Often we hear the term self-esteem. But, what does it mean?

Self-esteem is the acceptance of oneself in its wholeness, both of our strengths and positive characteristics and our negative traits and weaknesses. It is essentially the degree to which we value, respect and accept ourselves.

How Low Self-Esteem Develops?

Low self-esteem is a very common phenomenon and one of the main reasons one needs psychotherapy in order to strengthen it. It is largely determined by the experiences one had with familiar persons (parents, grandparents, siblings, etc.) from the beginning of his life.

When a baby begins to perceive that is no longer one with his mother, but a different entity, then begins to shape its self-image. This happens at about the first 12-18 months of his life and completed at the end of puberty.

If someone grows up in an environment where relationships with familiar persons are positive and empowering, the more likely it is to develop a positive self-image. Conversely, if indifference, lack of attention, affection, care, recognition and reward, comparisons, excessive expectations, disrespect, coldness, criticism, neglect, and condemnation dominate, the more likely it is that he will have a low self-esteem.

The lower self-esteem a child has, the easier it becomes an adolescent and then an adult with a negative image of himself. This happens because once this image has taken shape, the person tends to express it through his behavior into adulthood, thus accompanying in all aspects of his life, making his interpersonal relationships difficult.

Low self-esteem leads to a feeling of dissatisfaction with ourselves, a sense that we’re not entitled and not deserve to have a lot in life and in our relationships, feelings of disadvantage and inferiority, intense internal conflicts, sadness, unfulfilled needs and desires.

The self-image can be changed and it’s possible one to learn to love and respect himself and begin to see himself from another, more positive perspective.

Let’s see below in what ways one can improve his self-esteem:

1. Stop Comparisons

Do not enter the process of comparing yourself with others. Do not forget that every person is unique. The ideal is to compare yourself only with you and your accomplishments.

2. Be Realistic

Make sure you put realistic goals. Putting too high standards and unrealistic goals is the perfect way to experience frustration and disappointment. Divide each target to smaller ones. Once you conquer one, move on to the next.

3. Let Go of Perfectionism

Stop looking for and chasing perfection. Perfectionism can paralyze you from taking action because you become so afraid of not living up to some standard. And so, you procrastinate, you don’t get the results you expect, and your self-esteem lowers. Remember, the perfect does not exist and it is the enemy of confidence.

Watch: Stop Procrastination

4. Think About What You Are Proud Of

Devote every day 5-10 minutes to think about what you did in the day, and for which you feel proud of yourself. It may be something that seems very simple, however, it is significant (eg. you helped an elderly to cross the road, you collaborated very well with your colleagues etc.).

5. Learn from Your Mistakes

Do not feel bad if you do something wrong or fail on something. Mistakes are always instructive and valuable, and learning opportunities for growth and development. Learn from them and don’t give up!

6. Do the Things You Enjoy and You Are Good on Them

Sure you have talent on specific hobbies. Identify the things you enjoy doing and usually score well on them. This will give you an inner appreciation.

7. Avoid Negative People

Try to avoid people that through continuous sterile and negative criticism, devaluation and caustic comments cultivate doubts about yourself. Spend more time with supportive people that will make you feel comfortable, positive, and help you grow.

8. Do Something Positive for You

Reward and do often something positive for yourself. This may be a trip, a gift for yourself, doing an activity of your choice, such as going to a dance school or a gym.

After reading all these, you might think your own ways to improve your self-esteem. After all, you are the one who chooses which path you will follow in the course of your life. Psychotherapy also helps a lot to improve your self-esteem.

Also, through the journey of self-awareness, you have the opportunity to understand the obstacles that alienated you from yourself, the whys of your low self-esteem. Mostly, it depends on you!

H/T: marpscyhology.gr

We carry memories of our past experiences around with us like baggage. If we’re lucky, some of these memories bring us joy or laughter. But more often than not, we carry memories of negative, hurtful experiences.

New research suggests that humiliation is the strongest human emotion. Can you remember the last time you felt embarrassed? I certainly can. But carrying around negative emotions, especially those that accompany bad experiences, has a profound impact on how we act in the present.

Whether we realize that’s what we’re doing or not, this baggage can prevent us from moving forward in our personal and professional lives. It’s hard work to consciously try to rid ourselves of the emotions and sentiments that don’t serve us, but it’s worth the effort.

These are the four things entrepreneurs should try to rid themselves of:

1. Self-doubt

…is like the flu: At some point, we’re all going to have to endure it. Unfortunately, many of us experience self-doubt from a very early age. I’m not tall enough. I’m not good-looking enough. Maybe you were picked last in gym class. Maybe you weren’t. It doesn’t really matter. Even the most self-confident people are plagued by bouts of self-doubt. Just the other week, the cover story of The Atlantic discussed that even the most powerful, successful women feel like they’re inadequate — and maybe even imposters.

Self-doubt rears its ugly head in particular when we try new things. Maybe you think you’re not smart enough to break out on your own. Maybe you feel like you don’t have the right skills. It helps to acknowledge self-doubt for what it is. Call it out. Recognize it. Don’t be afraid of it. Once you acknowledge that’s what you’re feeling, it has less power over you. Self-doubt is just a feeling: You can still act even if you feel it. Ask for help. Better still, consciously try to abandon memories that made you feel less than. They’re holding you back from doing your best.

2. What’s “appropriate” for your age

Your state of mind is so much more important than your biological age. I firmly believe there’s no such thing as being “too old” or “too young” when it comes to being an entrepreneur. Don’t let memories of others judging you for your age hold you back. Those people are just projecting their own insecurities. Be inspired by people for whom age is nothing but a number — because really, that’s all it is.

Watch: Be a Successful Entrepreneur

3. Your fear of the unknown

In my experience, situations never turn out quite like I spent time thinking they might. We carry around fear of the unknown so tightly. It doesn’t make much sense to me. How can we be afraid of what we do not know? Many people spend so much time trying to predict or control the future that they don’t do anything at all. What are you waiting for? We don’t have control over what happens, but we do have control over our emotions. Choose to be brave and feel good. Have the courage to take the first step. It’s just one!

4. Your accomplishments

I see it all the time. Yes, you did that! But you can’t stop now. Entrepreneurship is not for those who want to rest on their laurels. You will achieve so much more if you greet every day like the new day that it is. No one cares about what you did. They want to see and know what you’re capable of now. What did you achieve today? What opportunities did you seek out? Live in the present. Even carrying around the memories of your accomplishments can prevent you from moving forward if you hold on to them too tightly.

What other feelings could hold you back from achieving your highest potential? Share your thoughts below!

Original source: Entrepreneur

About the author

Stephen Key is an inventor, author, speaker and co-founder of InventRight, LLC., a Glenbrook, Nev.-based company that educates entrepreneurs in how to bring ideas to market.

Did you know that the words literally change your brain?

Words are powerful. So much that a single word can cause irreparable damage. On the other hand, words can heal wounds from decades before. What we speak can work both sides of the coin, you see, and so words should never be dished out haphazardly. We underestimate the power of words, really we do.

Honestly, it goes a little deeper than that. Words can, over time, make a physical change as well. Words can change your brain, changing physical regions of the mind and widening pathways of information! Bet you didn’t know that, now did you?

So there are positive words and negative words, each with a monumental power to change your entire life. Whether you fail epically or succeed in the same manner is all up to which words you choose to say. Let’s talk about these opposite influences for a moment, shall we.

First, let’s talk about positive words

It’s not always easy to be positive or think positive, but when you do, you may notice how different you feel afterwards? You might feel energized, hopeful and even more sociable toward others. Even when the situation isn’t savory, being positive can help keep your focus on a logical solution. Being positive actually looks beyond the present situation even when life isn’t going so well and it helps you look at the bigger picture.

Words of this nature help to breed respect, active listening and problem solving, all of which are imperative to making proper decisions. Positive words can increase cognitive reasoning and areas in the frontal lobe can become stronger. Positive words are also responsible for activating motivational regions of the brain. See, there are many changes which occur according to what you say.

Negative words change your brain too

Unfortunately, the world is more familiar with negative words. Stress from day to day life causes us to sometimes lose sight of the end goal and we bend to our weaknesses. We are changed by these negative emotions in ways we could never imagine. Like positive words, negative statements have the power to alter our physical mind.

Words spoken in a negative manner block neurochemicals which normally provide stress management. For instance, the amygdala (the fear center), has an increase in activity due to an increase in these stress hormones. These hormones block the reasoning process which usually keeps us functioning normally.

In the book, Words can change your Brain, by Andrew Newburg M.D. and Mark Robert Waldman one sentence says it all.

A single word has the power to influence the expression of genes that regulate physical and emotional stress.

Now that you have an idea how words can change your brain, let’s use our positive thinking to look at that big picture I spoke of earlier. Words not only cause transformations; they cause permanent changes which leave deep imprints on the brain’s structures -these imprints can widen the neural pathways.

Neural pathways are where our thoughts travel. If you want to understand what these pathways are, then picture highways, roads or dirt paths. Since we know that neuroplasticity allows changes in the brain according to life experiences, neural pathways can absorb the same changes and form according to the imprint. So that leads back to repetition. Anything done over and over will surely have a lasting effect on the human mind.

Aristotle says,

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.

I could say so much more, but I think you’ve got the picture. You must pay attention to what you say because your words determine everything you will ever experience. Yes, it depends on you! Choose your words carefully and create thought habits that will prove beneficial for your brain. After all, we are what we say we are.

References:

We live in a society that pressures us to think positive every time. In fact, even articles on this website talk about the importance of positive thinking.

Don’t get me wrong, positive thinking is great and can lead to a happier and more fulfilled life, but what about those pesky negative emotions that tend to come up from time to time?

Do we squash and ignore them with positive thinking? Do we feel guilty and ashamed for thinking negative?

If you resonated with those questions, chances are you are not alone.

Today, we are often made to feel guilty or “less than” if we are experiencing or entertaining negative thoughts.

Even in the spiritual community our negative thoughts can be chalked up to our ego, which can simply be released with a couple of conscious breaths….right?

Well, I am here to tell you that doesn’t always work.

Anger, pain and negative thinking are all necessary and important emotions that need to be valued and sometimes, need more attention than just a few deep breaths (although those can always help).

Anger, pain and negative thinking help us to express who we are and allow us to actually have a healthier state of mind. (I’ll explain more on this later.)

In fact, one of my favourite quotes by Anita Moorjani goes-

“It is more important to be yourself than it is to be positive.”

Many researchers believe that negative thinking is a sign of a healthier mind, as it is the way the body protects itself and alerts us to the fact that something is wrong.

Often when we feel anger, or depressed, it is our body’s way of letting us know that something is not right and something needs to be fixed.

Often when negative emotions are suppressed and covered with a smile, we create more resistance and push our negative emotions deeper within our body.

In time, this causes more stress, more anxiety and prolonged feelings of depression.

While you never want negative emotions to float around all the time, when they do come up it is really important to acknowledge and love them for what they are.

It is also really important to listen to them and try to understand what your mind, body and soul may be trying to communicate to you.

In fact, think of all your emotions as the way that your entire being communicates with you. Think of your emotions as your compass for how to navigate through this life and make changes or adjustments.

Often when we feel anger or other negative emotions, it is usually because on a deeper level we are feeling pain.

It is easier to feel anger and other surface emotions instead of pain, which is why we sometimes journey into those emotions and stay there.

Only until the pain is truly released can we be free of the anger and negative thinking.

Watch: Manage Your Anger

And we can only do this when we learn how to feel ok with our anger and other negative emotions.

You can achieve this by-

  1. Not being afraid of your negative thoughts and understanding that the Universe is not going to punish you for having them.
  2. Using negative thoughts as a reminder or sign that something is not right with your body, mind or soul and that something may need to be addressed.
  3. Accepting your negative emotions and allowing yourself to feel them without shame or guilt.
  4. Understanding that your negative emotions are not about you or other people, and is instead tied to a situation.
  5. Owning your negative thoughts, but then also owning the fact that you need to do something about them.

Wallowing in your own negativity is ok for a short period, but if you don’t start to shift the energy and work on healing yourself, it is just going to lead you to feeling more miserable.

One of the most powerful ways you can cut through your anger and negativity is to sit in it and allow yourself to really, really feel it with no resistance.

When you do this, you give yourself the opportunity to identify where it is coming from and how you can go about making some changes.

Another effective tool is to ask yourself- What I feeling hurt about? As often under negative emotions there is always some type of pain.

And finally, the golden rule for dealing with negativity is asking yourself-

“If I loved myself what would I do in this situation?”

This post was originally published at foreverconscious.com

By Tanaaz

Do you sabotage your efforts?

Most of us do and are not even aware of it.

Sabotaging can creep up in all different forms. It can be as sneaky as telling us to eat the donut instead of the fruit salad or it can stop us from pursuing our greatest dreams and ambitions.

Most people who sabotage themselves are extremely smart and often have many ambitious and creative ideas however, they just can’t seem to get it together and turn it into a reality.

I see it time and time again, super smart, beautiful, funny, creative, loving people with so many brilliant ideas and goals and dreams that they just can’t seem to get off the ground or complete.

Not all great ideas are destined to be completed, however if you constantly find yourself giving up, talking but never acting or knowing you need to make a change but lacking the energy or motivation to do so, then chances are you are sabotaging yourself.

Sabotaging stems from the root of fear.

Usually this fear is in not being worthy enough, being afraid of success or being afraid of failure.

Let’s look at each of these in more detail-

I am not worthy enough: This usually manifest as- I can’t do this because I don’t have enough….Money, Experience, Time, Knowledge etc etc. It can also manifest as- I can’t do this because I am….too old, too young, too ugly, too fat, too dumb, too sensitive, too injured etc etc.

Usually our “not worthy enough” fears seem to make rational sense too- “Oh I can’t be a ballerina, I am too old and too inflexible.” Or, “I really want to start this new business but I don’t have the funding.”

While these thoughts sound rational, what is really stopping you from taking that ballet class or launching your business? Chances are it is nothing to do with age or money and everything to do with fear.

Being Afraid of Success: This usually manifests when you have a great idea, you have some resources or plans to put it into action, but you lack the motivation and drive to bring it altogether.

Usually, being afraid of success also brings anxiety into the situation, this is because on some deeper level you know you are onto something good, but your fears are holding you back because you are so afraid of what will actually happen when you “make it.”

Often a fear of success helps keeps you in your comfort zone, even if that comfort zone is not aligned with your dreams or is financially viable, it becomes a safety net.

Being Afraid of Failure: This usually manifests when things are up and running and some level of accomplishment has already occurred. Then the pressure and attachment towards what you are doing becomes so strong that you fear making a next move or you become obsessed with every little detail.

Usually the pressure of your pursuits becomes so great that you end up subconsciously taking actions that jeopardize you and your goals.

Sometimes a fear of failure can be so great that it stops you from taking action altogether.

As you can see, these three main fears behind sabotage are in many ways linked together. If you have been able to identify these fears in your life. Here is what to do about it…

#1: Understand that everyone has fears, from people who started Fortune 500 companies to those who went in pursuit of their dreams, to those who decided to get married and those who decided to jump out of an aeroplane with a parachute. Honor and acknowledge your fears.

#2: Once you have accepted that you have fears, understand that they are not real. They only exist in the thoughts of your past and your future, they are not real or in the present moment with you. This is about bringing awareness to the present and understanding that our fears will always come up with excuses as to why they are real.

#3: While fear is usually irrational, the feelings that comes along with it may feel very real. This is where you have to give yourself permission to feel the fear. Even though your rational mind can say, there is not anything to really worry about, our emotions may trick us into thinking otherwise. This is where you need to feel the fear and do it anyway.

#4: Understand that you are SO supported by the Universe. When you understand that you are supported by the Universe, that there are no mistakes, that there are no “wrong” choices and that the sun will rise again, it takes the pressure off. It also allows you to trust yourself and your truth.

#5: You are a strong, confident, loveable, intelligent being. There is no reason for you to hold yourself back. Just by being here you have achieved so much, in fact you even being here is a miracle! When you trust and love yourself, you align with the vibration of your truth and who you really are and that alignment will always bring you strength and courage.

#6: You are not alone. You are divinely connected and supported to everything in this Universe. You are pure, radiant love and you are not alone on this journey. Trust that the right teachers, mentors, relationships, financing and whatever else you need to achieve your dreams and goals will appear when you open to the Universe and trust.

#7: The easiest way to open to the Universe is to give thanks and gratitude for all that you are and all that you have. Start with being thankful for your beautiful body, mind, spirit and heart. Then move on to being thankful for the many blessings that surround you. Know that no matter what happens you will always have something to be grateful for.

With all this knowledge and understanding it is time to JUMP! And make an action plan.

Take a pen and paper and write down now one thing you would like to create for yourself in the next 6 months, perhaps it can be something you have wanted for a while but have been too scared to do. Go big! Go deep! Go to your highest visions for yourself!

Start putting your plan into action little by little, day by day. Notice if your sabotaging thoughts appear and keep encouraging yourself through them.

Break your patterns of fear and very soon, you too will be jumping out of an aeroplane (with a parachute of course).

This article has originally posted at foreverconscious.com and used here with permission.