Low self-esteem is not only epidemic, there is not even a good understanding of what it means; many confuse arrogance, or narcissism with positive self Image when truly, the most solid sense of self looks very content and humble.  Today we’ll talk about what real self-esteem is made of and give you six ways to improve yours!

Having a solid positive sense of self is to know yourself and to love and respect who you are.  This is not about looks or achievements and doesn’t come from doing anything to act confident. 

  1. Who are you?  Take a few moments and ask yourself to look at your character; are you kind, caring, empathic, honest, honorable, noble, able to be selfless when someone needs you to be, able to put yourself aside and be there for someone else, a caring mom or dad, brother or sister, daughter, son, or friend?  In other words, what are your values and how well are you living them?  Frequently those with the lowest self-esteem have great character qualities but they don’t value them and they think that because they are not the most beautiful in the room, they are not worthy.  So look at these and take stock for yourself.  When you see your strengths, build on those; if there are weak spots, take note of those too.  I need to be more generous, or more empathic, or more able to listen and not interrupt others, or treat others more caringly.  
  2. What gives your time and your life some meaning?  This doesn’t have to be changing the world but can mean changing your little part of it.  Whether you bag groceries or run a multinational corporation, do you light up someone’s day or ruin it?  Does your presence in a room create warmth and collaboration, or contest and frustration?  Do you spread vicious rumors and get people at odds with each other, or bring people together and create a fun, creative, and enriching atmosphere?  Are you living your values at work or school? Again, take note of your strengths, and your weaknesses and commit to celebrating and improving. 
  3. Celebrating, and improving on;  take a moment to celebrate the miracle of who you are.  If you came from a challenging environment and you’re a loving, giving, empathic person, celebrate the miracle of enduring, surviving, and being yourself even in the midst of the trauma or challenges that were your life.  If there are areas you’re not feeling good about, then focus time and attention on those.  No one is perfect and you won’t be either, but you can pay attention to these attributes and improve yourself.  As you do, you will feel better about yourself. 
  4. Self-esteem shines as a light from the inside out; it is not a cool outfit you put on.  When you’ve done this internal house-cleaning and stock-taking, your personality will shine from the inside out.  You know and feel the truths of who you are and what you’re about and you feel good about yourself.  You know you’re not perfect, but you feel some sense of solidness in yourself, and that shines.  
  5. You’re not rocked by others’ antics.  When you have a solid sense of self, others can be arrogant and you don’t engage; others can be directly or indirectly insulting and you don’t participate; Eleanor Roosevelt famously said, “no one can insult you if you don’t participate”.  Think about that, if someone is insulting, and you have a solid sense of yourself, you just say inside your head, ‘wow, they must really have a wonky sense of themselves to have to put me down to feel better about themselves.  I wouldn’t want to live in their skin.’  And you move on.  When your sense of self is solid and comes from the inside, the external world cannot steal it from you. 
  6. Real self-esteem is humble and not boastful.  When this solid sense of self comes from inside, you don’t have to boast or draw attention to yourself, you exude confidence from the inside.  Not everyone will perceive it but quality people will feel it and respond, and those relationships will be meaningful and substantial.  You don’t need superficial in your life; don’t seek it and don’t wrap your life around attaining it.  It’s empty and ultimately like putting frosting on a turd; it might look nice but it’s still a turd!  Don’t’ be a frosting covered turd!

To know and love yourself is simpler than you think and the hardest part is to look at the journey differently than you probably thought.Find yourself and be yourself and you will also find connectedness, depth, meaning, and purpose.

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Originally Published on https://www.nofoggydays.com/blog/

Shannon Petrovich LCSW, LISAC, BCD Therapist, Author, YouTube Creator

Shannon earned her Bachelor’s degree from Bowdoin College, and her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Connecticut. She earned her clinical licenses in Social Work and Substance Abuse Counseling, and is a Board Certified Diplomate in Clinical Social Work.

Her new book, Out of the FOG Into the CLEAR, Journaling to Help You Heal from Toxic Relationships has attained Amazon Bestseller status in Self Help for Abuse, Codependency, and Personal Transformation.

On her YouTube channel Therapist Talks, she shares insights, information, perspectives, and strategies on a wide range of relationship and mental health topics.

With a very trauma-informed, strengths-based approach, she seeks to help people see the old stories that are in their way, and to fully become the person they were created to be.

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