Tag: self esteem

Have you lost your self identity?

Did you know that there are so many people who lack self-identity, particularly in this day and age where so many individuals are so consumed with being liked by other people? People even use Facebook and Instagram to seek validation. These individuals are so busy comparing themselves to others through their friendship circles or social media. The truth is, you will never be fulfilled when you compare yourself to others. This pattern of behaviour only creates indecisiveness, self-doubt, trust issues and low esteem. When you are unaware of your real identity, when you consciously or subconsciously look for constant validation from others, you will feel unfilled and insecure.

This pattern of behaviour can become almost addictive if it’s not managed. You will never really be sure of who you are if you consistently want others to confirm that for you. I am conscious that it may seem odd to know who you are, but how can someone truly love or like or treat you the way you deserved to be addressed if you don’t know yourself? How can you live life to your full potential if you lack self-identity or awareness? Try not defining yourself by who people think you are. Individuals who lack self-identity often identify themselves by their past, status, career or self-image.

Here are some simple ways to reclaim your identity if you believe that you have lost it.

When did you lose your identity?

It’s compulsory to identify when you lost a sense of yourself. This process will enable you to know how to reclaim your identity. For instance, if you grow up in an environment where you were not allowed to feel your emotions or no one spoke about their feelings, then it’s hard to connect with your inner child. It means that you may have a wounded child that is still playing up within the adult. It means you may have learnt not to be in tune with your emotions and often find ways or things to distract yourself, as feeling your emotions may be too painful, confusing or even uncomfortable. When you have identified the cause, then you can begin to start the journey of understanding who you are. In addition to accepting who you are (the good, bad and ugly) after all, no one is perfect.

Journal writing

Keeping a journal account of your emotions and awareness of yourself will help you to understand your thoughts and learnt behaviour that may be preventing you from your personal best such as, low self-esteem or self-sabotaging behaviour. For instance, if you believe that you are not good enough based on childhood experiences or past experiences, then you could transfer this learnt behaviour into all areas of your life, including work and personal relationships. Consequently, having people-pleasing tendencies or continually looking for validation prevents you from your inner power and you end up giving it away to others. Understanding yourself will contribute to a higher esteem, and you will became less emotionally dependent on others to make you happy, like or love you.

Understanding your personal qualities

It’s important to take time to understand, appreciate and value who you are, since you certainly can’t expect someone to understand or value you if you don’t. Conduct a self-assessment by creating a list of your natural gifts and talents to gain a deeper awareness of yourself. Ensure that you carry this exercise completely on your own instead of asking others, as the whole concept of this exercise is for you to understand yourself as opposed to what others think of you.

Breaking the negative cycle

When you are indecisive, it causes self-doubts. Self-doubt creates distrust, and this could contribute to low self-esteem. The more you understand yourself, the happier you will be and have less self-conflicting thoughts. When it comes to developing yourself, you are the only person that is responsible for your development. Any word that begins with “self” means that you’re accountable for that area of work, so getting others to build your esteem or identity would always be non-effective. So no matter how challenging this could be, you have to recognise that the results will be highly rewarding and it will help your decision making and help you take more control of your life.

Learn to enjoy your own company

If you don’t like or appreciate your company, how do you expect other people to like or enjoy your company? Start off by writing a list of things that you enjoy doing. Creating a list of hobbies will help you to be more fulfilled and enjoy your company. Having time with family and friends is highly essential and useful for your emotional wellbeing. However, it’s equally important to create time alone and enjoy your hobbies. You will never really appreciate how much you enjoy an activity on your own unless you try.

Avoid distractions

Too much distraction can be a hindrance to yourself, since continuously distracting yourself blinds you from developing areas such as your awareness and esteem, as you may be consciously or subconsciously avoiding having a relationship with yourself or numbing your emotions by:

  • Using drugs and alcohol.
  • Being overly busy, engaging in non-productive activities.
  • Working long hours.
  • Being too sexually active with multiple partners.
  • Overeating.
  • Oversleeping.
  • Choosing partners that are emotionally damaged so you can fix them.
  • Continuously having one relationship after another, and not having time to pause.

Learn to be emotionally available to yourself so that you understand and identify your emotions by frequently understanding the reasons why you feel the way you are feeling, such as “why do I feel sad, why do I feel vulnerable?”

Self-esteem in relationships

What is the meaning of self-esteem? Self-esteem defines how you treat yourself, what you think of yourself and the relationship that you have with yourself. A person can be confident but still have low self-esteem, as they outwardly appear confident. This could be based on external factors including:
appearance, marital status, class, occupation, etc. But inwardly they feel terrible. We all wear a mask, as we have certain aspects of ourselves that we do not want others to see or know.

You can fool people, but you certainly can not fool yourself. When you begin to fool yourself, then you are living in denial. Living in denial can be a painful process as you struggle to accept the reality or truth about yourself or the situation that you are in.

Self-acceptance is the most powerful experience you can gain. To truly love yourself, it is important to accept everything about who you are as a person, including the good, the bad and the ugly. After all, no one is perfect. People with low self-esteem, often do not respect themselves and they consistently attract spouses that disrespect them. They put up with unreasonable behaviours including; cheating, domestic violence, serial liars, emotional abuse and highly selfish partners.

These individuals have a strong desire to be loved, so they often attract spouses that do not love them the way that they deserved to be loved. Consequently, reinforcing any negative experiences from their childhood. This makes a person live in constant fear of the worst outcome, which reinforces more negativity within intimate relationship experiences.

It is always best to have good relationships with yourself before committing to a serious relationship. After all, how will your potential spouse understand you if you do not understand yourself?

Building your esteem within relationships

  • Learn to respect yourself.

Self-respect is key within all your relationships. The reality in life is that you will meet people who genuinely do not like or respect you the way that you should be treated. However, you have a choice not to accept unreasonable behaviour. If you put up with people constantly disrespecting you, then these individuals may feel that it is OK. If you do not like how you are spoken to or treated, then speak up.

  • Avoid people pleasing.

Repeatedly pleasing others in order for them to like or love you is emotionally draining and never works. You subconsciously give your power away and this could make you feel worthless. People have to like or love you for who you are. If you feel that you need to please others for love then, it is time for you to give yourself what you want from others, (love, reassurance and happiness) so you can break the cycle.

  • Learn from previous mistakes.

Life is like a school and our experiences teach us a lot about ourselves. Always learn something positive from your mistakes, these mistakes help you to do things better next time. So, instead of being hard on yourself because of mistakes that you have made or living in regret, learn something valuable about yourself.

  • Never allow another person to control you.

When you allow people to control you, you are actually giving them your power. Set boundaries within all your relationships. Controlling people are normally not in control and only want to feel like they are in control.

  • Analyse the type of spouses you attract.

You often attract people that are very similar to your character and the type men or women that you attract is a reflection of where you are at emotionally. For instance, co-dependents attract narcissistic mates and victims always attract perpetrators. Find out the patterns of the type of spouses have been attracted to. Make a list of the characteristics and consciously try and make better decisions when choosing your potential mate.

  • Explore your relationships.

Are you often giving more to your relationships than what you always receive? If so, ask yourself why do you give so much and yet get so little back. It is good to give but if you are the only one always giving, you became a “doormat”, so learn to get the balance right.

  • Create a happy list.

Make a list of all the things that you enjoy doing, that makes you happy and ensure that you do them as often as possible to make yourself happy, whether or not you are in a relationship.

  • Learn to conquer your fears.

Everyone is afraid of something, that is the reality of life. However, living in constant fear could leave you feeling stuck, and allow life to pass you by. Life is a risk and the more you take healthy risks that are not self-sabotaging impacts your esteem. Feel the fear and do it anyway.

How loving yourself helps you to love others

Perhaps you have grown up in a home where you didn’t receive love from one or both parents? Maybe you were not raised by your biological parents, and you were adopted/fostered or even raised by other family members? It could even be that the experiences that you witnessed at home were unpleasant and negative? These experiences could have had an impact on your self-esteem and the types of relationships that you attract.

We all have an intense desire to be loved and nurtured. Love gives us the reassurance that we are not alone. Consequently, the motivational force behind finding love is to be in a relationship, have children, experience and share our love with our spouse or children. Research shows that love and belonging are vital in aiding a person’s growth, to reach their self-actualising tendencies. There is no drive to achieve anything in life without love. When you examine the existence of human beings, the key motivational force behind it is love. A child is born in the world where they need love to thrive and have a sense of belonging. This child later goes to school, college and university to educate themselves to equip them in search of a career. Then the child may decide to work and earn money to support their day to day living, including renting or buying a house which at some point they would like to share with the special person that they love. It’s very natural to expand that love by having a family who you can share that love with. As result, it is apparent that the love is the foundation of the human existence.

When an individual hasn’t had or experienced love from their childhood they subconsciously crave for it in many ways other than themselves, including relationships, children, and external validation. Although this is normal and often healthy, it can also be unbalanced if you became dependent on another person to love you. This behaviour can be addictive, which is similar to being addicted to a substances, food, sex or alcohol. However, in this case, you are addicted to another person to love you. 

The foundation of true love starts from loving yourself first. No one is truly going to love you if you don’t love yourself.

Simple ways to love yourself:

  • Avoid seeking approval from others.

When you seek approval from others, you are subconsciously asking people if you’re good enough.

  • Set boundaries within all your relationships.

The secret is, people will only treat you based on the relationship that you have with yourself. If the relationship that you have with yourself is mostly negative, then that is what you will receive from others.  If there are no boundaries within your relationships, then don’t be alarmed when people treat you as if you’re insignificant or like a “doormat”. If you are not happy with how you are being treated by others, then speak up. If you are constantly putting up with unreasonable behaviour, then others will believe that that is how you deserve to be treated.

  • Take responsibility for your happiness.

The only person that is responsible for your happiness is you. You are setting yourself up for disappointment when you expect other people to make you happy.

  • Create and enjoy your hobbies.

Having hobbies enables you to have a balance and time away from your work, or family commitments, allowing you to recharge and enjoy your company or socialise with other people

  • Create quiet time to reflect.

Being constantly busy will distract you from having time to reflect and connect with your emotions.

  • Learn to enjoy your own company.

It is essential to enjoy your own company, if you don’t, unfortunately, one else will. Avoid constantly distracting yourself from being on your own.

  • Begin to make decisions on your own.

When you’re overly indecisive and highly dependent on others to make a decision for you, you become emotionally reliant on them, this pattern of behaviour could impact your self-esteem. Indecisiveness causes self-doubt, and self-doubt is the root cause low self-esteem. Start off gradually, by making small decisions, and then expand to bigger ones.

  • Learn to forgive others.

Unforgiveness causes bitterness, although you may think that you are hurting the person that has hurt you, you’re actually hurting yourself by holding a grudge. Learn to let go of the emotional pain, even if you choose to remember experiences.

  • Never compare yourself with others.

Comparing yourself with others can blind you from your own beauty, full potential. Take time to find out who you really are and your natural gifts.

Are you looking for love in the wrong places?

If you have grown up in an environment where you were not shown love, it can be hard to love yourself. After all, can you love someone (you) when no one has shown you love? As it was your parents’ responsibility to love, nurture, and protect you. If they have not done so, you will begin to lack self-identity and may attract people that may reinforce the negative emotions associated with low self-esteem.

You may also begin to love others more than yourself, by investing time and energy hoping to receive the love which you never received from your childhood. This process is very damaging and can lead to more separation from your true self.

Everyone needs to be loved, and if you did not receive this when growing up, you need to stop looking for it from people or things. Your past is behind you and your future is ahead. Hence, you are the only person that is responsible for loving, caring and nurturing yourself. If you don’t, sadly, no else can.

Remember, that the way people treat you is the reflection of how you treat yourself. If you have been in abusive or negative relationships, then it is time to take a step back and ask yourself ” I am really loving the real me and how am I contributing to the way others treat me”.

The more you love yourself, the more love and respect you will receive from others.

Most people want be in a relationship, but you cannot really get the relationship you deserve, until you have a good relationship yourself. It is not someone else’s responsibility to make you happy.  You need to begin to take responsibility for your life.

Sometimes people spend so much time trying to control others in exchange for love and lose their self-identity in the process. As a result of this, they would rather spend more time investing in other people’s growth than their own.

These individuals pursue relationships, unconsciously hoping to change their spouse, to the way that they would like them to be and often get frustrated when they can see no change. The reality is you can never change anyone, and the fact that you want control others simply means that you are not in control of yourself.

How to truly begin to love yourself

 

Learn to trust yourself.

It’s important to begin to make simple decisions for yourself, instead of depending on others to make decisions for you. Indecisiveness causes doubt and you cannot truly trust people, if you constantly doubt yourself.

It doesn’t matter if the decisions that you make are wrong; it’s all about having the ability to grow as an individual.

When other people make decisions for you, they are determining your future and you will always be reliant on them, which can lead to codependent relationships. Trusting yourself is the foundation of establishing a relationship with yourself. The more you know who you are, the more you will understand the power within and the special unique gifts that you have, rather than looking at how wonderful other people are.

Learn to understand your emotions.

Emotions are very powerful and if you don’t understand them, then they can control you and could lead to negative emotional well-being. Your emotions represent who you are. The first step, to understanding your emotions (which is not always easy) is learn to sit with your vulnerabilities, such as; fear, sadness, pain, guilt, anger and other insecurities. The more you begin to sit with emotional discomfort,  the stronger you will become.  Vulnerability is a strength and not a weakness. You could delay emotional growth if you use people, TV, drugs, sex and alcohol to numb your emotions.

Facing the emotional pain with the right support and techniques will become easier and easier, instead of suppressing them. Personal insecurities will always follow you wherever you go, like a shadow and the reality is, you can run away from everyone but you can’t run away from who you are. Another useful technique is keeping a journal of your thoughts and emotions. This method helps you to understand yourself, in a reflective way. It is also an excellent way to monitor your personal development and growth.

Create some me time.

It is very important to enjoy your own company rather being fully reliant on others. After all, if you do not enjoy your own company, how can you expect others to? If you are the type of person who don’t enjoy your own company, it never too late to begin. Start doing things that you enjoy, such as reading, going for walks, taking long baths with candles and some occasional quiet time to reflect. I can appreciate how difficult it can be to spend time alone, but with regular practice and commitment, you will soon begin to break free from distracting yourself from the real you.

Pursue your goals

A goal without action is a dream. There is nothing worse than settling for less in life and doing the same thing over and over again,  but expecting a different result. Life without a vision or direction is empty. It’s like going on journey without a destination.

When setting goals it is best to make them realistic and achievable. You can begin with small goals than expand to bigger ones, once you are more comfortable. I recommend writing your goals and placing them somewhere visible. You can set also reminders on your mobile device, to do something small each day towards your goal.

Remember, no matter how long or challenging it may seem, never give up. Just keep going and you will get there.

Be grateful

Gratitude is essential for maintaining positive emotional well being. It helps you appreciate what you have instead of, constantly wanting more. Keeping a gratitude diary helps you to see your life from a different perceptive and will enable you to have a positive mind set, regardless of any challenges that you face in life.