"You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection."...Buddha

Women have had several sources of input for learning to have lowered self-esteem. They have learned since they were about age 35-40 that they were pretty much invisible in this society. Watch the eyes gaze over you, blink, and keep right on moving elsewhere.

You may have worked, or still be working, for someone who is highly critical, demean-ing, impossible to please, with ridiculous expectations, and insults you. That takes it toll on you self-esteem even if you tell yourself you leave it all at work.

Living with teenagers, and sometimes grown children, is a surefire way to see yourself as a hideous monster who shouldn't be allowed out in public. Listen to them long enough, and you will doubt every positive quality, skill and talent you ever had.

You may have had a very successful career doing something you were extremely good at. Now for whatever reason you are unemployed. The image of that skilled, capable professional seems like it was someone else in another lifetime. You spend your days in your robe, and go out only for groceries. You don't feel good about yourself anymore.

Or you may have spent too many years with a verbally abusive partner who had nothing to tell you constantly what was wrong with you. You can't live day in and day out listening to that litany of shame without it affecting you.
Signs of Low Self-Esteem

People with low self-esteem practice a larger than normal amount of negative self talk such as "Why would that person want to go out to dinner with me?" "She said I looked nice, but I don't think she meant it."

People with low self-esteem may act destructively towards themselves and others. They tend to sabotage themselves with negative behaviors. They are often overly criti-cal, not only of themselves, but also of others.

They frequently apologize, say "I'm sorry" a lot, and exhibit other self-doubting beha-viors.

They need constant feedback from outside sources to believe they can do something, or are good enough for something.

They are unable to accept compliments.

They focus on their perceived flaws.

They become so much of a perfectionist that basic tasks don't get finished due to their fear of failure.

Do we recognize ourselves in any of these descriptions? Don't be ashamed. Many people suffer from periodic bouts of low self-esteem. The important thing is that we make a decision to do something about it.

Here's the real scoop: If you knew who you really were, you'd be starstruck. It is, however, more difficult to achieve self-love than to love another. It takes some effort. If you are willing to do the work and to commit yourself to the goal of learning to feel good about yourself, you can do it. Spend the second half of your journey as a woman who not only knows who she is, and loves everything about herself.

Ways to Improve Self-Esteem

The first step is to become aware of our inner critic and our negative self talk. Many of us have been running a negative commentary in our minds since childhood; e.g. "You can't do anything right," "You're not going to be able to do it right, so just don't try." We have become unaware of how much it affects us, and how often we do it.

Here are some strategies to help us become aware of our internal dialogue and its con-tent:

A. Stop the stream by saying "Stop." Saying it aloud makes it more powerful. It makes us aware of how often we have to do this.

B. A good behavior modification trick is to walk around with a rubber band on our wrist. As we notice the negative self talk, pull the band away from the skin and snap it back. It will cause a little pain and this will be a negative consequence. This will make us aware of our negative thoughts and our attempts to stop them.

C. Use milder words in our self talk. Avoid words like "hate" and "angry." Substitute more neutral words like "don't like," and "annoy."

D. Change negative to neutral or positive. When we catch ourselves mentally com-plaining about something, stop and question our assumptions. Are we sure its really a negative event? For example, our doctor called and cancelled our appointment, but now we have free time to go out to lunch with a friend. We ask ourselves the next time we are focusing on an apparently negative event, if it really is negative or if we can find a positive replacement for it.

E. Change self-limiting statements to questions. Self-limiting statements like "I can't handle this!" or "This is impossible!" are very damaging because they increase our stress and they stop us from looking for answers. Next time this happens, try to turn it into a question instead. "How can I handle this?" or "How is this possible?" sound more hopeful and open up our minds to new possibilities.

More Strategies to Increase Self-Esteem
1. Eradicate limiting beliefs. Never say "I can't." Don't think or say that things are
impossible. You can accomplish your goals without more time, money, knowledge or support. You can accomplish anything if you believe in yourself.

2. Don't worry about what other people think or what they might say. "Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind."--Dr. Suess

3. Don't compare. You will never be perfect and neither will anyone else. Never judge anyone by their outsides. You would be amazed at the frightened children hiding be-hind those well put together women you see in public, perfectly dressed and accesso-rized with every hair in place.

4. Avoid people who pull you down. You don't need more negative people in your life.

5. Confront your fears. Running from them just prolongs their existence. Muster your inner strength and courage and meet them as they pop up. You are braver than you think you are.

6. Failures do not make you a failure. Everyone suffers failures in this life. They are experiences along the road to success. Get up and get back on that horse and try again.

7. Fake it until you make it. Treat yourself and act as if you were a person who ge-nuinely loved herself and had excellent self-esteem. Spend your time the way you want to spend it. Don't let obligations you don't want drown you. Say no sometimes, re-membering that you are doing it for someone you love. Don't allow anyone to mistreat you or disrespect you, not even your grown children. You deserve only love and re-spect.

8. Master your thoughts. Stop the negative thoughts in their tracks. They are an old habit you have outgrown. Self-esteem is made manifest in our emotions, verbal and non-verbal communications and physical appearance. It is, however, initiated in our minds. We must work at controlling our thoughts.

9. Develop a positive attitude and positive self-talk. Think with confidence, talk confi-dently, and act confidently.

10. Repetition brings power. You will need to persevere in these new habits and atti-tudes. Worthwhile things don't happen overnight. Keep at it and don't let up. It will happen.

Here are some self-esteem affirmations to repeat several times every day. Put them on Post-it Notes and place them where you will see them and be reminded to say them.


I feel warm and loving toward myself, for I am a unique and precious being, ever doing the best my awareness permits, ever growing in wisdom and love.

I am a valuable and important person, and I’m worthy of the respect of oth-ers.

I am actively in charge of my life and direct it in constructive channels. My primary responsibility is for my own growth and well-being (the better I feel about myself, the more willing and able I am to help others.)

I count my blessings and rejoice in my growing awareness.


Author's Bio: 

“My aim is to inspire you to overcome life’s challenges and move forward with strength and renewed vigour”.As a licensed master practitioner of Neuro Linguistic Programming (NLP), Emotional Therapy Technique (EFT) and Timeline Therapy, I help people rid themselves of the negativity, lack of confidence or counterproductive patterns that in many cases have been accumulating for years and act as barriers to both personal development and fulfilment.