The Happiness Connection  

How's your self-esteem?

I was speaking with a woman recently who separated from her husband.

A major life change like this requires adjustment. It takes time regardless of how amicable the split is.

What once seemed second nature may suddenly become difficult. In this case, she was finding it hard to focus on her professional life. Her marriage had given her the stability she needed to soar in her business.

With that piece no longer there, she felt ungrounded.

Just like anchors that are found in boats, emotional anchors keep you from drifting aimlessly. They provide a feeling of safety.

For many people, their life partner gives them this foundation.

The difficulty of giving such a major responsibility to another person is the problems that arise if they disappear from your life. You can anchor yourself to your business or a purpose, but they, too, can vanish.

It doesn’t take any wondrous power to figure out where I’m going with this thought. The one thing that will never vanish from your life is you. This is where you need to put your anchor.

How do you do that? By creating a secure anchor of self-esteem.

People who are self-confident believe they can overcome anything that happens in their life. They don’t live in an atmosphere of anxiety, control, or negativity. They trust they will be able to handle whatever is thrown at them.

I tend to use the words self-esteem and self-confidence interchangeably because their meanings are very similar, and I try not to repeat the same word too many times when I’m writing.

For the record:

  • self-esteem is how you feel about yourself.
  • self-confidence is how you feel about your abilities.

If you feel you aren’t good enough, it is your esteem that is suffering. Believing you can’t join a sports team because you are inept is confidence.

Because your abilities are closely tied to how you see yourself, I don’t make a distinction between the two words.

You may believe that you love and accept yourself; that your self-esteem is just fine, thank you very much.

A few years ago, I would have said the same thing. But as I’ve delved below the surface to uncover my beliefs about myself, I realize that may not be the case. Perhaps my self-esteem could use some additional work.

What does low self-esteem look like?

Let me share some common ways it presents itself. If any of these resonate with you, it doesn’t mean you don’t think highly enough of yourself – but it might.

My aim this week is to give you something to think about so you can go a little deeper in your understanding of yourself.

I don’t mean the person you think you should be. I’m talking about the real you that you may not share often with others.

  • Do you feel an urge to brag about your accomplishments?
  • Are you sensitive to criticism, and overly critical of yourself?
  • Do you give up easily when something become difficult?
  • Do you judge yourself and people on material possessions? This may include buying things you can’t really afford, to impress others.
  • Are decisions difficult for you to make because you worry other people won’t agree with your choice?
  • Do you have difficulty saying no?
  • Do you struggle to stand up for yourself, or are you overly aggressive?
  • Do you love to be the centre of attention, even if it is for negative reasons?
  • Are you rebellious, often for no reason other than to be a rebel?

How many times did you answer yes? These are things commonly found in people with low self-esteem.

As I was compiling this list, I recognized just how low my self-esteem was when I was younger. More important, I realize there is more I can do to improve how I feel about myself.

Self-development is a process that has no finish line. There is always more to learn and strength to be gained.

When you notice your lack of self-esteem kick in, acknowledge its existence, but don’t let negative chatter get started. Instead treat yourself they way you would your best friend.

What would you say if they started beating themselves up for being overweight, useless, or stupid?

That’s what you need to say to yourself.

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About the Author

Reen Rose is an experienced, informative, and engaging speaker, author, and educator. She has worked for over three decades in the world of education, teaching children and adults in Canada and England.

Research shows that happy people are better leaders, more successful, and healthier than their unhappy counterparts, and yet so many people still believe that happiness is a result of their circumstances.

Happiness is a choice. Reen’s presentations and workshops are designed to help you become robustly happy. This is her term for happiness that can withstand challenge and change.

Reen blends research-based expertise, storytelling, humour, and practical strategies to both inform and inspire. She is a Myers Briggs certified practitioner, a Microsoft Office certified trainer and a qualified and experienced teacher.

Email Reen at [email protected]

Check out her websites at www.ReenRose.com, or www.ModellingHappiness.com

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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