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The Key to Self-Esteem

Self-esteem, like happiness, is a state of mind. It can make you feel happy, cheerful and confident. It can also make you feel worthless, unwanted and weak. Self-esteem can best be compared to a powerful battery. When the battery is fully charged, the individual feels confident and raring to go; when the battery is run down the individual feels low and wants to hide.

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Obviously, individuals with low self-esteem cannot be expected to do well in life. They will approach every issue with a lack of confidence even though they may be fully capable of doing a job. That is why self-belief is considered the bedrock of self-esteem. It gives an individual the extra confidence that makes all the difference between an achiever and a failure.

So how do you inculcate a sense of self-belief in yourself? You will be making a big mistake if you start seeing yourself as the most important man in your field. This cannot be called self-belief or self-esteem. Instead it is conceit, and as everyone knows conceit is a dangerous quality. It generates false confidence, which often becomes a source of woes.

What you need is healthy self-esteem. This means that you should look at yourself as an individual who is at par with his peer group, who has nothing to feel ashamed of, and who looks at all issues with a positive frame of mind. Healthy self-esteem also means that you are able to differentiate between humility and self-effacement, between arrogance and modesty, between complacency and hyperactivity.

However, to do so you must learn to accept yourself as any other individual who will have some strengths and some weaknesses, and who will have some good days and some bad days. You must learn to ride out the good with the bad. Most important, you must believe in the clichéd saying that there is always light at the end of the tunnel. It will give you the confidence and self-belief that every individual needs in his bad moments. This is what self-esteem is all about – a self-belief in oneself.

Those who sit and mope can never feel happy. The same applies to those who blame the fate for their ills. Their energies are consumed by negative emotions. These emotions are like a whirlpool. They suck you deeper and deeper till you lose all semblance of self-respect and self-confidence.

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Don’t allow mistakes or failures to overwhelm you. Similarly, don’t allow guilt to eat away your happiness. Accept your mistakes. It will make you feel much better. You must always remember that you lose self-esteem when you try to run away from problems and challenges. Such behavior makes you weak. It also causes your self-esteem to dip. In contrast, your self-esteem soars when you overcome a difficult situation.

Another important thing about self-esteem is the need to look at it as a single entity. Many people derive great happiness from their accomplishments. Their self-esteem rises when they are in the company of people who acknowledge their success. However, the same self-esteem plunges when they are in a family group where they are not accepted with the same degree of warmth. They feel unhappy, and neglected, and avoid mixing with their family members. This is escapism. It will gnaw away an individual’s self-esteem till he becomes lonely and unhappy. It will also impact on his professional work at some point of time or the other.

To improve your self-esteem, you also need to be fair to yourself. Very often individuals are very harsh on themselves when things go wrong. They plunge into a state of depression, and allow guilt to consume them. It is quite possible that their decision may have brought misfortune upon a family or a company that trusted them. But over-reaction will not change things. All individuals must judge their actions fairly. Self-flagellation is the worst form of defeat. It weakens individuals, and destroys their self-esteem.

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