Esteem is a simple word. It is worth and value that we apply to people, places, and situations. We have esteem when a professional puts in an exemplary performance whether it is in sports, acting, or simply doing the right thing.
Self-esteem affects every single part of our lives creating a miserable place if it is low and a vibrant up beat place when it is balanced. Elevating esteem so that it is at an empowering level for ourselves could very well be the key to happiness in life.
It is important that when you aim for high self-esteem, it is not at the level of thinking you are “better” or more “superior” to another, but instead it is at a level where you are okay with you, others and the world.
That”s also the difference between arrogance and loving yourself. There is nothing wrong with knowing how great you are. In fact it is an important element of self-esteem — self-love. However, when we believe we are better than other people, or more superior, that”s just plain arrogance and is best avoided at all costs.
Most people’s feelings and thoughts about themselves fluctuate somewhat based on their daily experiences. The grade you get on an exam, how your friends treat you, ups and downs in a romantic relationship-all can have a temporary impact on your wellbeing. This is because people collapse an event and what it means about them.
So if you are in the selling profession you may believe you are an excellent sales person when you sell 8 out of 10 products, but not when you sell 2 out of 10. You are the same person whether you are selling 2 products or 8 products. It is important to separate your behavior and what it “means” about you. Instead of celebrating the fact that you made 8 sales and being misery when you only made 2 sales, celebrate the fact that you are engaged in the art of selling. Enjoy the actions you take, rather than the end result. That way whether you sell 2 or 8 is irrelevant because you will be thinking how great you are for just being out there selling something.
Your own self-esteem, however, is something more fundamental than the normal “ups and downs” associated with situational changes. For people with good basic self-esteem, normal “ups and downs” may lead to temporary fluctuations in how they feel about themselves, but only to a limited extent. In contrast, for people with poor basic self-esteem, these “ups and downs” may make all the difference in the world.
Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately (know ourselves) and still be able to accept and to value ourselves unconditionally. This means being able to realistically acknowledge our strengths and limitations (which is part of being human) and at the same time accepting ourselves as worthy and worthwhile without conditions or reservations.
Raising your self-esteem to levels that will enhance your life and the way you view life is a journey worth embarking on. It can make a tremendous difference in your quality of life. Learning techniques to raise self-esteem can be taught and put into practice in just a few days. However, it will take practice to keep your self-worth at the forefront.
There is a common mis-conception that people with a good level of self-esteem feel great about themselves every day and never have to do any work to keep themselves there, but that is just not true.
No one goes to the gym for a few weeks after 10 years or more of inactivity and expects to be totally fit within weeks. No one would go to the gym for a few weeks and then decide they have gone long enough and don”t need to go anymore. No one would go to the gym after years of inactivity, get fit, and then never return again. They will need to return at least 3 or 4 times a week to maintain their fitness levels.
So why then do people think that self-esteem is something that can be acquired in a weekend, or within weeks? Why is it people moan and complain if after a few months of working on their self esteem they are thinking better about themselves but are still slipping back? Why is it that people believe once they have great esteem they can just stop, and it will remain that way forever?
Maybe I will never know the answer to those questions! But what I ask is that you get ready to commit yourself to however long it takes. The time is going to go anyway so why not be productively working on your self-esteem until it is automatically integrated into your very being, and even then accept that sometimes your life will not go to plan, but that does not have to effect what you think about who you are.