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"To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment."
- Ralph Waldo Emerson
Boost Your Self-Esteem
Thursday, Nov 11, 2004, 3:59 PMSkyrocket Your Self-Esteem
Beverly O'Bryant, in her book entitled Celebrate Yourself, writes that "what is important is that groups, individuals, systems and institutions see the need for dealing with self-esteem and realize that how one feels about oneself directly and proportionally impacts their success in whatever task they're going to perform."
The importance of self-esteem is finally catching on. Our greater awareness now enables us to acknowledge our egos as something positive (as long as we don't display them to others excessively or obnoxiously).
The higher your self-esteem, the more you like yourself, the better you get along with others, and the more you accomplish.
Small successes give us greater self-confidence, which leads to the pursuit of bigger challenges, and then bigger successes.
There's nothing wrong with being proud of what we've done, of what we think we can do, or of who we are and where we come from.
Margaret Thatcher once said, "I wasn't lucky, I deserved it." This pride is necessary if we are to improve our present situation.
Dr. Anthony Greenwald, a psychologist at Ohio State University, as quoted in Harvey Mackay's book Swim with the Sharks without Being Eaten Alive, describes the "egocentricity bias"--the reinterpretation of events to put ourselves in a favorable light and the belief we have more control over events than we actually do--as a sign of mental well-being.
Mr. Mackay then identifies this as "optimism"--a quality that consistently delivers results.
He goes on to say: "Optimism involves self-delusion, a belief that our own abilities are superior to the obstacles that logically should overcome us. But that's exactly what's needed to perform any heavy-duty assignment. It's a hell of a lot more productive than humility."
Never underestimate your potential. Look for new and significant challenges. Look to open new horizons.
There might be a degree of security in repeating the same little tasks that you know backwards and forewards, but that doesn't raise your opinion of yourself.
It's the unusually difficult task that instills a sense of accomplishment and raises self-esteem. If the challenge is great enough, even failing can leave you with a positive feeling about yourself, as long as you gave it your best shot.
Top performers in athletics, business, or any other career are always convinced they can be heroes, and it shows. But if you're not already a top performer, there are things you can do to help you feel like you are.
Look for opportunities to open new horizons. Try something new without being afraid of failing. When you concern yourself with an issue, make sure it's something you can impact.
It really bothers me to see people get depressed or angry over something they can do nothing about. It's senseless. Don't get hung up on the weather, your age, thinking you have big feet, or (my favorite) THE PAST. You can't change them anyway.
Concentrate your energy on the things you can directly improve. Figure out what needs to be done and then act.
Always be a positive person. At the risk of sounding trite, every cloud has a silver lining. Look for it. You just had a terrible round of golf? Well, it was better than going to work or being laid up in a hospital.
Get the idea? Nobody likes to be around a negative person. If one person in a group acts annoyed or sulks, it detracts from the fun of everyone else around him or her.
There are two other ways to feel good about yourself.
Feel good about your appearance. That doesn't mean you have to wear a suit all the time, but you should feel like you fit in well with the crowd you are with. You should feel like your clothing is clean, unwrinkled, and in style.
Feeling clean, well-groomed, and not sloppy looking will help you feel more assertive and sure of yourself. Most of the time, you'll know the people you're going to see and
know what "appropriate appearance" is.
Before you leave the house, you will either feel good about yourself, or not. If not, don't leave until you fix it. Why spend the whole night feeling self-conscious and trying to hide whatever it is that bothers you?
Finally, do something nice for somebody else. This is a very effective way to feel good about yourself, and it's so easy.
Next time you give someone a gift for a birthday or holiday, don't go about it with the thought that you're obligated to do it and you just want to get it over with.
Take the time to think about what that person would enjoy receiving. When it's opened, you'll see sincere appreciation, and you will benefit from that by feeling satisfaction in your ability to make someone else happy.
Here's some ideas for boosting your self-esteem:
--Participate in a community service event.
--Join a club or group that does things for charity.
--There are plenty of old people living in nursing homes that would appreciate a visit.
--Teach an illiterate person how to read.
--Be a big brother or sister.
--Give your seat on the train to an elderly person.
--Offer directions to tourists.
This list could go on and on. Do something nice for somebody and the person who benefits most will be you.
Feeling good about yourself comes from within.
It comes from correct principles deep in your mind and heart.
It comes from living a life of integrity in which our daily habits reflect our deepest values.
A life of integrity is the most fundamental source of personal worth. Peace of mind can only be achieved when your life is in harmony with true principles and values.
Another important source of intrinsic security (self-esteem) is your work, when you see yourself in a contributive and creative mode, making a difference.
You can accomplish these things without fanfare and acknowledgement. Self-satisfaction, not recognition, becomes the motive.
Over the next few days make an honest effort to do some of the things described in this lesson. If you don't act, you won't change. If you do act, you'll be amazed at the results.