Thursday, 10 September 2015

The Little Drops: Tips on Battling Low-Self Esteem

overcoming low self-esteem

It’s funny, no, amazing how little drops of water make a mighty ocean. When experts make a lot of noise about low self-esteem; when people assess the enormous damage that low self-esteem has been responsible for, I can’t help but think “How far along has that been?”
You see, self-esteem is actually never part of a person’s makeup at birth (at least that’s what I think). We pick it up along the way, most times unconsciously though. “Little” words, actions, experiences could send the signal “you’re not enough” to a person’s mind.
I’ll like to share something I came across here. It mirrored my situation and helped me put things in better perspective:

Signs that indicate you have a low self-esteem;
  • Social withdrawal
  • Anxiety and emotional turmoil
  • Lack of social skills and self-confidence. Depression and/or bouts of sadness
  • Less social conformity
  • Eating disorders
  • Inability to accept compliments
  • An inability to see yourself 'squarely'- to be fair to yourself
  • Exaggerated concern over what you think other people think
  • Self-neglect
  • Treating yourself badly but NOT other people
  • Wondering whether you have treated others badly
  • Reluctance to take on challenges
  • Reluctance to put yourself first
  • Reluctance to trust your own opinion
  • Expecting little out of life for yourself 
Quotes on overcoming low self-esteem
I’ll briefly share my experience: First, I’ve always been a sensitive child; not very outspoken, but my emotions are a different tale altogether. Delicate is not even the word for them; Hyper-delicate is more like it! This meant that I felt- still do- so many things without letting it show. In all honesty, I’m a stranger to most of my family members because I don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. When I burst or break down, it’s usually only after bottling up for so long.
Second, I’d always questioned the fact that I had two incisions on my face while my other siblings had none. I was told something along the lines of it being part of a ‘prevention strategy’ against convulsion for a baby. I wasn’t too cool with it but then, life went on.
Now picture this scenario: One of my father’s friends stops by to visit and I happen to be the one who opens the door. The first thing this friend does upon seeing me is exclaim: “Why does this one look so much like a boy?!” Okay, I wish I could express how heart-shattering I found that statement at the time. This was a period when I had just cut my hair because it was mandated by my secondary school. I was basically feeling like “The only thing that made my face kinda palatable (my hair) was gone”, then this man comes out of the blues to deal a heavy blow! From then on, I was convinced I was not beautiful. I went to great lengths to avoid taking pictures, because I just kept seeing an ugly girl in them. All through my secondary school year, this was the case.
Quotes and Tips on overcoming low self-esteem
Now, my mum assured me that the friend just meant that I look a lot like my dad, but no, I was having none of it. Words spoken in less than a minute held me captive for over 6 years. Low self- esteem is a killer, but the good news is you can fight it and you can overcome it. I’ll share a few tips on how I’ve been dealing with it so far (Unfortunately, I cannot categorically say I’m over it yet, but little by little, I’m conquering it.):
ADMIT IT. Sometimes (as in my case), the first step is to look yourself in the eye and say “Hey! This right here is low self-esteem, Plain & Simple!”
DETEST IT. This was the one time in my life that I found hatred somewhat constructive. Detest low self-esteem, not yourself (you’ve probably done enough of that already).
IDENTIFY YOUR DOWN POINTS. For me, it was physical beauty. I would literally freak out when someone looked at me for too long. My thought was always “s**t! my ugliness is so compelling!”. I later realised that some folks (mostly guys) were actually staring at me ‘cos they thought I looked good. At the time however, that notion was just FOREIGN. So, take a conscious effort to note those things (or people) that actually make you feel ‘not enough’.
quotes and tips on overcoming low self-esteem

FIGHT IT OUT. I had to take a fierce stand towards addressing my down points. I seized every opportunity to take a picture. I determined to see the beauty in me. I learnt to take compliments as compliments, and not sarcasm. I smiled more!
SPEAK TO YOUR IMAGE. I told myself “You’re beautiful”, “You’re important”, “God put you here for a reason!”, “You have immense potential”. You decide what it is you need to tell that demon called low self-esteem, and don’t be shy about it! The Bible was a strong pillar in this case.
MOVE WITH UPLIFTING PEOPLE. The last thing I needed was a bunch of badmouths around me. Fortunately for me, I had beautiful souls who not only told me I’m beautiful, but also showed me I’m beautiful. Now it may not always be possible to escape the negatives, but just determine to shut them out. Counter any downgrading with point (5) above.

Now, these are as many as I could come up with about my case, but a few other pointers that could help include:
  • Think back to when you did something new for the first time. Relish the uplifting feeling that accompanied that.
  • Do something you have been putting off. Leave your comfort zone.
  • Do something you're good at.
  • get seriously relaxed. Basically, take a chill pill!
  • Remember all the things you have achieved. Amplify them, no matter how little.
images for overcoming low self-esteem

I wish you all the best conquering low self-esteem.

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