“I feel like when I talk to new people, I sound stupid.”
“It’s like something’s wrong with me and everyone else knows something I don’t.”
“It’s hard to talk to people sometimes because they seem more important than me.”
Ever catch yourself saying stuff like this? If so, you probably have some issues with self-esteem.
It’s ok, many of us do. Including me.
And no surprise, self-esteem is essential to a vibrant social life. Why?
Because a healthy sense of self-esteem dials down your fear of being rejected by others. This frees you to be natural in conversations. You reveal more of your true self and connecting with new people becomes fun and easy.
In this article, I discuss one way to raise your self-esteem and the major obstacle you’ll need to overcome in the process.
Belief in Your Ability to Succeed Raises Self-Esteem
You gain self-esteem in part by believing in yourself; by believing in your abilities. When you feel capable of handling what comes your way, your confidence blossoms.
One way to achieve this is through success, of any kind.
It can be success in your hobby or career or skills. Whatever! When you excel in one area, confidence ripples to all other areas of your life.
But here are two requirements:
- You enjoy the activity
- You’re good at it or can get good
By succeeding in something YOU genuinely enjoy, you prove your worth to yourself. In turn, you need LESS validation from others. You don’t come across needy in conversations.
But there’s a problem. We often block ourselves from success by not believing in ourselves in the first place.
We discount our ability to shine before we even try.
- We don’t step up to bat.
- We don’t succeed.
- We don’t change our beliefs about our potential.
The result is we continue living with low self-esteem.
A friend of mine from grade school was a perfect example of this. That is, until he found a magic glove that changed everything.
Yup…a magic glove.
Success on the Field Turns into Success in Life
Brian was in 5th grade when I was in 6th.
He was shy, awkward, bad at softball. Unfortunately, for boys, softball was just what you did during grade school recess.
So like me, Brian learned to endure constant teasing. Thing is, he actually enjoyed softball (today Brian is a coach). At the time though, he just didn’t believe he could be any good.
After all, everyone said he sucked. At bat he’d usually strike out and in field, the ball seemed to pass right through his glove. Why would he believe any different?
But one day, he found a magic baseball glove. It smelled of fresh leather and folded just right.
It changed his 5th grade life.
Suddenly, he couldn’t miss. He’d catch every pop-up; snag every throw. At bat, he began driving the ball far to left field.
This went on for a few days when something amazing happened: His success on the field transferred to other parts of life.
He braved sitting with the “popular” kids at lunch. He smiled more, talked more and held his head high. He just seemed more, natural.
By proving he could be successful on the field, he started to believe he could do the same elsewhere. And so he did.
Find YOUR Magic Glove to Boost Your Confidence
Like Brian, you need to find something you enjoy and can be good at. Something to prove (to yourself) you can be successful.
But as I mentioned above, we often hold ourselves back from the success that could start an avalanche of confidence.
We don’t give ourselves credit for what we naturally excel in. We’d like to be writers or get ahead in our career or run a marathon, but we don’t.
Our low self-esteem automatically jumps us to the conclusion of, “I could never really be good at that.” So we don’t push ourselves. Or you think, “I don’t know what to say.” So you don’t try. Like Brian, our negative self-beliefs become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
What you need is a magic glove.
For Brian, the glove triggered his first bit of success. That snowballed into more success and increased confidence.
But c’mon, the glove wasn’t magic (duh).
The glove was MINE. I just let him borrow it since he was on the opposite team.
Brian had the ability to be good in softball all along. For whatever reason, he just believed the glove made all the difference.
It was the change in his limiting beliefs that freed him to tap his natural ability.
You Create Success by Believing in Yourself (even when it’s hard)
We all have natural talents and abilities. If we do nothing, they sit unused. But it’s our belief in ourselves that gives us the courage to use those talents for success.
I hear you already… “That’s the problem! I don’t believe in myself. So how am I supposed to just do it?”
Your belief in yourself has to start somewhere. That somewhere is Y-O-U.
Brian kept failing at softball, but he stayed with it because he enjoyed it. Eventually he found the thing that allowed him to have a breakthrough and succeed.
You need to do the same. You might try and fail at first, but eventually you will succeed. And that’s where the upward trend begins.
But no one else will give you the courage to try in the first place. No one else can give you belief in yourself but you.
If you’re waiting for someone to tell you to go for it, you might wait forever.
No, scratch that. I’m telling you now. GO FOR IT.
If you even think you could be good at something, AND you enjoy it, you owe it to yourself to try. Don’t just assume you can’t make it or rank or whatever.
Give yourself the benefit of the doubt. Take action.
The sheer fact you’re moving toward what you want will give you a sense of feeling capable. That is at the heart of self-esteem.
WARNING: Don’t Rely on One Thing for All Your Worth
Now there’s more to self-esteem than just being good at one thing. What I’m saying here is success in one area can “jump start” success in others.
But a word of warning: Don’t let any one thing be your only source of worth. If that “outlet” goes away for some reason, you lose your self-esteem.
No, you should have multiple areas in life that give you joy and a sense of value. Knowing, deep down, you’re capable of achieving what you set your mind to is the true source of self-esteem.
Image courtesy of pagedooley