Ways to Increase Self Esteem and Self Confidence

Things happen and you give them a title - good/bad, sad/happy, boring/exciting, safe/dangerous, embarrassing/proud, etc... Then you file the event in your memory's "library" under the title you just gave it.  If you ever remember the event again, you will always think of it as having the same "title" you first gave it.

One day at school, when I was about 8 years old, the teacher asked me to draw an elephant on the blackboard at the front of the class.  I heard muffled laughter behind me (it really was a funny looking elephant).  I was very embarrassed and looked around to the teacher for support - she was smiling too!  "Even the teacher is laughing at me as well" I thought.  Thank goodness it was break time, but the kids in the playground didn't let up.  "Ha, ha, ha, you can't draw, you can't draw."  At that time I told myself "I'll never draw again!".

Does that sound familiar?  Have you ever had a humiliating experience?  It was a classic case of self esteem being damaged.  My self talk was negative too.  All this was done with high emotion so that my self image (I'll never draw again because I'm a rotten drawer) was indelibly printed on my subconscious mind.  So strong was this imprint that when I was 15 years old and needed to draw a seal for my project, my subconscious mind over-ruled my conscious mind by saying "What are you trying to do?  You know you can't draw.  You don't want to be embarrassed again do you?  Put down the pen."  I traced the seal.

I'm sure for many of you that some time in the past something similar happened whereby your self esteem was punctured and this was allowed and reinforced by your own self talk.  But that's in the past and the good news is that you can correct all that by changing your self talk.  Remember, self image is caused by self esteem, and self esteem commences with self talk.  If we have a negative self image (which is the habit - buried in the subconscious mind) then we need to work with the subconscious mind to get a better habit.

Self Talk, Self Esteem and Self Image

You may have heard me say (and it's worth saying again):  We have 50,000 thoughts a day.  Make sure this "self talk" is positive, because guess who's listening?  The down side of not listening to your self talk is really damaging when it comes after say a negative event or trauma.  When the self talk is negative, with a lot of emotion, then this negative self talk becomes a habit and can lead to depression.  Indeed a habit of negative self talk is one of the greatest causes of depression.  Self Talk leads to Self Esteem and combined with Emotion this leads to Self Image.

Self Love and self esteem go together.  Many people have the concept that "loving yourself" is selfish or they use it as a "put-down" ... "There he goes, doesn't he love himself!"  All of this was certainly true for me.  Now I've learned that to love unconditionally and to have love for myself means that I can truly love others.  When my bucket is full and overflowing with love for me, then that's when I am able to give love to others.

Loving Yourself and ways to DO IT

I've often heard it said, and firmly believe, that you truly can not love another until you love yourself.

Look how love affects learning.  Research has shown that from 0-6 years old we learn a greater number of facts than it takes to get an engineering or medical degree.  Youngsters learn in a loving, supportive, rewarding atmosphere with a very short concentration span (15 seconds to a minute) and up to 6 years old youngsters live in the Alpha or Theta brainwave states.

Other research has shown that 85% of children 6 years old are positive about themselves and only 16% of 16 years olds are positive about themselves.  A great change in self esteem and self love has taken place for the worse in the intervening ten years.

So how do you do that ... "Love yourself"?  A short answer is ... by taking more responsibility for yourself, being a responsible participant in your own growth and development.  In my book "Students Steps to Success" I have given the following examples:

* Relax frequently
* Eat and drink only healthy foods
* Rest at least 8 hours daily (sleep, meditation and relaxation)
* Accept mistakes and grow from them
* Set goals and work towards them
* Talk positively to yourself and others
* Use all your mind power
* Pat yourself on the back with congratulations
* Accept compliments graciously
* Respond to situations instead of reacting
* Take responsibility for your own health
* Watch only selected pictures and TV to protect your mind
* Be wise in your choice of reading materials
* Work actively towards any healing of yourself
* Be assertive and stand up for yourself
* Practise being free by saying "No"
* Express your own opinion
* Take care of yourself and your body in every way
* Turn away any negative comments made towards you.

Increasing Self Esteem

Peer pressure, or pressure to conform, during the vulnerable teenage years really can be full-on.  Nobody wants to feel different and most of us want to be popular and accepted by those our own age.  So sometimes it feels easier to go along with the group, joining in with bad behaviour, swearing, doing drugs, etc... rather than be seen to stand alone and be different.

I really like what Eleanor Roosevelt said about this subject ... "Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent."

So, know that "loving yourself" is taking responsibility for yourself and definitely practise all the practical things I have listed to "love yourself".

Use Positive Words of Reinforcement

We know that negative thoughts attract negative thoughts which leads to negative action and to negative reaction, so, at all cost we need to avoid using negative words.  Encouraging words when dealing with anyone, especially your children and yourself, are paramount.  Avoid negative statements or words, and some in common usage that immediately come to mind are calling yourself or your child "stupid" or an "idiot" and another is saying to a child or yourself that "you can't afford something ..." - it is far preferable to say "No ... other things are more important", so that you make it a choice.  Yet another thing to avoid is denigrating yourself or your child, with the words "slow learner".  There are many more and now that I have brought it to your attention you will have an awareness.

Learn to say NO

If you haven't said No before, then the first few times may not be easy.  You may not feel comfortable.  However, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.

Practise saying No.  Make it a habit and it will be easy for you to let your mouth follow your heart by saying No.  Feel the true freedom that comes with being able to make your own decisions and be in charge of your life.

When you're really clear on what you want out of life, it becomes so much easier to stand up for yourself.  For example, say your friend wants to borrow your clothes, your car, some money or your new computer; or the friend you've been dating is putting the hard word on you ... stand up for what you truly feel is right for you at this stage of your life, practise saying it out loud - No!

So many people help others, to the detriment of their own life and health.  You won't be able to help anyone if you're sick, so even though it may be challenging, say No when you need to look after yourself.  This way you stand in your integrity and increase your own self esteem.

Go for what you want

Here's an example from my book "Students Steps to Success"   (www.studentstepstosuccess.com). I'm sure that the gist of this example could be applied to any age. 

Michael has a dream of being a champion swimmer and his goal is to compete in the next Olympic Games.  Now with that sort of ambition you need a lot of dedication and some sacrifices have to be made.

Michael has a new girlfriend, Cathy, who is putting pressure on him to come out during the week and go to late-night parties on weekends.  All of this isn't good for Michael's tight schedule of early morning training and early nights after a strenuous and full day.  Cathy doesn't really understand the amount of time necessary for Michael to devote to his goal.

Michael really likes Cathy and wants her to continue liking him, but in the end he has to have a relationship that is compatible with what he wants from life.  If it isn't, then it would be destructive to all he is working towards.  He knows he'd hate himself if he sacrificed all he had been striving for.  So Michael told Cathy that he couldn't hang around in groups where people were smoking and drinking alcohol and that he could only handle one late night a week.  Anything over these limits would make it hard for him to get up at the crack of dawn for training.

Cathy thought he might have been saying that he no longer wanted to see her, but Michael explained that he did want to see her, only under conditions that would fit in with his routine.  He suggested that they discuss ways that were satisfactory to both of them, whereby they could both still see each other.

Learn to be assertive

The choice is yours, to be Aggressive, Passive or Assertive.

Aggressive people don't listen, they "abuse" others by shouting, putting them down, ordering people around and being generally pretty mean and hurtful.  The aggressive person comes across as being irritable, uptight, harsh and reproachful.  As a result the aggressive person's self esteem can suffer as they beat themself up about being a "rotten person" - there's guilt, remorse and perhaps shame. And that's assuming the aggressive person realises their own aggressiveness!  And what does the other person involved feel?  Probably the same - pretty bad. 

And what about being the passive "doormat" - ever been down that track?  The passive person allows others to trample all over them, put them down, won't speak out, even though they have something relevant to say, won't make decisions, seem reserved or timid.  Passive people basically set themselves up as a target to be taken advantage of and let someone else call their shots.  In other words, the passive person lets others run their lives.

Be accountable for yourself - nobody else can do it for you - the responsibility for being what you want to be is up to you.

If you get into a situation where you need to be assertive, take a deep breath and go to your Peaceful Place.  See yourself calmly speaking about how you feel and see the other person responding calmly too.

Remember, all feelings are OK. It's the way that they are expressed that is important.  Did you know that you can express your feelings of anger or frustration in a calm way - just by simply and calmly stating how you feel.  If it is a question of what someone has said or done, you can calmly point out to them that this particular behaviour has left you feeling hurt, angry, or whatever the feeling may be.

Once you learn to be assertive, you will only ever want to be that way.

To help you become assertive, the first thing is to have good self esteem.  Feel good about yourself.  And if liking yourself is something you have to learn to do, then start by writing down all the good things about yourself.  Everybody has good things about themself, eg. I am a loving sister/brother, son/daughter,  I'm cheerful,  I have a good sense of humour,  I'm energetic,  enthusiastic, intelligent,  good,  lovable,  I'm good at sports,  I'm a good friend,  I'm honest,  I'm reliable,  I'm a good reader,  I'm a fantastic piano player ... clarinet ... flute ... guitar ... or whatever,  I'm great at computers,  I organise my time well,  I am polite,  I'm considerate,  I'm helpful,  I'm thoughtful,  I'm clean and tidy.  Fill as much of a page (or more) as you can with all the good things about yourself.

Another step to being assertive is knowing what you want.  Once you know that, you can ask clearly for what you need or want, and handle the reply - whatever it is.  Also you will be able to stand up for yourself if anyone disagrees with you.

Being assertive is also about not putting other people down, and also treating them as you would like them to treat you - respecting their point of view and their likes and dislikes, even if they are different to yours.

Like saying No, being assertive is not always easy at first, but the more you practise, the easier it becomes.  You will have respect for yourself, and others will feel the same about you, even though at first it might not seem so.

In the beginning some may sneer or criticise and judge you for standing up for yourself, but you can bet your bottom dollar that underneath that facade they admire your strength.  In fact, sometimes they may even be envious.

Learn to like yourself

Feeling good about yourself will make you feel good and it will have a snowball effect.  Keep up that list of good things about yourself and add to it.  Get your best friends and family to tell you what they like about you - and return the favour - tell them what you like and admire about them.  Look in the mirror and tell yourself what a wonderful person you are.  Put your arms around yourself and give yourself a great big hug.

Laugh a lot.  Humour has a therapeutic and healing effect and is actually being used in some hospitals as a cure.  The same can be said for relaxation - the benefits are enormous, so take time out to deeply relax every day, as often as you can.

A great 30 second tool

A great tool is to build yourself an "Anchor" (A Peaceful Place CD number 2 - Guided Imagery).  In the CALM Seminar we build an Emotional Anchor whereby all good positive emotion from previous life experiences are put into a movement (say the sliding of your thumb over your forefinger).  This movement now represents all the wonderful, positive feeling from many different good events.  So what an Anchor does is elicit all the good positive emotion that first went into the body when it experienced that event.  In other words you get a flush of good positive emotion when you give yourself your Anchor ... it's a great self esteem tool.

Meditate for a positive self image

I have a meditation available (A Peaceful Place CD number 10 - Self Worth and Confidence) which when used will build self esteem as a new habit.  It's great to know that you are a truly wonderful, special person and that you are worthy, with your confidence growing more and more.  As we already know one of the biggest keys is unconditional love of yourself (and others).

So, know that "loving yourself" is taking responsibility for yourself and remember IF IT IS TO BE IT IS UP TO ME. Please definitely practise all the practical ways above to increase your own and others' self esteem.

I urge you to read the Success Stories below.

Success Stories

Keiren FordeI want to let you know how very much your course has changed my life. As Norbert Wiener has said, the techniques you teach are nothing less than "the secret of life". For some years I have been a nervous and fearful person, both of which were a manifestation of going through a marriage break up and bankruptcy proceedings. Confidence in myself had plummeted. Through the techniques you have taught me, my life has dramatically changed around.

For example, my first book is on track to being published; my business is on track to being largely successful; and more importantly, all my relationships family and friends continue to strengthen. By using the techniques I've been able to cope with my stresses and work towards balancing the diverse demands of relationships, family and finance. It is electrifying to be associated with someone who understands the awesome power of imagination.

Spiritually it is gratifying to know someone like you, who understands the power of forgiveness and the power of love. It can be truly said you are a walking example of one of Ralph Waldo Emerson's creeds - "Every soul is not only the inlet, but may become the outlet of all there is in God."
Kieran John Forde, NSW

 

Sandy, I have been in a devastating situation, or to put it mildly I have been in the depths of despair. However I am now turning things around and getting back to my former self and feeling confident to get on with life again. Thank you Sandy - you have taken me from feeling worthless to becoming 110% human again!

Today I have started to set goals again but this time I'm doing it your way and it's working! I have read so many books and attended many seminars dealing with goals and self help but none of them speak about the HOW and WHY as your books and tapes do; taking you through the necessary procedures to achieve goals and more importantly get rid of stress on the way.
Wally Scanlin, VIC

 

Kevin GraySandy, I received your pack of "Piece of Mind" book and two tapes in October 1995. If you had told me I could instantly gain noticeable improvement in one day I would not have believed you. I must also be a left-brained sceptic. I have been wallowing in despair for six years. I've read many self-help books and I could not rid myself of that constant feeling of dread, nor could I sleep at night. It took Sandy MacGregor to show me how to help myself. Since using the techniques I have now slept 7 to 8 hours every night. I've had interruptions to my sleep, e.g.. late night 'phone calls, storms with thunder and lightning and still have been able to return to sleep easily.

Furthermore, I have just returned from Canada and USA. In years gone by I have needed to take a Rohypnol sleeping tablet on these journeys. This time I slept for 7 hours during the flight over, and on the way back, with no drugs.
Kevin Gray, VIC

 

To buy the Active Meditation CD Peaceful Place #10 Self Worth and Confidence,
click here

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"Sandy 's Free E-Report - is available. The E-Report has tips that will use calm techniques in every day life.  We will answer questions you ask and with your permission publish your successes stories using the CALM techniques so that you can assist others.  To Register and to receive the E-Report, click here"

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