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Beating a Low Self-Esteem

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Beating a Low Self-Esteem © Randy Allbritton/Getty
Low self-esteems are selfish. They demand every ounce of attention and prevent any empowering news from lifting your spirits.

They are deceptive, too. They convince you that they will go away and stop the pain if they are fed. But they never disappear after their urges subside. They follow you from place to place and person to person.

Fortunately, a low self-esteem isn't indestructible. Overcoming it takes practice and determination. And the more you try and change how you think about situations, including yourself, the more a low self-esteem will press against you with your old self-depricating thoughts.

But, a low self-esteem can be outmaneuvered and overcome with a few tricks:

Go in. If you don't know yourself, you'll never gain any sense of confidence. What situations make you feel bad. When you have thoughts that you aren't deserving of something or someone, what do you do next? Keep a journal and log the things or thoughts that triggered your bad feelings for the day.

Figure out the pattern. After a few days of keeping an inventory of your feelings, you will probably start to notice a pattern. Each time this happens, you feel this way. When that happens, this happens to your emotions, and so on.

Call your feelings out. Now that you've identified what action cause what reactions, trip the wire or try and and acknowledge your reactions. Come up with a word or phrase that you can use to quickly call out low thoughts about yourself, such "there you go" or "gotcha" or "hi". The goal isn't to stop yourself from reacting; it's to identify exactly when it happens.

Change the pattern. The hardest step is changing your patterns. They are habits after all. But, all bad habits can be replaced by good ones with practice. The more you get comfortable with identifying when you start feeling bad about yourself, the more quickly you will be able to catch those thoughts. And once you're able catch yourself with some level of precision, you can replace your old thoughts by new, more positive ones. So, instead of reaching for comfort to quiet the thoughts, reach for a change of thought.

Practice. Creating a positive self-esteem may take some time. If you're reading this, more than likely you've had enough of the negative thoughts about yourself. Use that energy to motivate you to practice replacing negative thoughts by ones that are more empowering.
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