Self esteem is all about how you value yourself as a person, how you view yourself in terms of your strengths and weakness and, indeed, how you perceive what other people think of you. Let's deal with the last one first, because it's really simple. You simply mustn't waste your time and energy worrying about what other people think of you - because they don't! Normal people - whom psychology confirms are all as mad as hatters - are far too busy worrying about what you think of them - they don't care about you! And, if you're worried about making a good impression, you can be damn sure that you're not! Because worrying splits your focus, fragments your mind, destroys your presence and disables your ability to make any kind of good impression at all. To make a good impression you must be single-minded, focused and presence - your own 'self-analysis' simply prevents you being any of those things. So, first things first - forget about other people's ideas about you - your preconceived notions about what their expectations may be have little or nothing to do with the reality of the moment and your own innate ability to make the most of it.
But then there's your own inner game - what you think of yourself. What if the voices in your head are telling you that you're no good, that you're useless or that you're a failure? What if you're playing host to mental ghosts that scream 'no you can't' instead of 'yes you can'? Or what if you feel uneasy in certain business or social situations? What if you think you're just no good when push comes to shove? Or, more subtly, what if you just have a general unease about yourself as a person of worth? Well, the first question you need to ask yourself is this: Who is judging whom? Are there two of you - one doing the judging and one being judged? Well, in a very real way, there are two of you. There's the real you - the one that's capable of achieving absolutely anything in which you believe - yes, you heard me right! And, quite separately, there's your personality - the one that has the audacity and the nerve doing the judging.
What a nerve! Because, and this is something you've got to understand, your personality is an impostor - a self-image that, like all images, is only a snapshot of the real thing. Your personality - the one with all the perceived inadequacies, is created for you during your childhood years - you learn your personality through taking snapshots of people and events that made you feel good or, more decisively, bad about yourself. Research strongly suggests that you're more likely to pay subconscious attention to the negative snapshots - and this is where your feelings of inadequacy or low self esteem are coming from - they're bubbling up from your subconscious mind, they have nothing to do with the here and now, nothing to do with who you really can be, they're simply snapshot learning that you should stop paying attention to. In other words, low self esteem is not even a figment of your own imagination, it's an accumulation of stuff that other people did to you years ago.
So don't bother trying to counter your perceived low self-esteem with positive thought or self-affirmation - you'll end up having an argument with yourself! Forget it for what it is - an illusion that has nothing today with you today in the here and now. What you have to do is train your subconscious mind to focus on that here. That will stop it in its tracks when it tries to tread the well-worn path back to focusing on the old snapshots that you embrace as part of your perceived low self esteem. You were a very high achiever during your childhood years in the fine art of paying attention to the here and now. When you got a new toy, you examined it in detail - you eyed it up, shook it and listened to it, smelled it, licked it and tasted it. Using your five senses, you were all there. You've got to relearn what it's like to be all here - not buried in childhood nightmares. You can start right now by taking five minutes. Sit somewhere where you won't be disturbed, close your eyes and simply listen to what you hear. You'll think that someone has turned up the volume - they haven't of course, it's just that you're paying attention to the present moment - perhaps for the very first time in your adult life. As you do this you may well become distracted - and, chances are, you will - simply tune into the next big sound that you hear. This 'mental training' or, in fact, meditation, will take you out of your negative fantasy and break the spell that that impostor, your personality, has been wielding over you.
Copyright (c) 2010 Willie Horton
Willie Horton has been a Personal Development expert since 1996 - working with top leaders in major organizations. An Irish ex-accountant, ex-banker, published author and keynote speaker, he travels the world, from his home in the French Alps, enabling people "live the dream". All his work - including his acclaimed Personal Development Workshop - is now online at http://www.gurdy.net