Increase your self-esteem

Your self-esteem is the emotional perception you have of yourself. It’s like looking into a mirror in which you see your own personality.

Good self-esteem makes it easier for us to approach other people, encourages positive feedback from our surroundings, and strengthens our sense of belonging. No matter what profession you’re in, your self-esteem determines the level of happiness and success you’ll experience in your everyday work. To put it another way: only when we trust in who we are and what we can do can we accept challenges in our lives and grow through them. 

Self-esteem is made up of self-confidence and self-respect. In psychology, these skills are seen as the bread and butter to get you through your everyday life and everyday work. You can strengthen both of them with targeted action:

The importance of self-confidence

Self-confidence describes our trust in the functional capabilities of our own understanding, our own abilities to think, understand, learn new skills, make choices, and come to our own decisions. It gives us the trust we need to take our lives into our own hands and create them actively, instead of just being at the mercy of our circumstances. It forms the foundation we need to stay open to new experiences in spite of challenges, mistakes, or risks.

How to build your self-confidence

Take a lesson from top athletes, and build your own mental gym inside your mind. Take five minutes and create a list of your strengths, such as:

  • I am good at convincing others of my ideas.
  • I speak French well.
  • I’m valued by my colleagues.
  • I’m able to complete complex projects.

You shouldn’t hide your light under a bushel when you’re putting together your list. If you’re unsure, ask friends and colleagues what you do well. 

Add the following positive affirmations to your list (affirming statements):

  • I trust in my skills.
  • I can rely on my understanding and my intuition.
  • I can actively shape situations through my interactions with my boss.
  • I have complete trust in myself.

Write all your sentences on Post-it notes and stick them somewhere where you will see them every day. Stand in front of them in the morning and in the evening, and hold a conversation with yourself either out loud or silently, repeating these sentences.

The importance of self-respect

Self-respect means recognizing your own value as a person. A person who respects himself knows he has the right to express his desires, needs, and thoughts. He’s able to assert himself in a constructive manner.

Most people are satisfied with themselves on a general level. But when something is especially important to you and/or increases your stress level, you might start to hear a voice in your head. This voice is also known as your inner critic. Its words are harsh, hurtful, critical, and humiliating. The critic tries to tell you that something’s wrong, and that you’re not good enough. Do you recognize any of the following sentences?

  • You’ll never make it!
  • How could you be so dumb?!
  • You can’t do it!

You can imagine your critic like a devil on your left shoulder, hitting you on the head with his pitchfork.

How to build your self-respect

You can’t block out your own thoughts. You can, however, guide them in the direction you want them to go. Consciously say stop anytime a destructive thought pops up. The devil might still be trying to hop up on your shoulder, but you alone decide how long he’s allowed to sit there. 

At the same time, strengthen your constructive thinking. Go back to your mental gym, and train using the following thought program:

  • I respect myself.
  • I’m allowed to express my thoughts, desires, and needs. 
  • I like myself, including all the different facets and sides of my personality.

To support yourself, you can imagine an angel on your right shoulder, backing you up with these or other positive statements.

Don’t misunderstand me! I don’t want you to use this exercise to get stuck in a thought pattern, circling around and thinking “This is just how I am!” Healthy self-esteem should allow you to work on yourself and take on challenges, deal with your insecurities, or become more confident in handling your boss or supervisors. Some time ago, I got a card that said: What lies behind us and what lies before us is nothing in comparison to what lies within us. I think it’s a lovely saying. Discover what lies within you. I’m happy to support you any way I can in all your plans!