Make Building Confidence and Self-Esteem a Priority

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Confidence and self-esteem are major determining factors of success in not only childhood, but in adulthood as well. Be sure to promote health and security with your children to ensure they know their worth and capability. This will build a solid foundation for their optimism and security later on in life. Also, watch your words when speaking to other adults. Always try to remain positive and use constructive criticism in place of negativity. Low self-esteem can strike at any time. It’s not always built from what you learned as a child.

Self-esteem is affected by physical ill-health, negative life events such as losing your job or getting divorced, deficient or frustrating relationships, and a general sense of lack of control. This sense of lack of control is often particularly marked in people who are the victims of emotional, physical, or sexual abuse, or of discrimination on the grounds of religion, culture, race, sex, or sexual orientation.

Sometimes poor self-esteem can be deeply rooted and have its origins in traumatic childhood experiences such as prolonged separation from parent figures, neglect, or emotional, physical, or sexual abuse. If you think this is a particular problem for you, speak to a mental healthcare professional. Therapy or counseling may enable you to talk about such experiences and to try to come to terms with them. Unfortunately, therapy or counseling may be difficult to obtain, and may not be suitable for everyone.

Low self-esteem can predispose you to developing a mental disorder, and developing a mental disorder can in turn deliver a huge knock to your self-esteem. In some cases, low self-esteem is in itself a cardinal feature of mental disorder, for example, in depression or in borderline personality disorder. The relationship between low self-esteem and mental disorder is complex, and a person with a mental disorder is more likely than most to suffer from long-term low self-esteem.

People with long-term low self-esteem generally see the world as a hostile place and themselves as its victim. As a result, they feel reluctant to express and assert themselves, miss out on experiences and opportunities, and feel helpless about changing things. All this merely lowers their self-esteem even further, and they end up getting caught in a downward spiral.

Thankfully, there are a number of simple things that anyone can do to boost his or her self-esteem and, hopefully, break out of this vicious circle. You may already be doing some of these things, and you certainly don’t need to do them all. Just do those that you feel most comfortable with.

d721869595af8788616d6e013e6148991. Make three lists: one of your strengths, one of your achievements, and one of the things that you admire about yourself. Try to get a friend or relative to help you with these lists. Keep the lists in a safe place and read through them regularly.

2. Think positively about yourself. Remind yourself that, despite your problems, you are a unique, special, and valuable person, and that you deserve to feel good about yourself. Identify and challenge any negative thoughts that you may have about yourself, such as ‘I am a loser’, ‘I never do anything right’, or ‘No one really likes me’.

3. Pay special attention to your personal hygiene: for example, style your hair, trim your nails, floss your teeth.

4. Dress in clothes that make you feel good about yourself.

5. Eat good food as part of a healthy, balanced diet. Make meal times a special time, even if you are eating alone. Turn off the TV or radio, set the table, and arrange your food so that it looks attractive on your plate.

6. Exercise regularly: go out for a brisk walk every day, and take more vigorous exercise (exercise that makes you break into a sweat) three times a week.

7. Ensure that you are getting enough sleep.

8. Manage your stress levels. If possible, agree with a close friend or relative that you will take turns to massage each other on a regular basis.

9. Make your living space clean, comfortable, and attractive. Display items that remind you of your achievements or of the special times and people in your life.

10. Do more of the things that you enjoy doing. Do at least one thing that you enjoy every day, and remind yourself that you deserve it.

11. Get involved in activities such as painting, music, poetry, and dance. Such artistic activities enable you to express yourself, acquire a sense of mastery, and interact positively with others. Find a class through your local adult education service or community center.

12. Set yourself a challenge that you can realistically achieve, and then go for it! For example, take up yoga, learn to sing, or cook for a small dinner party at your apartment or house.

13. Do some of the things that you have been putting off, such as clearing out the garden, washing the windows, or filing the paperwork.

14. Do something nice for others. For example, strike up a conversation with the person at the till, visit a friend who is sick, or get involved with a local charity.

15. Get others involved: tell your friends and relatives what you are going through and enlist their advice and support. Perhaps they have similar problems too, in which case you might be able to band up and form a support group.

16. Try to spend more time with those you hold near and dear. At the same time, try to enlarge your social circle by making an effort to meet people.

17. On the other hand, avoid people, places, and institutions that treat you badly or that make you feel bad about yourself. This could mean being more assertive. If assertiveness is a problem for you, ask a healthcare professional about assertiveness training.

* Building Confidence and Self-Esteem

Self-esteem and confidence have to begin somewhere. Let’s start with our children. The values and ideas we instil in them as youngsters will remain a foundation for them as adults. “Healthy self-esteem is like a child’s armor against the challenges of the world. Kids who know their strengths and weaknesses and feel good about themselves seem to have an easier time handling conflicts and resisting negative pressures. They tend to smile more readily and enjoy life. These kids are realistic and generally optimistic.

In contrast, kids with low self-esteem can find challenges to be sources of major anxiety and frustration. Those who think poorly of themselves have a hard time finding solutions to problems. If given to self-critical thoughts such as “I’m no good” or “I can’t do anything right,” they may become passive, withdrawn, or depressed. Faced with a new challenge, their immediate response might be “I can’t.”

Here are some ways to practice and promote healthy self-esteem in your child:

  • Be careful what you say. Kids can be sensitive to parents’ and others’ words. Remember to praise your child not only for a job well done, but also for effort. But be truthful. For example, if your child doesn’t make the soccer team, avoid saying something like, “Well, next time you’ll work harder and make it.” Instead, try “Well, you didn’t make the team, but I’m really proud of the effort you put into it.” Reward effort and completion instead of outcome.Sometimes, a child’s skill level is just not there — so helping kids overcome disappointments can really help them learn what they’re good at and what they’re not so good at. As adults, it’s OK to say “I can’t carry a tune” or “I couldn’t kick a ball to save my life,” so use warmth and humor to help your kids learn about themselves and to appreciate what makes them unique.
  • Be a positive role model. If you’re excessively harsh on yourself, pessimistic, or unrealistic about your abilities and limitations, your kids might eventually mirror you. Nurture your own self-esteem and they’ll have a great role model.
  • Identify and redirect inaccurate beliefs. It’s important for parents to identify kids’ irrational beliefs about themselves, whether they’re about perfection, attractiveness, ability, or anything else. Helping kids set more accurate standards and be more realistic in evaluating themselves will help them have a healthy self-concept.Inaccurate perceptions of self can take root and become reality to kids. For example, a child who does very well in school but struggles with math may say, “I can’t do math. I’m a bad student.” Not only is this a false generalization, it’s also a belief that can set a child up for failure. Encourage kids to see a situation in a more objective way. A helpful response might be: “You are a good student. You do great in school. Math is a subject that you need to spend more time on. We’ll work on it together.”
  • Be spontaneous and affectionate. Your love will help boost your child’s self-esteem. Give hugs and tell kids you’re proud of them when you can see them putting effort toward something or trying something at which they previously failed. Put notes in your child’s lunchbox with messages like “I think you’re terrific!”Give praise often and honestly, but without overdoing it. Having an inflated sense of self can lead kids and teens to put others down or feel that they’re better than everyone else, which can be socially isolating.
  • Give positive, accurate feedback. Comments like “You always work yourself up into such a frenzy!” will make kids feel like they have no confidence-definitioncontrol over their outbursts. A better statement is, “I can see you were very angry with your brother, but it was nice that you were able to talk about it instead of yelling or hitting.” This acknowledges a child’s feelings, rewards the choice made, and encourages the child to make the right choice again next time.
  • Create a safe, loving home environment. Kids who don’t feel safe or are abused at home are at greatest risk for developing poor self-esteem. A child who is exposed to parents who fight and argue repeatedly may feel they have no control over their environment and become helpless or depressed.Also watch for signs of abuse by others, problems in school, trouble with peers, and other factors that may affect kids’ self-esteem. Encourage your kids to talk to you or other trusted adults about solving problems that are too big to solve by themselves.
  • Help kids become involved in constructive experiences. Activities that encourage cooperation rather than competition are especially helpful in fostering self-esteem. For example, mentoring programs in which an older child helps a younger one learn to read can do wonders for both kids. Volunteering and contributing to your local community can have positive effects on self-esteem for everyone involved.

When promoting healthy self-esteem, it’s important to not have too much or too little but “just enough.” Make sure your kids don’t end up feeling that if they’re average or normal at something, it’s the same as not being good or special.

Finding Professional Help

If you suspect your child has low self-esteem, consider getting professional help. Child and adolescent therapists and counselors can help identify coping strategies to help deal with problems at school or home in ways that help kids feel better about themselves.

Therapy can help kids learn to view themselves and the world more realistically and help with problem-solving. Developing the confidence to understand when you can deal with a problem and when to ask for help is vital to positive self esteem.

Taking responsibility and pride in who you are is a sure sign of healthy self-esteem and the greatest gift parents can give to their child.

* Developing Your Child’s Self-Esteem

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