Like most other teenage girls , i had a best friend too . We would share our deepest secrets like best friends do.We would visit each other during weekends- play piano , read books and cook together.She was a lovely girl, only she did not realise it . She didn’t realise how uniquely beautiful she was!She would not raise her hands in class even when she knew the answer, she wouldn’t participate in school events , she would hesitate to talk to people, and she always felt inadequate, despite all my earnest reassurances. She was full of self-doubt and it would be apt to mention,the magnitude of self-doubt was such that, one could say she was suffering from “low self esteem” .
I would feel so utterly helpless for not being able to delete the feeling of inadequacy from her mind, being quite young myself. After finishing high school , we went to different cities for higher education. we would still keep in touch through letters where she would relate about her challenges in the big city . She would say how she felt like a misfit and couldn’t come to terms with her classmates or the new environment . I would gently pat her back for being strong and courageous , in my attempt to instill hope in her. However, i couldn’t succeed in clearing clouds of self-doubt from her mind.
After a few more years , she got married and relocated to a different city with her husband , whom she would describe as “kind” and “understanding”.We still kept in touch, now over emails. She had started working and was enjoying her new roles. We met after some two years and i was pleasantly surprised to see the changes that i had always longed to see in my dear friend. She looked radiantly confident and a lot happier. In one of our conversations , she had recounted as how her caring husband would write positive statements about her everyday in a white board, always appreciate her whenever she did something and encourage her to participate in community events , to name a few . I couldn’t be happier for her.
From more than two decades of knowing her , being with her through her years of mental suffering and finally witnessing her transformation into a positive, confident lady, i have drawn a few lessons in combatting self-doubts and keeping self-deprecating feelings at an arm’s length, even in crisis moments and how people suffering from “low self esteem” can conquer it.
1. SELF-ACCEPTANCE- The absolute necessity to vanquish low self esteem is a decision . Once the commitment is made , the engine of positive change can be started with self acceptance . Self acceptance is nothing but the act of acknowledging and embracing all that we are and aren’t . We have our strengths and weaknesses, like everyone else and it is especially important for a person embarking on the new journey of fighting and conquering low self-esteem to recognise the premise that no one is perfect.This recognition will in turn fuel their faith on their strengths and help them to take their weaknesses in their stride . Imperfection is human and one has to come to terms with this fact to feel comfortable in one’s own skin.
2. RE- CONDITIONING – My friend had her husband to help her re-condition and transform her negative thoughts, but it is not impossible to take the responsibility of changing one’s thoughts on oneself. Writing positive words in a dry-erase board and watching it first thing in the morning paid dividends for my friend and i believe it is a mandatory ritual for a person battling low self-esteem.The daily dose of positive words slowly familiarises the sub-conscious mind with one’s new faith or changed thoughts and ultimately help them to become the new, confident person that they want to be.
3.CONSISTENT FLOW OF POSITIVE THOUGHTS AND WORDS- The antidote to negative thoughts and low self-esteem are positive thoughts and words. Our sub-conscious mind can not distinguish between the serious and unserious words that we utter. Therefore, we need to be cautious about what we say about ourselves. What we think and say , we become. A steady flow of positive thoughts and words is a person’s best accomplice when they trying to conquer low self-esteem.
4. APPRECIATING ONE’S UNIQUENESS – Each of us is beautifully different.It is a wonderful realisation that we are unique not only in our physical attributes but in our mental attributes too. There is only one “me” in this universe and the same holds true for each of YOU. Recognising and appreciating one’s uniqueness dampens low self-esteem and boosts self-confidence .
5. COMPANY OF POSITIVE PEOPLE: In one’s fight against low self-esteem ,it is best to supplement the cardinal principle of erasing negative thoughts and words with that of avoiding negative people. Negative people or the people who infect others with their negative comments or remarks slowdown the process of transformation and re-discovery . It is best to be in the company of positive people who are encouraging of other’s works and endeavours, especially when one has newly undertaken the mission of recovering one’s self-esteem.
6. PARTICIPATING IN COMMUNITY/PUBLIC EVENTS: The act of transformation from negativity to positivity can only succeed when one is willing to go out of their comfort zones towards the fulfilment of their mission i.e. conquering low self-esteem. Participating in community or public events is one such example. One is likely to face a lot of resistance from the self that is conditioned to believe in their utter inability to do something worthwhile. combatting the deep-seated feeling of worthless-ness is essential to motivating oneself to participate in public events . Summoning the courage to participate in such events eases the tension and nervousness that people with low-self esteem usually have around audiences or crowds and ultimately open up a whole new world of possibilities for them.
7. LEARNING NEW SKILLS- Most of us have specific inclinations or hobbies. Cultivating and developing them is truly fulfilling , a channel for creating happy moments. Learning new skills help people battling low self-esteem to feel capable and worthy. In other words, it helps them to take a step further in generating positivity by defeating negative thoughts and words.
8. Smile as the best weapon- one can never underestimate the power of a genuine smile as generator of positive feelings.
Vanquishing low self-esteem is a decision , a commitment that can open the doors to fulfilling , happy moments and help each of us truly celebrate the gift of life in all its uniqueness and beauty.