Ah so you want to improve your self-esteem? However, you are asked one day by your boss to give a presentation to some very high profile CEO’s on a new product. Even though you’ve done many presentations in the past you are extremely nervous as this is the first time you have presented to such high profile clients.
During the presentation you stutter through some sentences. Inside you begin to feel embarrassed believing that everyone in the room noticed your slip up. Your negative childhood memories begin to come back. The one where you felt embarrassed after giving your first presentation in grade school.
After the presentation concludes, many of the CEO’s come up to you to congratulate you on such a wonderful presentation. However, you don’t believe they are being honest with you. Instead, you think they are just saying those words to be polite.
Instances such as this happen many times throughout our lives. Childhood for some can be a very enriching time in our lives. For others, it was the worst part of their lives. Negative childhood experiences can have a great impact on your self-esteem as adults.
The negative experiences are recorded in our heads like an video recorder. Etched in our memories to be played over and over again when we don’t want to see it. It’s brings us back to a place we don’t want to be. These negative reminders is what keeps us a adults from experiencing new things or challenges.
Just think of all the things we can all accomplish in life if we just let go of these past negative experiences. Wouldn’t that be great? To finally tell yourself that horrible experience is not going to prevent you from getting what you want.
I’ve experience those feelings of inadequacy for years as an adult. All these negative views were deeply rooted from my childhood memories. My life used to be full of flashbacks, taking me back to that voice telling me I am stupid for believing I can accomplish something significant. Instead of following through on a commitment I would just crawl back into my shell. By doing this I would be brought back to my comfort zone. This way I could not fail since I did not attempt to succeed.
However, this proved to be detrimental to my career, relationships, and happiness. It prevented me from being truly happy as I was starting to accept a lower standard for myself. I never felt I was deserving of praise. It made me feel uncomfortable because I wasn’t sure if it was genuine or if the person was just being polite.
So how does one improve a self-esteem that has been shattered during childhood? We must first understand what causes many of us to feel this way in the first place.
Causes Of Low Self-Esteem In Childhood
Not feeling loved by parents
Many kids are not praised enough by their parents. In my household my parents didn’t use praise very often. However, they made sure they emphasized what we did wrong.
In fact, they made it sound like the end of the world was coming every time they were disappointed in us. Quite often we would be reminded of it for days on end just so they can continue to drive home the point. It really hurt and cuts through your heart to hear it. Especially when you are the oldest one as they expect more out of you.
Now I’m not saying my parents never loved me or my siblings. They did very much. However, in many Chinese families there is a believe that too much praise placed on a child would make them arrogant. Therefore, negative remarks serve to humble the child and make them tougher mentally as adults. My grandfather used to say, “to make a tree grow you must chop in down.”
Now I’m sure a lot of Asian parents would say yes this method works. Look at all the Asian’s who are successful doctors or professionals. How can we be wrong?
Well yes there are a lot of Asian professionals who are successful when it comes to wealth. However, I do know there are many who absolutely hate what they are doing for a living. They only did it because their parents wanted them to do it otherwise they would “lose face” in the eyes of friends and relatives. Now the term “losing face” does not literally mean your face gets mangled. That’s disease called Leprosy.
Losing face in Chinese terms means the family would lose respect of other family members or friends. These individuals will gather at community functions to gossip about such and such kid who failed to live up to expectations.
So parents, what is the solution?
Give praise to your kids! Tell them how much you love them as they can never get enough. When you don’t do this enough they will feel inadequate and question their ability to be loved.
As a result, when they become adults their creativity will be suppressed, less ambitious, and fearful. They will never take a chance to reach their full potential in life for fear of embarrassment.
They can also develop trust issues from not feeling loved. It makes them feel inferior and inadequate.
3 Ways To Improve A Self-esteem and Finally Live Life Freely
1). Believe in yourself and love yourself
Ask yourself if those negative past experiences are a true reflection of who you are as a person. In most cases, things that were said about you are not true at all.
I was constantly told by my parents I was a bad kid. I grew up to believe this to be true. After careful reflection as an adult I finally said to myself this is not true at all. I’ve never been in trouble with the law with the exception of tearing down some trees in a neighbor’s yard when I was 9 years old.
I still remember the cops showing up at my parents house to put a scare into me. My parents went along with it by telling the officers to take me to jail. It definitely put a scare in me at a young age to walk a straight path in life despite of the negative influences around our area. We did after all grow up in an area with low income housing with many of those kids who came from abusive homes.
2). Socialize with friends who support you
Great friends are ones who are there for you in bad times not just good times. They are your cheerleaders fighting for you when others talk down on you.
They don’t engage in negative rumors. Instead they spend their time moving forward everyday in a positive manner. I love connecting with these individuals as they inspire me to keep achieving more.
Don’t hang out with “crabs in a bucket.” Those are the ones who don’t want you to succeed or get ahead of them. Instead they will do all they can to pull you back down before you get to the top of the bucket.
Hanging out with supportive people will draw other people with the same mindset into your social circles.
3). Stop self-defeating criticism
There is always an inner voice with an angel telling us we can do it while the devil on the other shoulder telling us we are can’t do it. Most people heed to the devilish character’s advice. Stop listening to the devilish character.
Tell yourself that what he is saying to me in not true. I like to use affirmations or positive self-talk. The most common words I use is, “why not me?”
I had a former friend who used to cut down every positive thing I did. Making me feel like I didn’t deserve to win or achieve something special. I finally had enough of this individual. I don’t care how long we’ve been friends. He is now garbage in my life that needed to be dumped to the curb.
Quite often we aspire to greater things in our lives. Be an actor, a talk show show host like Oprah Winfrey, move up in a company, have a nice relationship, more wealth, or a better body. We all have someone in our lives who is always putting down someone else or your accomplishments.
Best thing to do is first disassociate yourself from this person. Remove yourself from their life so you don’t have to listen to their verbal diarrhea. If it’s not possible to remove them entirely from your social life than try to minimize talking to them.
There you have a folks, a few ways to help boost your self-esteem! It’s Thanksgiving holiday here in Canada. To my fellow Canadians, enjoy your day off celebrating with your families! To the rest of my readers around the world, have a great day!
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