Boost Self Esteem

in 3 not so easy but quite achievable steps

boost self esteem, self esteem

Do you ever wish you had a handy button you could press labelled boost self esteem?

I know I did. I used to think such little of myself that I was constantly down, moody, depressed and miserable. I didn’t think I deserved success, and indeed when success did fall in my lap, I pushed it away, subconsciously convinced that fate had made a horrible mistake.

I was an absolute nightmare to my friends, and a horror-show to my woman, because when you have low self esteem, you’re just not that much fun to be around. I was jealous and insecure and needy and lots of other not-too-desirable traits.

In short, I was my own worst enemy. I realised I needed to find out how to boost self esteem to be as happy and rich and content as all the dudes who had already taken measures to boost self esteem themselves.

Well, er... it worked. I now feel awesome about life and my place in it. After analysing exactly how I did it, I think you shall be pleasantly thrilled to know that (like most success in life) it’s actually replicable. Foolishly easy to replicate, in fact.

That doesn’t mean it’s instant. Boosting self esteem is the same as boosting the size of your muscles. If you spend a little while in the gym lifting weights in a relatively worthwhile manner, you’ll get bigger. Likewise, if you spend a little while focussing on boosting your self esteem, it will get bigger.

If you spend 30 minutes in the gym and expect to emerge as the chiselled and attractive unholy love-child of Arnie (any era) and Sylvester Stallone (Rocky & Demolition Man era), you are deluded. If you read this article and expect to emerge with the confidence of Donald Trump to go out and create a billion dollars, or the assurance of that Neil Straus fella to go and pick up the hottest chick in the bar (or dude, ladies), you’re equally deluded.

Treat self esteem as a muscle – a bicep will do. Boost self esteem bit by bit – and continue to build it. Lift mental weights. Do high repetitions. Push yourself to do more. (I’m running out of body building analogies now, I only have small muscles).

I make efforts to boost self esteem every day. The good news is, if you stick with it, high self esteem brings all manner of rewards. This is how to do it.

Boost Self Esteem Step 1:
Learn to Tolerate Yourself

Right, to boost self esteem I'm taking your starting point as follows: you are currently your own worst enemy. Now, I don’t necessarily know you personally, but this is where I was, so it makes sense to start from here.

If you’re a bit further on than this, awesome. Feel free to skim read or jump on a section.

If you’re not, fear not my self-loathing chum, because you are about to boost self esteem.

Symptoms of this stage include: thinking the worst of everything and everyone; being miserable a good chunk of the time; feeling life owes you something (but not bothering to do anything to get it), moaning lots, and – most importantly – feeling utterly undeserving of success.

The first quantum leap you need to make to boost self esteem is to learn to tolerate yourself. To do this, you need to take a long hard look at yourself (in front of a mirror always works disproportionately well), and simply decide that from now on you will tolerate yourself.

This is a nice gentle step really. You’re not going from being miserable to suddenly thinking you are God’s greatest gift to the universe. All you’re doing is bridging the way for acceptance. Think of it as saying to yourself “ah, alright, you’re a bit of an arsehole, but you’re an alright arsehole, and I could be a lot worse” (if you must – you can be a bit nicer if you like!)

Simply deciding to tolerate yourself isn’t enough, however. It’s just your starting point. You have to give your new slightly improved self esteem something to work with too.

Here’s what worked for me:

1) Read uplifting texts. Lots of them! If you fill your head with positivity every day, slowly and surely you start to believe that you’re actually an alright person. Personal Development Planet is full of articles to help you boost self esteem, as is Steve Pavlina's blog, and books like Change Your Life in 7 Days and Psycho Cybernetics. (Yep – that’s one sacrifice you have to make – reading books with uber-grand and uber-ridiculous titles).

After a short while, you’ll communicate a strong message to your subconscious that the type of self esteem you want is possible, and by reading these texts you’ll generate strong positive emotions, which quickens the changes.

2) Focus on what’s good in your life. Now, this was particularly challenging for a miserable sod like me. My immediate instinct was “nothing’s good!” Naturally, this is bollocks. Do you have a good friend(s)? A good parent? Do you eat good food every night? You got a roof over your head? More than one pair of jeans and pants? Well, there’s good in your life.

Spend 5 minutes a day with your eyes shut and be grateful for what you have. Try to generate strong positive emotions when you do it. Signal to your subconscious that actually, life ain’t that bad after all. Also bear in mind that like attracts alike!

3) Allow your inner critic. Your inner critic is that bastard nagging voice in your head that tells you you’re doing stuff wrong, you made a mistake, you can’t do this, you failed before... blah blah blah blah blah. Normally, we spend half our time fighting this voice (“you’re useless” – “no I’m not “ – “yes you are” – “ah, crap”) which is the utterly wrong approach.

Try this: allow your inner critic to say whatever he likes. Then, simply identify this voice as your inner critic – and watch what he says with all the bemused detachment you can muster. Make him your friend – bit by bit. Realise it’s just an unconscious part of you; it’s not the real you. This takes a bit of work but is massively transformative. Let him say what he wants and still smile. He’ll begin to shut up after a while. And even when it doesn’t, you can choose to ignore it.

4) Ignore Criticism (for a while). Finally, learn to ignore / disregard the negative shit that people throw at you. My guess is normally you’d take every little slight as a huge personal insult. Forget this! It gets you nowhere.

Spend a week or two firmly scrunching shut your eyes and sticking your fingers in your ear. Refuse to even entertain people’s negativity – just for a little while. This is not a long term strategy, but it will definitely help you get to the next step and boost self esteem a little bit more...

Boost Self Esteem Step 2:
Learn to Like Yourself

Right, if you’re at this stage, you’re over the hump. Congratulations! The way you used to feel about yourself seems silly, abstract – and almost as if it was someone else entirely.

This is the part where you get to boost self esteem quickly and more naturally. Honestly, the first steps are always the most challenging, and now it begins to get fun.

This is the point where you are your own biggest neutral. Now, that’s a lot better than being your own biggest enemy, isn’t it? But still not as good as it can be.

Symptoms of this stage include: a quiet voice at the back of your head saying “maybe I could be a success, after all”; a sense that maybe you was wrong before; your brain starting to look for opportunities; setting goals that will stretch you and thinking you might be able to get them; but overall thoughts of winning are overshadowed by lingering doubts and dissatisfaction.

The next quantum leap to boost self esteem is to begin to have a little fun. You’ll be pleased to know that in this next stage we’ll start to flood your life with a little well-deserved hedonism. Not necessarily the popping pills in Ibiza ‘til 7am kind of hedonism, but hedonism nonetheless.

This step looks easy from the outside, but you probably know that it isn’t necessarily. Going from disliking yourself to treating yourself takes a fair bit of inner work... and action. If you struggle, think of this stage as being “ah, sod it, I only live once, so I may as well have a bit of fun”. This little distinction alone can help you boost self esteem significantly.

This is how I learned to like myself:

1) Praise yourself. Ahhhhhh! This was the hardest bloody thing for me to do. After all, I was the Pulitzer winning journalist of propaganda designed to undermine my sense of self belief. If anyone could find a reason why my success was lucky, undeserved, or wholly inappropriate, it was me. However – I made a conscious choice to praise myself, and as uncomfortable as it was to begin with, it began to get easy rather quickly.

Here’s how to do it: if you do something right at work, in your private life, anywhere - take a moment and say well done. Mean it! Generate feelings of pride and satisfaction (this may take a bit of work). Praise yourself as if you are praising a 6 month old baby who just figured out the theory of relativity. Go overboard – but sod it, feel good about your achievements, big or small.

2) Reward yourself. This is a bit easier. Set up a “treats” system. I used a three tier system which worked wonderfully. Basically, if I did something small that took me closer to my goals, I’d treat myself to a midweek treat at the cinema or a restaurant. If I did something slighter better, I’d book a night in a hotel with my woman, or arrange to go away somewhere, or buy myself a computer game or gadget. Finally, if I reached a BIG goal, I’d go on holiday, or buy myself a big treat.

Now, I’m not advocating a materialistic life here, all I’m suggesting is when you begin to treat yourself nicely, and get yourself things / experiences that you desire, life becomes much more fun and you are much more likely to keep doing the stuff that makes you feel good. It’s a virtuous circle...Try it and see.

3) Save & Invest 10%. Finally, at this stage I began to ask myself “why do I work 40+ hours a week to end up with nothing at the end of it?” This is the voice of reason and boosted self esteem stepping in! It’s imperative that you build up a bit of capital – not just for your self esteem, but for emergencies and rainy days too.

I began to put 10% of my pre-tax earnings into a savings account on the day I got paid. Not only is this sensible, but it signifies to your subconscious that you are somebody who is achieving something with their lives! As soon as you build up a reservoir of cash, you can take more risks, take less shit from your boss, and start to boost self esteem considerably...

Boost Self Esteem Step 3:
Learn to Love Yourself

When you’ve made it to this stage, you genuinely like yourself... good news! It’s good to feel a little bit fond about who you are and your place in the world. You’ll notice that you begin to attract cool people, new circumstances and happy experiences into your life too, reflecting your new-found sense of esteem. In fact, you’ll begin to question your sanity and wonder where they were hiding before.

At this point you are turning into your own best mini PR brigade. When you like yourself, you tell people what you do, what your goals are, what you want to achieve in life, and you become an evangelist who helps other less conscious people by boosting their self esteem too. It’s funny that by working on seemingly hedonistic and personal goals, you end up really aiding others... The ultimate win / win, in my eyes.

Symptoms of this stage include: a new sense of confidence and self belief; a hunger to achieve your goals and a belief that you will reach them; ambition; philanthropic aims; ideas about your dream career; stronger friendships and more success in relationships; more money, less problems (sorry Biggie); less adverse reactions to problems and setbacks.

Whilst this is a great place to be, the final quantum leap is to learn to love yourself. Ahh – it’s all sounds a bit horrific and over-the-top, but it’s true my friend. When you love yourself, you love (nearly!) everyone, and the world becomes a big colourful friendly playground. It’s a bloody awesome place to be.

Here’s how to do it:

1) Take Risks. This is the point where you start asking “if I did what I really want to do and it didn’t work out, what’s the worst that could happen? Ah, sod it, I’ll give it a go”.

Taking risks takes courage, guts, balls and a little bit of a suspension of “reality”, but when you are so confident with yourself, you just do it. You take risks. You grow as a person... and, guess what? You boost self esteem just by taking the proverbial walk off a cliff. Even if you fail, you dust yourself off and go again.

2) Be willing to fail. An extension of the last point, but at this stage you’ve boosted your self esteem so much that you really don’t care much if you do fail. Paradoxically, when you reach this point, you can’t possibly fail.

3) Put yourself out there. There’s nothing wrong with a bit of shameless self-promotion - if you judge that people would want to hear it. If somebody mentions that they don’t believe in themselves, for example, I send them to my website, or recommend a good book.

At this stage, you’ll connect with all manner of cool people who a) you can help, or b) can help you. When you’re this confident, and you’ve engaged in enough self esteem boosting to really not concern yourself too much with the opinion of others who try to pull you back, you’ll encounter a brave new world - where synchronicities connect you with the right people at the right time, to help you achieve your goals. Kind of crazy, but awesome fun.

4) Welcome criticism. Well, I’ve saved the hardest until last. When you get to the point of loving yourself (or, if that’s still too much, really really liking and respecting yourself) you can actually welcome criticism.

The funny thing is, criticism can sometimes really help, but normally we’re too insecure to take it on board. Other people can often have a strong insight into where we’re going wrong, and the more you have boosted self esteem, the more you can open yourself to receiving the wisdom of others. Just remember to follow your gut instinct, because a lot of what other people tell you is pretty standard bollocks.

Well, that’s it for my journey from low self esteem to high self esteem. When I decided to boost self esteem myself, I never had any clue how dramatic the results would be. To put this in context, it took me about 15 months to get from Stage 1 to Stage 3 (although I didn’t have this handy guide for help).

If you’re serious about creating a life of your choosing – on your own terms – use this guide as a blueprint and you’ll get there in no time at all. Stay focussed, be nice to yourself, and be happy with what you’ve got – and you’ll boost self esteem irreversibly.

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