Self-Esteem: Ditch the nasty inner voice and live your best life!
Written by Thato Choma
Self-Esteem, you born with it, it is “the programmed setting” of your being. There was once a time in your life where you recognized your importance on this planet, and you trusted that there was support for your existence. You were a being, and that is all you knew how to do: Be. You cried, laughed, fell, stood up, walked, you slept, you burped, you were even unemployed and support still lovingly arrived & celebrated you.
And in the same way, you brought purpose to the life and meaning of others, men and women became better people, families grew closer, people made better decisions and the world was enriched because of you. You didn’t have to perform to make this happen, just being made it happen. You were a child genius. Through life this magic (self-esteem) gets infected and affected on the journey because of emotional injuries, that are part of life, and this develops a low self-esteem when left untreated, making us adults with a few messy tendencies. The news of relief: It’s never lost, and you are able to restore this state of being. You are important, this hasn’t changed, let me start by reminding you of this great fact!
Psychology describes self-esteem as a persons’ concept of self that is wholesome, enriching, balanced and there is an untainted dose of self-belief. What cannot be separated from this is the practice of self-awareness. Being aware of who you are, being able to define for yourself why you take the decisions you take, and letting your authenticity live is how self-esteem is expressed in principle. This is a concept we hear and use in everyday life, this tends to get in the way of true appreciation of how important and how deep the concept runs. It’s deeper than getting a fashion make-over, or learning an elevator speech to secure the next job. It’s bigger than being able to speak in public, or “shooting your shot”. Yes, these tend to be indicators & manifestations of some kind, but in a lot of cases, they can still be masks to distract from the real inner work of self-esteem that carves out your authenticity. Maintaining a healthy self-awareness and self-esteem are disciplines in and of itself.
Over the last 10 years in the coaching industry, I have come to witness profound moments where people get to the bottom line of their existence: At the very centre of thriving is self-esteem & self-awareness, at the center of suffering is an contaminated self-esteem. This means “I am the bottom line of my life” and “it is all 100% up to me”. This is not to discredit harsh circumstances that people are born in and injustices world wide, however it is much more empowering to OWN our decisions and circumstances, than to let them own you. Therefore, you realise that you can create the life you want even in difficult times or tough circumstances.
HOW DO I KNOW THAT MY SELF ESTEEM NEEDS WORK?
For an honest appraisal of your self, you can start by looking at patterns which you view as unfavourable, but somehow keep happening. Here are a few aspects you can look into:
1. I try to control how others see me by doing what they need me to (People Pleasing)
This is when you buy love and affection with acts of service, giving with strings attached, or giving into peer pressure to make others happy, which is essentially a denial and violation of self.
2. I rebel even when it will hurt me
Doing things to intentionally set out a statement of rebellion to others. True authenticity and self-esteem does not harm the self, but instead honours your inner truth.
3. I tend to be indecisive
You have a difficult time making decisions or sticking with decisions. This is because you don’t have a clear concepts of your worth or value it enough to identify it and appreciate it. This can also look like asking for too much advice from people who have no context about who you are. This will also result in the inability to complete commitments.
4. I will not do it until.......I will do it when .......
Perfection is something that is a disguise for indecisiveness, fear of success or fear of failure due to the low self worth.
5. I sit out of activities & make up stories why I should shouldn't
Are you constantly observing life, and making up factless stories in your head about why things will turn out in an unfavourable way for you?
HOW CAN I BEGIN WORKING ON MY SELF-ESTEEM?
1. Choose your thoughts carefully
It’s as simple activity as picking your clothes, or pizza toppings. You get to choose which thoughts you let live and which ones you discard. Thoughts build into physical activity and habits. Choose the thoughts that give you empowering feelings, so that you can move closer to decision making that helps you move along your path instead of creating obstacles. The unfortunate thing is that some of us are more aware of how we feel about pineapple and ham on a pizza more than we know about how we feel about thoughts about ourself & others. Think about that
2. What decisions did I take from my childhood that still play out in my adulthood?
When I was 7 years old, I started to take to yo-yo dieting to lose weight because weight loss equalled to acceptance & perfection for me. I went from “I won’t go to parties until I lose 5kg”, to “I won’t apply for that job until I lose 5kg”. The story is enlarged and it develops if left untreated. It wasn’t till years later that I realized that I was sitting out of life because I fundamentally had the interpretation that my body was always in the way. Watch out for these decisions, that is where the magic is. You can change the story by accepting the facts with ease and changing your interpretation of it. Being aware of the stories we tell ourself is a powerful technique to developing a strong self esteem.
3. Ask yourself, "Is that what they really said or this an interpretation of what happened?"
Most of the time, what is said and what is heard is completely different. This has an enormous contribution to our internal dialogue and how we feel about ourselves. Instead of saying “I am hurt”, say, “I have feelings of hurt”.
What you say after “I am” has profound impact on the concept of yourself, you are not not fat, you have fat... you are not hurt, you have feelings of hurt. Through changing your speech, based on new information from being more self-aware, you will change your life – I promise.
4. Consume Goodness
Media, people, chats, social posts, books, podcasts– Quality only. Why? Because you value yourself. You are quality. If something doesn’t make you feel good, step away. It’s not necessarily about the thing, it’s more about how it aligns with who you are. Even if you don’t get it right all the time, become aware of how powerful choice is in creating your life in the way that is aligned with a vision of your best self.
5. Ask for Help
You will grow to realise that unhealthy self-esteem is no one’s fault, because it develops from things we are not aware of. In knowing better, we can do better – that’s when we can become accountable and grow! Lives change through coaching, guided introspection and a professional that will help you to grow in self-awareness. You don’t have to do it alone, you can’t save yourself when you’re drowning, but you can put your hand up and reach for help. In having this assistance, you will successfully merge the child genius with a conscious adult, navigating life in an accountable way that also brings light to others. In the end you will realise the only way to live truly, fully is to be your authentic, amazing self. That is when you will operate from true self-esteem and thrive in the world.
Thato Choma | Sivuka Youth Coach
Thato is an incredibly talented and heart centred Coach. This power package has over 10 years of experience and holds a BCom Marketing Degree and is an NLP Practitioner. She runs her own Coaching business The Beautiful Practise where she coaches for Self-awareness and Self-esteem restoration through healing.