Self Esteem and Self Worth:
Tips For Improving Self Love and Value
Self-esteem and self-worth are associated prerequisites for happiness, a sense of contentment, and motivation to care for ourselves. They can be secondary consequences of meaningful experiences and actions as adults or developed in response to childhood trauma. Self-esteem is defined as what we think, feel and believe about ourselves and reflects our internal assessment of our qualities and attributes. Self- worth is defined as the recognition that you are a valuable human being who is deserving of love.
The level of self-esteem can go to two extremes. When it is very high, it is called narcissism, in which the person either exaggerates their abilities or deceives themselves about their weaknesses. Narcissists believe they are superior to others and that their opinions matter more than anyone else because they are smarter. They are preoccupied with being perfect.
Very low self-esteem is associated with a belief of not being good enough and underestimating positive attributes. Someone with low self-esteem may engage in harsh, negative self-talk with a Critical Inner Judge actively calling them names such as stupid, lazy, boring, selfish, worthless or unlovable. There can be multiple inner critics, each with a different perspective and influence on behavior. Inner critics develop early in life and may carry attitudes and feelings inconsistent with the full abilities of the adult self’s positive capacities.
The levels of self-esteem and self-worth are not set in stone and certainly can be improved, based on dominant thoughts, beliefs and extent of meaningful endeavors and actions taken. Healthy, realistic self-esteem is essential because it influences decision making, relationships, emotional health, overall well-being, self-respect, self-care and motivation. There are four primary and important capacities which support release of self-criticism. These are strength, self-compassion, perspective and ability to embrace the truth.
Strength means the ability to set limits on negative self-talk and the inner critic so that it does not dominate the sense of self-worth. Strength is used to stop harsh attacks by the inner critic. Self-compassion means treating yourself with kindness, allowing forgiveness of mistakes, and loving yourself. Perspective is appreciating who you are today, what you have learned, and where you began on the development continuum. Survival from hardship and challenges is part of who we are. Taking the kernel of truth from the inner critic and softening it into positive support and motivation for growth utilizes the capacity for seeing the truth in yourself. This involves willingness to look at real evidence and not believing everything the inner critic says, who may be expecting perfection. And avoiding generalizations such as always and never is helpful.
There are four types of self-esteem: confidence, identity, belonging and competence. We develop confidence by engaging in meaningful activities and accepting that learning from mistakes is a natural way to grow and evolve through experience. It also is fueled by feeling loved and having our needs met.
Our identity is based on knowledge of ourselves, abilities, needs and emotions. Aspects of identity include body image, social connections, economic situation, occupation, sexual orientation and our culture or family.
Belonging type of self-esteem refers to what groups, tribes, friends, sports team or schools we associate with. It reflects our relationship experiences and sense of solidarity as part of a group. It helps us to feel understood and liked by people like ourselves.
Competence is trust in ourselves to try new challenges, learn new things and accept both success and failure. It motivates us to face challenges and provides a sense of efficacy and pride when we do succeed.
Ten Tips to Improving Self Esteem:
1. Practice gratitude and appreciation on a daily basis
2. Identify, challenge, and counter negative, distorted thinking.
3. Practice positive thinking daily, many times with affirmations
4. Forgive yourself for mistakes because they are learning opportunities
5. Realize that self-esteem is not about ability; rather it is about your inner dialogue and perceptions that tells you that you are good enough, without being be overly critical.
6. Write down positive things about yourself on a regular basis or in a journal.
7. Recognize that low self-esteem often begins in early childhood with negative programming from domestic violence, belittling or shaming by parents, stressful events like divorce, or unrealistic expectations. These are distorted perceptions by a child without the knowledge and experience of adults to cope with it. These perceptions can be changed in hypnosis.
8. Avoid negative relationships with persons not interested in your personal growth,
9. Improve your physical health and fitness by taking care of yourself as a high priority.
10. Give yourself a break. You don't have to be perfect 24/7. Be kind to yourself. Make time for rest, relaxation, exercise and play.
Hypnotherapy can empower you to maximize all of the above ten tips.