It doesn’t matter how much success you have enjoyed in the past. There are times when you’re stuck and feel utterly worthless. Doubts will creep into your mind and cripple your thoughts each time you wanted to start getting back up. When your self-esteem is at all time low, it will be hard to pull yourself up and get motivated.
You may experience these periods of low self-esteem once in a while. Or it can be an ongoing episode in your life if you’re suffering from social anxiety disorder. I knew from experience that words like “be confident” doesn’t really work. If anything, such words of encouragement given at the wrong time only made matter worse.
Ultimately, it is up to us to halt the decline of our self-esteem. From my 15 years of struggle with social anxiety, I’ve identified the destructive pattern of my daily habits that never fail to harm my confidence and self-esteem. Here are five of the worst.
When you are constantly being compared with others as a child, you can’t help but do so in your adulthood. Do you feel that you’re not doing well in life, because you made less money than your friends, or are single when most of them are in a relationship? Do you feel like a failure because you don’t have a million dollar in your bank and your friends are showing off in their Porsche?
Comparing yourself with others is a sure path of destruction and guaranteed to suck all the happiness away from your life. It’s a nasty habit that may have planted itself in your subconscious mind. The next time you started to think that others are faring better than you, be mindful and reframe your thoughts that life is not about competing with others, but being grateful for what you have.
Have you ever said “yes” half-heartedly to a favor just because you don’t want to disappoint a friend? Or agree to unreasonable job assignments because you’re afraid to offend your superior? Well, I’ve had my fair share of unable to making a stand for myself and I absolutely hated the feeling of lacking it gave me.
When you agree for the sake of agreeing, you are telling yourself that your thoughts and opinions do not matter. When you do that continuously, you start to believe that you are not important. Of course, that’s not true at all. If you’ve been a reluctant people pleaser, it’s now time to learn to say “no” in a respectful manner. You’ll be amazed of the confidence resulting from that.
It’s true that constructive criticism is better than flattering praise when you’re trying to improve or grow. But too much of unforgiving criticism can often push you many steps back especially when confidence and self-esteem are concerned.
I was a perfectionist and the harshest critics of myself for many years until I realize that doing so only decrease my courage from breaking out of my comfort zone.I’m not saying that you shouldn’t criticize yourself, but to balance it with some well deserved praise and encouragement. Try celebrating small success and you’ll notice the shift in your energy.
There is a huge difference between being humble and refusing to recognize your strength outright. It’s alright not to brag about your skills, but when you refuse to acknowledge that you’re exceptional in certain skills, you’re denying yourself a chance to grow. Doing this consistently will cause your self-esteem to shrink.
Instead of brushing off genuine praises, respectfully acknowledge and thank the people who made encouraging comments about you. I used to play down my own strength, but doing so only cast more doubt on my own ability. In short, I’m now being realistic of my strengths and weaknesses.
I think we are all guilty of procrastination to a certain extent. Putting off what you said you will do today to tomorrow does far more damage than piling up your to-do list. Subconsciously, you are breaking a promise to yourself. And when you start doing that consistently, you stop believing in your own words.
Procrastination often leads to a feeling of worthlessness when you start offering excuses instead of taking full responsibility. One tip that I do to beat procrastination is to force myself to accomplish a simple task in the morning. It could be as simple as making my own breakfast or doing the laundry. The sense of accomplishment will give you the momentum to tackle bigger tasks.
Stopping the downward spiral of your self-esteem can be very tough. It’s one thing reading what you should do and actually put things into practice. That’s how unmotivated we can be when we lack the belief in doing anything.
If you’ve been committing any of the habits above, you can start by changing one of them. It’s important to keep your focus and be aware when these old habits crept out. You’ll need great patience as it takes a few weeks to get rid of old habits.
It’s normal if you feel like it’s impossible to regain your self-esteem and confidence because that’s how you’re supposed to feel when you lack self-belief. The trick is to be counter-intuitive and stop listening to your thoughts and start taking progressive action. You can start by writing a list of habits that you’ll want to get rid of.
At the same time, you can start improving your self-esteem by working on yourself physically, mentally and spiritually. That includes working out, understanding your emotion and clearing your past beliefs. You can read more about it here.
Are you suffering from low self-esteem? What have you done to improve your self-esteem? Share your thoughts in the comment below.
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I am an engineer-turned-writer who once struggle with social anxiety. After overcoming problems inflicted by low self-esteem and the fear of interaction, I realize the need for taking a holistic approach in developing our mind. I'm sharing my experience, remedies, and techniques that interest me in my quest to be a better self.
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