Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Self-Esteem - Give Yourself Credit!

I once coached a young man I’ll call Jeff, who told me he had a problem with low self-esteem. So I asked him to tell me about something he had accomplished, something he was proud of.

At first he said he couldn’t think of anything. I pushed him for an example, and he finally said, “Well, I recently finished nursing school. Is that what you’re talking about?”

“Yes! Congratulations! That’s quite an accomplishment.”

“Hmm. I never thought of it that way. It was actually no big deal.”

“Are you kidding? It takes a lot of work to do that, to stick with it and meet all the requirements. You’ve got my respect.”

“I don’t see it that way. It’s just something I did.”

It was easy to see why he had problems with low self-esteem. Self-esteem has to be earned.

Well, he had accomplished something really worthwhile. But he hadn’t given himself credit for it! It was as if what he had done didn’t count.

Building up self-esteem is a lot like building up a savings account. To make your balance grow, you need to make regular deposits. When you do something worthwhile and—this is the important part—you give yourself credit, it’s like making a deposit in your account of self-esteem. And like a savings account, the opposite is true: when you do things you’re not proud of, it’s like taking money out. The more your account balance builds, the more interest you earn.

This interest is high self-esteem.

Jeff‘s achievement was worth a lot. But instead of thinking of it as a big deposit, like $10,000 in a savings account, he thought of it as trivial—worth only ten cents. He discounted his achievement, so he didn’t give himself credit. No wonder his self-esteem account was practically empty!

The key is to do things that you feel good about, and give yourself credit. Even small amounts, deposited regularly, add up over time.

Your friend was recovering from a loss, so you took her a covered dish. Give yourself credit!

You started using an app that makes it simple to do something that was complicated. Give yourself credit!

You checked the Internet and made a bunch of calls and found what you were looking for at a much lower price, saving a couple hundred dollars. Give yourself credit!

You figured out how to clear the clogged drain in your bathroom sink. Give yourself credit!

You studied for months and passed a certification exam. You wrote an article. You cleaned out the garage. You reached 10 gallons in total blood donations. You set up a surprise birthday party for a friend. You quit smoking. You created your own website.

What you did has value, so don’t discount it.

Give yourself credit!

The huge downsides to low self-esteem.

Doing the wrong thing can eat away at your self-esteem...

Post by Dennis E. Coates, Ph.D., Copyright 2013. Building Personal Strength .

1 comment:

Meredith Bell said...

Excellent points, Denny. Too often we discount what we do, and we say something like, "Anyone could do that." That inner critic can run rampant in our minds, so giving credit is a great way to quiet that voice.