Last post we ended with an assignment. Plan your exercise routine. Have you done it? Emphasizing the importance of it. Getting your energy up with physical fitness is the easiest way to feel good about yourself. If you have not done it yet, I strongly encourage you to plan and follow your routine. This is the first step to build your self esteem.
Now let’s move on.
How does one become low self esteem? What causes low self esteem? As a young toddler, you definitely do not lack self esteem. You cried when you were hungry, angry, in pain etc. You laughed when you encountered funny cartoons or activities. You were expressive, you experienced new things, you were adventurous.
And then what happened? What has changed?
Low self esteem usually comes from our childhood experience or environment. These experiences form a belief about ourselves. What you saw in school, family, home, surrounding, media, had an influence on your beliefs.
Some examples that can cause low self esteem.
- Punishment in school without proper closure
- Failure to meet parents’ standard
- Failure to meet teachers’ standard
- Being accused of something that you didn’t do
- Lack of love at home
- Being abused
- Being bullied in school/community
- Being ostracized in school
- Being told to shut up
- Not being listen to
- Being compared to
- Excessive criticism
All the above-mentioned can have an effect on your self esteem. Have you experience some of them?
Low self esteem is formed when these events occurred over and over again. These events got stacked up on top of one another, suppressing your true self to shine. Eventually you will reach a point when you no longer believe you are good enough.
I was caned in front of the class in school. But that effect from one caning didn’t really matter. But when other experiences start to stack up, that really drilled into the belief about myself.
Beside caning, I was always being compared to my smarter cousin. She was the top student in the whole school. I was the bottom few in school. Due to the comparison, I formed a limiting belief about myself. My self esteem went lower and lower.
Having said that I don’t mean that low self esteem doesn’t come from adults experience. A rejection from an opposite sex can hammer a nail to your self esteem. Business or career failure can cause low self esteem too.
I’ve seen a millionaire’s self esteem crashed to the bottom after a business failure. It got so bad that he didn’t dare to make any decision. After realizing the horrendous effect of having low self esteem, he approached me for support.
One technique to raise self esteem is to bombard ourselves with positive affirmation. But research has shown that this doesn’t work. The positive affirmation actually worsen the situation of those who have low self esteem. This method of “brainwashing” people to feel better about themselves is too superficial, and the person with low self esteem senses this.
If forced affirmation doesn’t work, what will work?
Real activities, doing-ness and tasks work. For a low self esteem person, he must feel that there is an actual accomplishment, in order for him to start building his self esteem.
This leads us to the exercise for this part. This is a 2-step simple writing exercise.
Step one: Write down all the small little tasks/activities you have completed in the past one month. Every single small task that you can recall, write it down. Some examples could be:
- Waking earlier than usual
- Going for a jog
- Arrange the cupboard
- Having meals with love ones
- Read 10 pages of a book
List down as many as you can.
Step two: Look at your list. Look at what you have achieved over the month. While you accomplished these little tasks, there were others who didn’t. Close your eyes for three minutes. Feel the little achievements. You are actually better than some people in those areas. Feel that you are unique.
I would e ncourage you to do this 2-Step exercise. Every little exercise helps to build your self esteem. A strong building is built with one brick at a time. Bit by bit, step by step.