Having low self-esteem simply means having a low self-belief. It is difficult for you to believe that you have the ability to do something or do it right and you feel uncertain about your ability to take the right decisions. However, your self-belief can be restored quite easily by two very important processes:
- Tuning into positive self-talk
- Tuning out negative self-talk
Positive self-talk may not be able to change your life overnight, but it is a great way to start influencing the way you think and feel and thereby the way you act. Here are a few examples of what your positive self-talk should be about:
- Imagine a positive outcome. Start out by having a very clear picture of a successful outcome – do not worry about how you will get there. Research has shown that our subconscious mind is very powerful and once the seed of a successful result is placed in there, it will take root and will guide you in various ways to help make this come true. Let’s say that you are shy but have to make a presentation before your seniors. Imagine a successful presentation wherein you are confident, able to answer all questions, and with everyone complimenting you on a job well done.
- Use positive affirmations. Affirmations are merely positive self-talk statements, which usually start with ‘I’. They are brief but clear and always talk about the present. Let me give you a few examples, I am healthy and strong, I can make a difference, I am a good friend, I have unique talents and abilities, I am a good person, I am growing and I am willing to take risks for it.
You’ll find many examples and starting points for creating your own affirmations on this site.
- Stay positive. Instead of stating things in the negative, put a positive spin on it. Do not say, ‘I am not afraid…’ Say ‘I am confident while making my presentation. Similarly, keep the statement in the present tense – not tomorrow, not later, now! This will help your subconscious mind to realize that the result you want is for today and for now. Use the powerful words – I am….- rather than the tentative could, should or will. “I am a capable, confident speaker who can capture the attention of a large group of people”.
- Keep it simple. Using brief sentences helps your subconscious to remember them better. Long rambling sentences are quickly forgotten and may even get you more confused. Use simple sentences to start the reprogramming of your thought process.
- Keep it believable. Your self-talk has to be about believable, reachable goals. They have to be believed by you and hence it is important that you decide how high your goal should be. Decide on what you want to achieve for yourself and if the goal seems a little tough, that’s okay. What matters is that it has to be believable for you.
- Trigger happy emotions. Talk about your positive aspects. This helps trigger happy and joyous emotions in you, which will give you more energy to achieve things. Say, I am a supportive and understanding partner; I am a loving and nurturing parent.
- Write them down so that you can see them, not just think them. Buy a set of index cards and write down every affirmative thought on a separate card. When you can spare the time or when you are feeling particularly bad, take them out and read your affirmation out loud. You may feel a little silly but hearing yourself say it is very powerful.
- Affirm and Re-affirm. Now comes the interesting part. For about 30 consecutive days, read your affirmation once every morning immediately after waking up, and once every night, just before you hit the bed. It has been proven that your brain is the most receptive to ideas in the early morning and just before you go to sleep. It doesn’t take long – about 30 to 45 seconds should be enough to read your affirmation and visualize yourself in that positive frame of mind. – See the picture clearly in your mind. Feel the positive, almost joyous emotions running through you. Take a deep breath; enjoy the moment, and then get on with your day.
- Be open to all possibilities and believe that it is possible to make changes, whatever stage of life you may be in!
Use this method of affirmation and positive self-talk to continuously improve your self-image and improve your sense of worth. Don’t put it off. Don’t think “I should try that some time”. Start today. You might be amazed at the results!