Three Things You Can Do Today to Improve Your Self-Esteem
- Friday, January 24, 2003
I believe that poor self-esteem is at the root of most emotional problems common today. It is the catalyst. It is the common ingredient in so many miserable lives. It is the doorway through which a world of neurosis enters.
Almost every single desperate emotional human circumstance can be directly traced back to someone's lack of adequate self-esteem, and this tragedy is made worse by its curability. Healthy self-esteem is within everyone's reach. It just requires guidance and a commitment to change.
Here are some suggestions that you can begin to practice this very minute.
1. Make Good Friends
One of the most important things you can do to improve your self-esteem is to surround yourself with people who will literally immerse you in the positive dynamic of your worth and your value-who want you to have a good life-and who want you to enjoy yourself. This is particularly important if at the same time you are choosing and deciding the person you will be.
What I always say to people is if you don't have three to five good friends of the same sex and one or two good friends of the opposite sex, you don't have enough friends. You need to be surrounded by individuals who give you positive messages about your worth and your value and who tend to see the good things about you. These friends hold you accountable to high standards but always indicate to you that your worth is never at stake in their eyes.
2. Take Good Physical Care
I also suggest that, in order to raise your self esteem, you take very good care of yourself physically. You are aware that there are many people who are overweight. When you're overweight, as I have been at times in my own life, you don't feel nearly as good about yourself. When you know that you're not eating right, or you're eating too much, or you're eating the wrong kinds of foods, you tend to feel that you just don't count as much with yourself.
But if you eat right, if you watch your weight, if you exercise, if you make sure you get sufficient sleep, if you take very good care of yourself physically, I promise you your self-esteem will begin to creep up. When you change your whole sense about your body, your self-esteem tends to rise.
3. Take Good Emotional Care
I want to encourage you to take very good care of yourself emotionally. One of the things that you need to do is to read books and articles that are good for you. Bathe your mind with things that nurture your soul and feed your emotions. Listen to great music so that you can get in touch with genius outside and inside. Take the time to do the things you thoroughly enjoy doing.
I still remember when I was at the University of Chicago studying for my Doctorate that there were times when I was working hard and I was under great pressure. However, I always punctuated those long hard working times with something that I enjoyed doing. One of the things that I enjoyed doing was going to the University of Chicago bookstore. So I would study for two hours with the promise that I had then earned 15 minutes to visit the bookstore and just browse. I really enjoyed browsing through that store! It made me feel good about the way I was taking care of myself.
Don't overwork. Simply don't let yourself get so out of balance that life will become a drudge because all you are doing is working.
Simply put, thinking positively will begin to improve your self-esteem.
I would like to encourage you to think about deciding to literally mobilize your will to focus on your strengths far more often than you focus on your weaknesses. Begin to look at what it is about you that you can take pride in. What is it you like about the way you go about living your life?
It is so easy for us to become defect finders. We go at ourselves with a magnifying glass. We look for every little thing that is wrong, and when somebody asks about all the things about us that are right, we look at them quizzically, like we're surprised that they can see anything right about us. We have spent so much time thinking about what is wrong that we don't have much of a sense of all the things that are right about us.
In that same vein, I would like to encourage you to consider purposely staying away from the negative parts of life.
The other night I was in a motel in San Antonio, Texas. It was Saturday night and I was watching television after a large seminar I'd held that day. I was aimlessly flipping around the dial when I came to a channel that was showing a violent movie. I found myself in my lethargy watching the bloodshed far too long. When I finally moved away, I focused for a few moments on how the effects of watching all that aggression had been on my own sense of self.
I honestly believe that when we let too much negativity into our lives we drag ourselves down.
My advice to you is purposely stay away from the negative parts of life and I think you will see a real effect on your self-esteem.
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