In my few years of experience in speaking and teaching on the subject of personal development, I have come across quite a large number of people struggling with low self esteem.
Though, I have had more contacts with youths and teenagers, I often get shocked with few cases of adults who have negative perception about their personality. With those adults, most of the times, they do not look like it. They have an outward appearance that seems perfect but in a short 5 minutes conversation, a lot of information unfolds.
Sometime last month, I had a free masterclass on WhatsApp about "how to discover your unique voice" with 11 participants. I introduced the class with a personality test. With the results I got, I had to deal with the issue of self esteem with some of them.
I have been nursing the idea to write a guide to help more people but I have been doing that on a slow pace. Until I received another message from a Facebook contact recently.
I have now taken the bull by the horn to do this post.
I am not a trained psychologist or anything similar to that but I took a few psychology courses back in college. However, I can share some tips from my experiences with inferiority complex and how I overcame that wrong perception challenge.
Experience is the best teacher so my reach out strategy is by using my experience as a leveling ground for you. I am particular about your self esteem because of its sacrosanct role for effective self leadership. If you have a positive perception of yourself, it opens the door to self mastery.
Abraham Maslow's popular hierarchy of needs as shown below tells the level at which every human needs Esteem.
Yes! Having a low self Esteem can be associated with some emotional and mental conditioning due to some wrong environmental stimulus.
The emphasis still remains that you are designed to lead your life. Hence, you have the power of choice to decide to free yourself from those experiences that cause you to look down on yourself.
What does Self Esteem mean?Wikipedia puts it this way:
In sociology and psychology, self-esteem reflects a person's overall subjective emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.Your self esteem can be seen in terms of the belief system about yourself and even your emotions. It's at the centre of your mental and emotional intelligence.
Self-esteem is the concept that we have of our worth and it is based on our thoughts, feelings, sensations and experiences that we have been collecting throughout live; we believe that we are clever or silly, people like us or not. The thousands of impressions, evaluations and experiences are all reunited into a positive feeling towards ourselves or on the contrary, in an uncomfortable feeling of not being what we expected to be.(Source)
The common "expressions" (I call it that) you are familiar with are low and high self esteem. There are many categories and levels from different experts and scholars but I would focus on the few I can handle in this post. You can read more about types of self esteem on Wikipedia.
Expressions of Self Esteem
Easycourseportal categorized self esteem into three levels.
- High self-esteem (Normal)
- Low self-esteem
- Inflated self-esteem
Jeff Thomas explained that self esteem can be categorized into four parts.
- Low Self Esteem
- High Self Esteem
- Worthiness Based Self Esteem
- Competence Based Self Esteem
As a person of high self-esteem (Normal), you love and value who you are, irrespective of people's approval or praises. You do not seek people's approval to validate your worth. Your sense of security and success lies in your identity.
As an individual with an inflated self-esteem, you seem to love yourself more than others as well as exaggerate your qualities. This is also known as narcissm.
As a competence based self esteem person. you measure how you feel about yourself by achievements and successes. Your source of confidence lies in your success rate.
Low self esteem is an expression from the thoughts and feeling inadequacy. You always think less and act less of yourself. You may express this trait by never participating in group activities, depression or even fear of speaking to other people.
Some Statistics About Low Self Esteem & Effects
- A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight, than how much she actually weighs.
- 92% of teen girls would like to change something about the way they look, with body weight ranking the highest. (Dove campaign)
- 85% of the world's population are affected by low self esteem. Source: The self esteem book, Dr Joe Rubino.
- Low self-esteem is the universal common denominator among literally all people suffering from addictions to any and all mind altering substances such as alcohol, not genes.
- Sheriff Block of Los Angeles County stated, "Children join gangs to fulfill the need to belong and the need to feel important. They want to be somebody rather than be a nobody. We must focus on enhancing the self-worth and self esteem of young people so that they do not seek out and need the gang to satisfy these most basic human needs."
Psychology of Low Self Esteem
"Low self-esteem is actually a thinking disorder in which an individual views himself as inadequate, unworthy, unlovable, and/or incompetent. Once formed, this negative view of self permeates every thought, producing faulty assumptions and ongoing self-defeating behavior." (source)
It's an expression of a flawed mental representation of yourself. It has a strong root in an incorrect paradigm. I found out that some of the persons I related to who always seek people's approval and often compare themselves with others were always being scolded during their childhood because another kid performed better in an event.
I had some who were shy and were scared of participating or showing others what they could do. Majority of these persons were talented singer, actors, poet, etc.
They had a problem. I discovered their parents/guardian/teachers always raise their voice to scold them with harsh words. "You are good for nothing.", "What can you do rightly?" , "Fool", " Imbecile", "You are too sluggish." were some of the words they constantly absorbed into their subconscious.
*Note, I had to translate the original Yoruba words to English. There have been a lot of jokes about Yoruba's and their soul piercing insults. They usually sound more mean and cruel than the English translation.*
My aim here is not to blame people for your self esteem but to identify various sources of this psychological scripting. They are like programmings you absorbed without conscious awareness. You just unconsciously exhibit those traits.
Jeff Thomas in his words said:
Often we are unaware of which side we sway towards for our self esteem. That’s because it has been programmed into us since birth according to the collective values of our family, friends, and society. When we get older it feels completely normal to value either competence or worthiness according to that upbringing.
In simple words, the psychology behind having a low self esteem personality is that you have picked up beliefs from your environment and experiences at various stages in life, of which majority were unconscious effort. Therefore, if you picked them up, you can clone the same process to drop them and pick up a better one.
If you are raising children, I strongly recommend you take time to learn how to help your children develop a high self esteem.
You can download a PDF format of this post right on your device. Download the self esteem ebook.
How to Move out from the Low Self Esteem ZoneMy aim is to share with you how to move out from the self esteem based on timeless principles. The right path to take is not anchored on any external influence. It is generated from your inner man (Conscience).
If your self esteem is worthiness based, you can be depressed when your friends criticize your work.
If your self esteem is competence based, you can go hard on yourself when you make mistakes which are inevitable.
#1. Live from Inside-Out
Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it. - Proverbs 4:23 (NIV)
Whenever I get the chance to teach this principle, the above quote has been my anchor scripture. This text establishes the fact that all that we produce and experience on the outside has its source from the heart. Life starts from there.
Whatever perception you have about yourself is deeply rooted inside you. In other words, you are the one holding back your self.
You are the only one stopping yourself from fully expressing your emotional and mental intelligence. I do not intend to make you feel bad but to empower you with the knowledge that can intentionally handle the situation.
Living inside-out tells you a timeless truth. Every public victory is preceded by a private victory. If you win on the outside, it was because you had won in your heart.
95% of your brain activity is beyond your conscious awareness. The unconscious mind is always on auto pilot. If that's the case, then the automated system should be wired to produce positive well springs.
I was speaking to a lady and I realised she was very shy. She never looks straight up during a conversation and barely gives any contribution during a public discussion.
I asked her why, she said "I don't know."
I said "That's not true. I guess you do know how to express it. Do you feel like what your contributions won't make any difference? Do you always think about what the other party would feel about words? Are you scared of not making a good impression?"
She answered "yes" to all my questions. All that I asked her most times never happen but the fear of them happening are so real in her subconscious that she never attempts to express her thoughts in public.
I spent a couple of time with her and she became more comfortable. I soon realized how intelligent and precise she was with words.
Many persons are also like this. They live in their head.
However, one way to master the principle of living inside-out is to always impress the right images in your heart. Why? That's where life starts.
So I recommended her to daily confess some scriptures. Affirmations have a life force behind it once it's spoken. The key is to be consistent. You have carried off those scripting for years, it would take more than just a few days to have a mindset makeover.
Always remember that you are what you think. So you would have to consciously implant the right thoughts to produce the desired life style.
Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable--if anything is excellent or praiseworthy--think about such things. -Phillipians 4:8 (NIV)
The transformation would be effective on the account of a constant renewing of your mind. Tell yourself beautiful things and mean it.
#2. Take ownership of your lifeYou are a product of your decisions. Since you are a product of your decisions, then you must pay attention to what produces this decisions. You should not just fold your arms and keep telling everyone that you are shy or can't face the crowd.
One great gift God gave everyone is the power of choice. You may not be able to determine what challenges or problems you will face in life but you can fully determine the outcome.
Wherever you are now is a function of the choices you have made. Do not let circumstances push you around. If you are still struggling with this aspect of your life, it may be because you have not really decided to make a change.
Do you know how many things you have deprived yourself? Do you remember those many great things you did only in your imagination? They never materialize.
Remember that you can determine your reality by the choices you make.
If you would still need my help, I will be glad. Please contact me so we can schedule a call.
I also recommend that you think the personality test on Lanre Olusola's website, you would get a lot more to help you.
You can download a PDF format of this post right on your device. Download the self esteem ebook.