We all use the expression 'self-esteem', but what do we mean by it? Some people think that self-esteem means confidence - and of course confidence comes into it - but it's rather more than that.
Self esteem can become eroded in a number of ways over time therefore a number of approaches are appropriate that work at different levels.
Hypnotherapy can be used to rebuild and strengthen the factors that create self esteem - self-image, ego, confidence, beliefs and perceptions about past experiences.
Other techniques such as cognitive approaches both in and out of trance can install the strategies needed to maintain positive self-esteem over time. This includes managing self-talk and maintaining a positive outlook.
The fact is that there are any number of apparently confident people who can do marvellous things but who have poor self-esteem. Many people in the public eye fall into this category. Actors and comedians and singers in particular can seem to glow with assurance 'on stage', and yet off-stage many of them feel desperately insecure. Indeed, individuals can be stunningly attractive and world-famous, and seem poised and perfect - yet still, deep down, find it hard to value themselves.
If self-esteem isn't quite the same thing as confidence, what is it?
The word 'esteem' comes from a Latin word which means 'to estimate'. So, self-esteem is how you estimate yourself.
To do that you need to ask yourself certain questions:
- do I like myself?
- do I think I'm a good human being?
- am I someone deserving of love?
- do I deserve happiness?
- do I really feel - both in my mind and deep in my guts - that I'm an OK person?
People with low self-esteem find it hard to answer 'yes' to these questions. Perhaps you are one of them. If so, what can you do?
How can you improve your self-esteem?
You can begin by accepting that you are certainly not alone. Masses of people have this problem.
Secondly, you can take on board a very important fact, which is that you are a wonderful, individual and special person - and there is no one quite like you. Your fingerprints and your DNA are totally different from everybody else's - unless you happen to have an identical twin. And your mind - and how it thinks and operates - is totally your own. This means that out of six billion people in the world, you are a one-off. So if nature has bothered to make you utterly unique, don't you feel that you should accept that you're important, and that you have as much right as anyone else to be on this planet?
You have other rights too. One of them is the right to make mistakes. Don't forget that 'to err is human' and most of us do much of our learning through getting things wrong before we get them right.
Furthermore, we have the right to respect ourselves - and to be respected: this is very important. And finally - and perhaps most vitally of all - we have the right to say 'yes' or 'no' for ourselves.
Many people with poor self-esteem think that they're not very important and that their views carry no weight. Is this you? If so, try to stop these destructive thoughts; because if you go around believing them, you'll encourage other people to believe them too.
Instead, start thinking of yourself a unique person who has rights and opinions and ideas that are just as valid as anyone else's.