ways you suck.

3) Superiority complex
I’ve seen this happen at work more so than anywhere else. Especially with bosses or more seasoned colleagues. Somehow the status of being more seasoned or a manager makes people petty as f*ck. These people are always reminding you that you are beneath them. Whether that’s objectively true or not, it doesn’t matter.

People who suffer from this type of pettiness rely on belittling you so that they always feel in control. They NEED you to feel like you’re beneath them so they can feel superior.

5. Stubbornness
I’ve been very guilty of this one. I can be intensely stubborn. ESPECIALLY when I feel like I want to have something my way. If I’m not getting my way, then I’ll go out of my way to be stubborn over the smallest thing just to give the other person some hell. Sure, I could compromise and meet in the middle, but then I’d have no leverage for what I really want. By being extra stubborn, in some ways, it gives me some wiggle room to negotiate something else. A “tit for tat” kind of deal.

This is actually a VERY immature way of negotiating and handling disagreements but who said I was mature? Being overly stubborn is a way that some petty people (me) passively can get what they want or get their revenge.

Here are the ways you can stop being petty:

1) Be the bigger person

Pride is a hard thing to swallow and at the root of all pettiness is a sense of pride. Pettiness finds a way to “one up” someone. By being a person that is above all that, it just proves you’re an emotionally mature person that doesn’t stoop to other people’s pettiness.

Trust me, I know how satisfying pettiness can be, especially when someone is being rude to you first. At the end of the day, holding your head up high and not lowering yourself to other petty peoples’ level will give you a sense of self confidence, assurance and petty-free pride.

2) Meditate

Sometimes you just need to take a step back from the situation. Meditation, prayer or whatever you want to call it on a daily basis will help calm your nerves and give you perspective on what’s important in life- and it’s definitely not pettiness. Life is about how to learn to be happier with yourself.

Next time someone gets under your skin, you’ll be able to have the calm clarity that it’s just not worth it and let their annoying-ness roll right off.

Even if you’re in the heat of the moment and someone is being totally obnoxious, it doesn’t hurt to take a few moments to breathe before giving a petty comeback. In those few seconds, you might be able to come to the conclusion that your petty comeback doesn’t do sh*t to resolve to conflict and actually adds fuel to the fire.

So take a moment, not everyone deserves your reaction, so stop being so petty.

3) Talk out your issues

Other times people might just get on your nerves and not even KNOW it, and if you don’t speak up but just jump to pettiness, you’re going to give the wrong impression. This is the way many communication issues arise. Someone says something rude and annoying, they’re unknowingly doing it and you just get triggered.

The key here is to talk it out. Mention that the behavior that triggers you is not ok and why you feel that way. Really make an effort to explain yourself. Some people will understand and stop triggering you and stop unknowingly annoying you. Others will scoff and say, “Oh, stop being so sensitive. It was only a joke.”

To those scoffing assholes, bring on the pettiness. It’s ok, as long as you gave them the warning not to trigger you. *wink*

4)Avoid your triggers

And if all else fails and you can’t get those annoying rude people to leave you alone despite telling them, you should probably just avoid them. That’s probably the easiest way on how to stop being petty and learn to be happier. Most of the time pettiness brings negativity into your life so half the time it’s not worth the effort.

Avoid the assholes and the people who are rude and crass. Avoid people who don’t respect boundaries and are just trying to get a rise out of you.

I’m a true believer in karma and bringing positive people into your life through positivity. So avoiding and cutting out people who don’t treat you the way you deserve and only bring out your ugly side sounds like a plan.

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If you like “How To Stop Being Petty & Learn To Be Happier” Check out these other posts:

How To Be Successful & Be Happy

How To Care Less & Not Care About What People Think

The Power Of Positivity: Live The Good Life

Way of The Wolf By Jordan Belfort ~Full Book Review

Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review
Way Of The Wolf Jordan Belfort Book Review

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My company requires me to read two developmental books as part of my performance goals so I picked up “The Way Of The Wolf” by Jordan Belfort. It’s supposed to be a look at his sales strategy on how to increase closing. At first I was thinking, I hope this is appropriate for work, Wolf of Wall Street wasn’t rated PG and it was basically a movie about how these sleazy stock broker salespeople screwed people out of money. I wondered whether the book would have legitimate sales advice or technique on how to scam. Then I thought, well, he went to federal prison and then came out and wrote a book on his experience, then made it a bestseller, then sold the rights to the film, sooooooo he might actually know a thing or two.

And he does. I would describe his selling technique as a bit old school but it definitely works. If you’re a seasoned salesperson, you might recognize some of these tricks and maybe pick up a few new ones. I definitely did.

I liked how he made references to the movie to help me conceptualize his technique because it kind of ties everything together.

The main takeaway is that he uses what he calls “The Straightline System” for selling. The Straightline System is basically getting people from being uncertain about the thing you’re selling to absolutely certain. He shows you how to get them there in the most efficient fashion.

Jordan Belfort says that people can be emotionally certain or logically certain, but unless you have both a sale isn’t made. Looking back at all the deals that fell through for me, I always missed either the emotional aspect or the logical. But Jordan explains that it’s actually quite easy to get people to feel 100% like their emotional and logical decision is to buy what you’re selling. In this way, I found Way Of The Wolf as very old school. A lot of these techniques I’ve seen from very seasoned salespeople who are successful in their field.

Some of the highlights that I found useful:

That selling is more of an art. It’s more than just saying “buy this because of reason’s X,Y and Z.” It’s actually a very complex process, which Jordan Belfort breaks down for you, one with many layers.

Here he teaches you how to make a good first impression and stresses the importance of respecting the first impression and giving it your all. I used to be the type of person who thought that first impressions were a myth and that initial impressions can change over time. That is true, but it requires a LOT of work. Way Of The Wolf makes it easy to give an amazing first impression.

Tonality and Body Language was an essential chapter. Personally, I think that’s how Jordan Belfort really persuaded people to buy into his penny stocks and business ideas. He truly is the master on how to give off the right tone coupled with perfect body language. The obvious truth is that a majority of our communication is in verbal tone and body language. So how do we tap into this incredible communication resource?

Jordan Belfort masters this with his concept of future pacing and establishing an empowered state. Basically imagining yourself as already achieving a certain outcome and getting in the state you feel when you’ve accomplished something incredible. Once you achieve that and are able to tap into those two things on demand, your tonality and body language will reflect the confidence you need to persuade people to do anything!

To be honest, I used this technique before so it was nice to see that Jordan knew this little trick. It’s more than a “just fake it till you make it” ideology. The core concept is that you truly believe you’ve made it so that others can believe in it too.

Then he goes into how to prospect properly and touches on the ONE mistake all sales novices make.

That is, trying to close anyone and everyone without knowing if they’re truly capable of closing, without screening or qualifying them.

Jordan Belfort goes into detail on how to properly qualify them so that you know exactly whether they’re a prospect worth pursuing or not.

Way Of The Wolf also stresses the importance of having a good script. At first I kind of scoffed at the idea. I mean, seriously, a script?!? When I think of a script I think of canned words from a cold calling salesperson that doesn’t know his hand from his foot. But Jordan Belfort convinced me. Here’s what he said about it, “Since the day you were old enough to talk, every single movie or TV show that made you scream, laugh, cry, or shout or got you so deeply invested in the characters that you ended up binge watching the entire series in a single weekend, every last one of them was scripted.”

And it’s true, movies can capture our hearts and yet they require scripts to do that. The actors put in hours and hours, days upon days to perfect their lines and create the perfect scene. Now imagine if as a salesperson you could be as persuasive as those actors selling you those scenes? That’s why I think it’s time for me to come up with a sales script and give it a second chance.

Overall I found Way Of The Wolf as an excellent guide on how to sell, especially for beginners just starting out. Being able to think back on certain scenes of The Wolf Of Wall Street and see how he used these techniques really helped put his sales tactics into perspective. Would recommend for all novice salespeople and veterans refreshing on their sales chops.

My favorite quotes:
“Every word, every phrase, every question you ask, every tonality you use; every single one of them should have the same ultimate goal in mind, which is to increase the prospect’s level of certainty as much as humanly possible so that by the time you get to the close he’s feeling so incredibly certain that he almost has to say yes. That’s the goal.” Quote from Inventing The Straightline

“Either you’re being judged as a person who is sharp, on the ball, someone they want to do business with or you’re being judged as someone they do not want to do business with.” Quote from Advanced Body Language.

“When I say, ‘extremely powerful,’ what I mean is that once you become even reasonably proficient with this strategy you can actually get people to buy things they shouldn’t buy, and do things they shouldn’t do, without them even realizing that an extraordinary amount of influence was brought to bear.” Quote from Advanced Tonality

Check Out My Other Posts

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Top Lessons I learned In Business & As A Salesperson

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

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

Why I Started Blogging

I actually started blogging in 2012, I was running an Amazon beauty business and kept a blog on the side as a way to promote. I had learned about SEO, online ads and how to put together a website through WordPress. When I started blogging it was surprisingly easy.

It was a beauty blog and I would write reviews about the products. People would find my blog through SEO and follow. It was slow going and there would be days when I would get 0 views and other days I’d get 20.

I learned everything I needed to do and yet I gave up too early. In 2012, I had prenatal depression and in 2013, I had acute postpartum depression. I just didn’t have the motivation to keep up with it, even though it was showing signs of success. I quit my blog. So I forgot about my blog for a few years and even went back in 2015 to make sure I closed my old blog out and shut it down. I couldn’t stand the thought of my failed blog sitting in the blogosphere and languishing. I had lost my motivation for blogging.

So I stopped writing for a bit and focused on what made me money for some time, real estate.

But writing was never far from my mind, I always went back to it as a way to cope with my hard times and secretly I wished to make a living off of blogging. One can only hope.

I’ve written a few posts on my current job and how miserable it has made me at times.

Status Update: I’m Still Not Vibing At Work

Dealing with Toxic Work Culture

The thought of working there and until I retire at 65 seemed too daunting. I can barely make it through a days work, let alone several decades of working. I long to work for myself and be my own boss. And more than anything, I long to be able to spend time with my children and family. But what kind of job would let me do that? How would I be able to put money and food on the table?

My thoughts went back to the time when I wrote my first beauty blog. If I had kept up with it, chances are I would still be doing that full time at this point. I’m literally kicking myself for quitting. But there’s a quote that I love, “The best time to start was yesterday and the next best time start as now.” So even though I messed up by quitting too early, I could still start again and build another writing portfolio. Hating my job actually inspired me. So I picked up everything I learned with my first blog, and began rebuilding with a second one.

It’s been challenging. When I was writing my beauty blog at 22, I didn’t have money to invest in my blog. What I did have was time to write and spend on it. But now at 30, I’m literally trying to scrape time together to pull out a 1000 word post. My husband needs me, my children need me and there’s housework waiting for me.

Right now I’m on maternity leave so I’m home all the time but what happens when I go back to work? I’m praying that I have the motivation to keep this up because this is really what I want to do and I’m already strapped for time.

My mother is only getting older; I wonder what I will do when she needs help getting around the house and running basic errands. I dream of a life where I’m writing full time and can be there for her. I look ahead to the future and I want to see a life where my work is flexible. My children are getting older and they’ll want to go to do after school programs, play dates with their friends and school trips. I’m going to miss all that because I’m working and commuting a hell of a lot.

My work continues to motivate me to write, like most jobs it’s always changing and trying to be more productive. Now it’s my compensation they’re trying to change by adding another employee to take a cut of the commission pie. It has me thinking that nothing is really secure in this world and I need to find alternative ways to supplement my earnings. It feels so demeaning that I’m doing a great job and seeing my earnings slashed because upper management wants more productivity for less.

So blogging gives me hope. Hope that I can change my life, rely less on my job and be happier. It allows me to do something I love- write! And best of all I get to connect with other writers and people who love to read.

Though there are days I get like 5 visitors and it seems like I’m writing to myself, I hold out hope that I’ll find a clan that appreciates and finds my writing helpful.

So I’m in this for the long haul. With the good and the bad. Even when I don’t have time, I’ll carve it out. Because I need to have this hope that blogging can change my life.

Check out my other posts

The Power Of Positivity

My Favorite Motivational Mantra