Have you recently gone through a big life change? It can be tough to adapt. Here are my top tips to help.
Do you lack self esteem? A lack of self esteem can manifest itself in various ways. As a life coach, I come across low self esteem in various forms. Boost your self esteem is very hard nowadays and it’s perhaps not surprising in today’s world of social media that so many have low self esteem. However, low self esteem can affect anyone regardless of age or gender. It’s something that prevents you from reaching your potential, and leaves you feeling very self critical.
If that sounds familiar, then the good news is you can find ways to overcome it! Here are 8 ways to boost your self esteem.
Identify What You Really Want
I have lost count of the people I coach who say, “I don’t really know what I want, but I know I don’t want this”. Often, they feel silly but, in reality, it’s a really great start! Sometimes you must figure out what you don’t want and what you don’t like before you can start creating or imagining what you do want.
Take some time to reflect on your life and consider where you lose the most confidence. What aspect of your life causes you the most anguish? If so, identify it and focus your energy on removing that hurdle, whether it’s a toxic partner who is constantly running you down, part of your job you feel ill-equipped to do, or simply poor skin!
Get Proactive To Boost Your Self Esteem
Like with any problem you are facing, seeking a proactive solution is far better than hoping things will change on their own. For example, my friend’s daughter was struggling with her skin and it was damaging her confidence. What made it worse was that it was a new phenomenon – she’d never had skin problems in her teens. It turned out that, as a student she had been eating too much cheese! Someone suggested she might be lactose intolerant, so she cut out dairy from her diet and her skin cleared up in a matter of weeks!
So, whatever is harming your self esteem, take the time to identify the cause and see if you can find a solution. Some things might be easier to fix than you think, and it will make you much more open to figuring out all the things you do want in your life. There could be many different causes of why you have self esteem. So a great first step is to speak to a life coach to identify your next steps.
Avoid Negative People
Be aware of people around you who bolster or diminish your self esteem and confidence. Surround yourself with people who appreciate your gifts instead of pointing out your weaknesses. It can be tough to cut negative people out of your circle, but if they are the cause of your low self esteem, you’ll be so glad you did. Find new ways of meeting people, and don’t be afraid to put yourself out there. It’s a far less scary prospect than remaining surrounded by people who don’t champion you!
To Boost Your Self Esteem Is To Improve Weaknesses
We all have a unique combination of strengths and weaknesses that we use in our lives. We may never turn our weaknesses into strengths, but if these weaknesses are holding us back, we can improve them enough they stop being handicaps. For example, say you hate public speaking and you are due to give a presentation at work. Your weakness would be a lack of confidence and experience in giving presentations.
So, in the build up you could practice in front of friends and family. Perhaps take a colleague to one side and ask for their opinion. Every scenario is different, but the key with improving weaknesses is to break them down brick by brick. Challenge what you are afraid of, especially if it’s hampering your self esteem.
Embrace Your Strengths
Focus on what you are good at, embrace those gifts and appreciate them. If you can’t think of anything now, think back to a time when you were in control, confident and you sorted something out. What was it that helped you? Resilience? Being organised? Being passionate? If you take the time to reflect, you will come up with some resources that you can conjure up again when you need them.
Knowing your strengths can really help boost self esteem, because it makes you keep a positive focus. Even in challenging situations where you lack confidence, thinking about strengths can help you find a way through. So, take some time to identify what you are good at and run with it.
Don’t Compare Yourself To Others
Don’t try to compare yourself to others. If we look, we can all find some element of our body, brain or life we wish we could change. Better hair, longer legs, a more academic brain. The list is endless!
At the age of 45 I decided my face was starting to go south. I have friends around my age who seem to be holding time back, and even a few who are starting to look younger! Of course, this just amplifies my fear that I need to do something. I know some of my friends are getting artificial help, but I quite like my eyebrows where they are and don’t want to look constantly surprised! BUT. I still catch myself comparing. For some people, how they look is a real emotional challenge and it can be exhausting. No amount of magazine articles saying, ‘love what you have’ is going to make them feel better.
If you find this happening to you, I urge you to do what I do: Broaden out who you are. In other words, consider all that you are, do, have achieved, and not just what you look like. Life is so much more than one dimension, whether that dimension is looks, brains, achievements, etc.
Curb The Dread
Those of us who struggle with low self-esteem or self-confidence tend to be negative about outcomes before we have even experienced them. This may seem like a sensible strategy, because we can manage expectations for ourselves and others, but remember the Pygmalion Effect: We get what we expect. Catch yourself when you do this.
Accept that things will be what they will be, regardless of how much we try to anticipate the outcome. Besides, sometimes not getting the outcome we want – or getting the outcome we dread – might just be the right thing for us at that time. Most of us give the best we have at the time, and that’s all we can ask for, regardless of the outcome!
Do What You Love To Boost Your Self Esteem
We are at our happiest when we are doing what we love. It could be baking, walking in the countryside – it doesn’t have to be something earth-shattering, just something you love to do. Do it more often. Start taking small steps today, even if they seem insignificant. Do something that moves you toward improved self esteem and greater self confidence. It’s worth it!
To Sum Up
If you want to boost your self esteem, the key is to address the way you think, feel and act towards yourself. While that’s easier said than done, the right approach can make all the difference. So, focus on what you are good at and address any weak areas. Get proactive, and surround yourself with those who champion you, not tear you down.
I hope the above advice has been useful. For more information, my latest book, Your Life Your Way, offers practical ways to improve your self esteem and move ahead with your life.
Courage is the ability to do something, even though it might appear frightening at first. Do you ever read biographies of amazing people and feel in awe of what they have done? Does that awe sometimes make you feel a little despondent because you don’t believe you could be so brave, or accomplish so much despite the obstacles? Do you ever feel your life would be better if you could just muster up a little more courage to pursue your dreams or exit a poor situation? Do you want to be Dorothy but feel like the Cowardly Lion?
If so, a little more insight into these human qualities may help you to access them. We all have courage inside of us. It is as human as the blood that courses through our veins. Courage is like an inner reservoir we can draw on when we need to, although many of us only discover our courage when we are in a tough situation or someone we love is in danger. Bravery, on the other hand is the action, behaviour or outcome of courage; it’s the active facing of our fears so we can step into the unknown, or even into the known!
If you lack courage, here are my thoughts as a virtual life coach and therapist on what you need to know.
Courage – It’s Not What You Think
Perhaps the biggest hurdle we have to navigate to access our courage is identifying that we’ve been hoodwinked by TV, film and the media. They make us believe that bravery and courage are only required for ‘big’ acts: climbing mountains or rescuing small children from burning buildings. The courage and bravery we see on TV, or hear about on the nightly news, often creates an impossibly high bar that we see as relevant to ‘other people’ living ‘other lives’.
The truth is courage is much less dramatic. Anything that makes you feel slightly scared – even if it’s getting a spider out the bathroom without just killing it – will require courage, especially if you hate spiders! Learning to ski in your forties because your kids enjoyed a school trip and want to go with you this time requires a little courage. Depending on your personality, you may need to call on some bravery to meet new people or attend an interview.
Embrace Your Fear
I was skiing recently in the Alps and was on a ski lift going up the mountain. Next to me was Frasier, who was six years old and part of a ski school. We were chatting and I said, “Frasier, if I get scared at the top of the hill what would your advice be to me?” He thought about it for a minute, then turned to me and said, “Always face your fear!” Frasier was only six, but that’s great advice.
We are creatures of habit and we generally don’t like change that much. Change, by definition, is moving from something that’s known to something that’s unknown. Most of us prefer the known because there are no surprises there; it’s our comfort zone. But there is also no growth in the comfort zone. If we are to harness the power of courage to face difficult situations and make constructive change, we need to be willing to move into the challenge zone.
You Need To Exit Your Comfort Zone
If you are constantly in your comfort zone, how fulfilled do you feel? Sure, it’s a nice safe (some would say boring) place, but are you really doing what you want to do and being who you want to be if you are permanently ‘stationed’ there? To move into the next zone, we need to access the courage to push out beyond our comfort zone and into the challenge zone. But that push doesn’t need to move us into the panic zone. If you are spending too much time in the panic zone, it means you aren’t in control of what you are doing. The panic zone is almost as immobilising as the comfort zone, only it’s fear not comfort that’s driving the bus!
The key with change is incremental ‘stretch change’ that pushes you past what’s comfortable and easy, but not into being overwhelmed, fearful and panicked. Bring yourself back into what you know and/or what you need to do to find your own inner resources to fuel and power yourself in the challenge zone. Embrace the challenge! The challenge zone is where we learn, grow and develop as human beings. It’s where we find the impossible possible, and surprise ourselves by the strength of our convictions and the courage we can muster to see them through.
Start with small things that push you out of your comfort zone for a few minutes. The more you embrace the challenge zone as a playground for your own development, the braver you will become, and the easier courage will be to muster when you need it.
Find Out More
If you find you lack courage in certain situations, I hope the above advice has been helpful. Remember, if you would like any help or advice please get in touch. I offer virtual life coach sessions, and help my clients with a variety of issues. These sessions are available to international clients as well as those based in the UK.
Are you in need of calm and peace? Over 10,000 people have benefited from Paula Meir’s Hypnosis, so why not give it a try? Now with 50% off when you use the code CALMANDPEACE50
Emotional baggage is something most of us are carrying around to some degree. After all, we are all shaped by our experiences. But it’s less about what the experiences do to us than what we do with them. We are shaped by what we choose to make those experiences mean about who we are, what we deserve, and what we are capable of.
Quite often when I’m coaching people emotional baggage comes up. It can be attached to a work situation, a personal relationship or a negative experience that has happened. Emotional baggage isn’t necessarily a bad thing. We all carry some. If you are an adult, it’s inevitable. We have all been through the highs and lows that have shaped us into the people we are today. The problem is when said emotional baggage quite literally is weighing heavily on you.
If you look back at your life like it was chapters of a book, it can provide a varied and interesting read. Different relationships, different jobs, different cities, different friends – even different names. All of these help us to gain wisdom and help us to understand ourselves better. For some though, emotional baggage is stopping them from moving on. Some might not even be aware they have it! Here are my thoughts on how to deal with emotional baggage.
How To Recognise Emotional Baggage
We can’t change what we can’t recognise. The first step, therefore, is to learn how to recognise badly packed emotional baggage.
How do you know if it’s time to pack – or repack – yours? Ask yourself these questions:
1. Do you seem to have favourite topics of conversation that always seem to come around, no matter what you are talking about? Do you often seem to bring a conversation back to a story about how your life isn’t fair? Your “story” focuses on the negative. Do you still feel “wronged”, “slighted”, “mistreated”, “cheated on”, etc.?
2. Do you tend to “sabotage” yourself if you notice anything that is at all similar to something you have previously experienced? For example, let’s say you’re ready for a first date and A: He’s late picking you up. B: The song playing in the car when you get in reminds you of another horrendous first date. C: He doesn’t use his knife when he eats, eats loudly, or doesn’t like his food touching, which reminds you of someone else. Or D: He calls you by an endearing nickname that a previous partner used for you.
These or similar scenarios could trigger an internal, “Oh, no, not again” response that leads you to write the person off before ever giving him a chance – and just because they triggered emotional baggage about your own past.
Your reaction or behaviour frustrates and confuses you. You even hear yourself saying, “But, I can’t help it,” or “I can’t help how I feel.” If you can’t help it, chances are your emotional baggage is spilling out of its suitcase.
Recognise Your Personal Story
Our life experiences result in our own unique story – or really, series of stories. They create wonderful – and not so wonderful – memories. We often remember these stories and relay them to those we meet. Our stories are a way of connecting to each other: “I used to be a bus driver.” “Oh, did you? I used to be a bus driver, too.” They help us find common ground and build successful relationships, often with people who have similar stories. We feel comfortable with that person because we have things in common.
Most of the time, the emotions we experience as we travel through each chapter can be neatly packed away once we transition to a new situation or stage. We close the lid on our wild single shenanigans (the good and bad) once we enter a committed relationship, or we pack away the highs and lows of marriage when we divorce.
Learn To Separate The Past From The Present
But what happens when those emotions just won’t stay in the suitcase? The term “emotional baggage” is frequently used in connection to personal relationships – probably because this is an area of our life that is highly charged, intense, and often deeply affecting for most of us: the thrill of meeting someone new, the disappointments, the hope, the fights, the making up –it’s primarily an emotional journey.
As a result, you tend to blame a previous experience (or person) for making you feel the way you do, rather than taking responsibility for your role in the situation and the way you’re reacting to it. Separating a past situation (or person) from the present is tough, but it can really help gain perspective.
Find Out More
What do you think? Is it time to pack – or repack – your emotional baggage? To learn more about claiming, packing, and stowing your baggage, read my latest book, Your Life Your Way. As a life coach, I help my clients overcome a variety of issues including emotional baggage.
As part of this, I also offer virtual sessions on personal development to clients based in the UK and internationally. If you are struggling to overcome your emotional baggage (or other issues I help with) then speaking about it might help you find a way through. Please contact me and I will be in touch.
Is your emotional baggage stopping you from getting a great night’s sleep? Try The Paula Meir Sleep Hypnosis. Now with 50% off when you use the code SLEEPWELL50.