Your self-esteem determines whether you will be a success and feel happy, or not. 

Why?

Because your self esteem affects how you judge your appearance, accomplishments, skills, and talents. And that affects all your actions. 

The level of your self-esteem is a major component of your self-image. It is how you feel about yourself and your life. It includes how worthy and deserving you think you are. It further includes how you evaluate your life. Even if you experience low self esteem, you can rapidly make improvements though…

How you feel about yourself each day can fluctuate…

For instance…

You can feel up or down depending on how your job is going and how well you’re getting along with your boss…
You can feel good or bad about yourself depending on how your friends treat you…
You can feel happy and secure, or discouraged and worried depending on the ups and downs of your primary relationship…

How you feel about yourself is reflected in your demeanor and the way you interact with people. 

Sources of Low Self-Esteem

There were no doubt times when you felt bad about yourself. Many things can cause this. One of the most common reasons for low self esteem results from suffering heartbreak over personal loss or a relationship ending. It can make you think you are not lovable, or worthy of love, or there is something wrong with you. 

If you are heavily invested in your career, a demotion or lay off can be a hard hit on your self esteem.  

Teenagers who don’t make the team or squad after hours of time and practice…can be devastated.

Does your self esteem come from inside or outside of you?

That is a critical question to answer because good or bad self-esteem has a lot to do with whether you are internally or externally directed. Most people are externally directed to a large degree. 

To be externally directed means that circumstances dictate how you feel about yourself. To be internally directed means you decide how you feel about yourself.

For instance, what people say to you, or how they treat you can be wonderful if it’s flattery, or it can ruin your day if it’s critical. 

So, what should you do?

First of all, recognize there’s an inner dialog processing your opinions about yourself.

Your mind analyzes what people say to you and how you’re treated. If you’re like most people, you are deeply affected by this.

But here is another way to start thinking about it.

Whatever anyone says to you or about you, realize it’s just their opinion. If you accept what they say as true, you are agreeing that their opinion is more important than your opinion of yourself. 

Opinions are not facts.

This is especially true when it comes to valuing yourself. There is no validity to thinking your value as a person is any less than anyone else. If you have a particular skill, others may value it and compensate you for it, but that is not your value as a person. The fact that you are alive is sufficient to be valued.

This was self-evident to the founding fathers of the United States.

Thomas Jefferson wrote in the Declaration of Independence…

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

“Endowed” means inseparable from us. They are part of our humanity and are absolute. Created equal means of equal value. 

So here’s a better way to approach dealing with what people say or think about you…

(1) Regardless of what anyone says about you, realize they are:

(a) Responding with partial information
(b) Passing it through their own prejudice filters.

2. Develop the philosophy that what anyone thinks (about anything) is only their opinion and doesn’t make it true.

They may just be reacting to you because they don’t agree with you, or you didn’t do what they wanted.

3. Let’s say someone criticizes you or says something hurtful. Say to yourself, “What they think of me is their opinion and not mine. I value myself. I like myself. I appreciate myself.”

You could also add, “Their opinion is coming from their own filters.” 

These methods will help you become an “inner directed” person. Your happiness and fulfillment will no longer be determined by others. You’ll start liking and loving yourself more…and other people will too.

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