Self-esteem is like the coconut oil of wellness.
Just think about it. Self-esteem makes evvvverythang better.
When you feel confident in yourself and your own abilities, screwing up a presentation at work sucks, but you know you’ll bounce back. You respect yourself enough to cultivate relationships with people who actually get you and fill you with excitement and energy…instead of dragging you down with a bunch of drama.
Hell, life in general seems a loooot more fun when you like the person you’re livin’ it with: AKA, you.
But here’s the funny thang about self-esteem. Nearly every day, I meet ammmmmazing overachievers who are doing everything they can to fill their life with more self-esteem and self-love…but they’re still riddled with anxiety and craaazy uncomfortable in their own skin.
And it’s because they’re a victim of three SUUUUPER common mistakes people make when trying to boost their self-esteem!
What are these mistakes and how can you avoid them and actually cultivate some badass self-esteem, ASAP? Well, I’m glad you asked. ‘Cause that’s exactly what this blog post is all about!
Self-Esteem Mistake #1: Doing waaaaay too much.
How many times have you gotten a vacation or a long weekend away from work…and immediately started filling up that free time with a buncha stuff you wanted to do?
That’s exactly what happened to one of my recent clients, Amy. She was working suuuuper hard at her law office, and the stress started to take its toll. She couldn’t sleep. She was always exhausted, even after drinking three cups of coffee. And as hard as she kept pushing, Amy’s performance began to nosedive…so much so that her boss noticed and asked her to take some time off.
Amy knew her need to go-go-go alllll the damn time stemmed from her low self-esteem and her constant need for approval and validation. So during her break, she threw herself into “self-esteem work” as hard as she did her work.
And before ya’ know it, Amy’s “time off” was packed with appointments with me and flower-arranging classes and yoga sessions and a bunch of other self-care activities.
What’s the problem with that? After all, staying up until 2 AM learning how to arrange flowers is better than slaving away at an office! Well, Amy – and you, if you tend to do the same thing! – was still missing the point of self-care and building self-esteem.
Because self-esteem is not based on how many activities we complete or how many skills we master or how many accomplishments we make or how many #lifegoals we set in social media.
Instead, this busyness is often a sign of some internal hurt or wound. We feel broken…so we decide to do alllll the stuff to try and “fix” ourselves, instead of slowing down and giving ourselves the non-judgemental, compassionate love we really need.
And this is TOTALLY a natural instinct, at least in this day-and-age. In fact, a 2014 study even found that people would rather shock themselves than sit with their own thoughts and do nothing.
Why? Because it is freakin’ scary to sit and be with ourselves and examine our thoughts. Because it takes a lot more time and energy and effort to find a self-esteem that is deeper than what we’re adding to the world or how we’re growing.
But that’s the exact kinda self-esteem we really want: the kind that is rock solid inside of us and can’t be affected by whatever is happening in the outside world. And if we want to be able to tap into that permanent, deep self-esteem…we can’t be running ourselves ragged.
Instead, we need to have time to do nothing and explore the thoughts that have led us to feeling so blah and down in the first place.
So if you find yourself overscheduling and overworking and overbusying…this is your sign to SLOW THE F DOWN.
Set aside time for quietness and just being – not doing. Accept whatever thoughts or feelings come to you during that quiet time, and know that this is your time to work with those thoughts and cultivate higher self-esteem from within.
Self-Esteem Mistake #2: Basing your self-esteem on where you’re going…instead of where you are.
Considering that the New Year wasn’t that long ago, I’m gonna bet a lotta y’all have recently heard someone (maybe even yourself!) say something like: “You know, I wanna feel better about myself. So I’m gonna lose weight and start a gym habit and eat green smoothies and kale salads and feel super good and proud.”
And this kinda mindset isn’t limited to just weight loss. You also might want to change careers and think, “I’m gonna get a job that’s more in line with my values and my lifestyle, and that’ll make me feel good.” Or you might move cities and think, “I’m gonna get a whoooole new circle of friends, and then I’ll feel loved and connected and supported, and finally be happy with myself.”
The problem with that kinda narrative around self-esteem is that you’re only worthy of feeling good about yourself if you achieve certain goals. And if you don’t reach those goals or your life doesn’t end up the way you imagine…you won’t get to feel those nice, happy feelings about yourself.
Which is a totaaaaaally crazy way to think about getting more self-esteem ‘cause:
1. This mindset doesn’t really help you feel any better about yourself today.
2. It really undermines your self-esteem for the rest of your dang life, ‘cause you’re always depending on achieving one goal or another! And these goals aren’t always something you can control. Maybe you break your leg and can’t go to the gym, so you can’t lose that weight. If that means you can’t feel good about yourself, that ain’t cool!
Action Step #2 to Get More Self-Esteem ASAP: Start with a goal…but focus on the journey.
“But Caitlin!” you might be thinking, “I loooove goals. They’re how I motivate myself and move forward in life. How the heck can I learn to love myself without them!?!”
You don’t have to.
Start your self-esteem journey with a goal, whether it’s you wanting to lose weight or get a new job. But then:
1. Recognize how AWESOME you are to want to achieve that goal in the first place. ‘Cause you soooooo deserve to feel proud for chasing after things that will help you be a happier, healthier person.
2. Feel proud EVERY DAY you make time to take little steps toward achieving that goal. Sure, you won’t lose weight or nab that awesome job right away. But the fact that you’re willing to put in the work even without seeing those immediate results is hella impressive!
With these two little mindset tweaks, you’re no longer depending on reaching that goal to feel good about yourself. Instead you’re boosting your self-esteem from committing to the journey of trying to reach that goal in the first place! And this lets you create self-esteem based on a quality INSIDE yourself – your kickass intentions and determination and dedication – rather than an EXTERNAL outcome.
Self-Esteem Mistake #3: Doing it all alone.
You wanna know the MOST common answer I get when I ask people why they didn’t ask for help or tell a friend about their struggles with self-esteem? Things like “Oh, well I didn’t wanna be a burden” or “It was too embarrassing to admit…” or “I didn’t want people to know.”
Then you need to SHUT DOWN those thoughts, ASAP. ‘Cause the underlying narrative of allllll of those thoughts is, “I’m not perfect…so I’m not worthy of love or respect or relationships or just general freakin’ happiness. Only when I’m perfect can I show people the ‘real’ me.”
And doing ANY action (even self-care!) with that as your underlying motivation just lowers your self-esteem even further.
Action Step #3 to Get More Self-Esteem ASAP: Involve people!
I know it’s suuuuper scary…but my favorite way to get people involved is by being really freakin’ vulnerable to someone you know and trust. Just tell them, “Hey, you know I’m feeling really crappy about myself lately, and here’s what I’m doing about it.” And invite them to join you or ask them to check in with you about your self-care activities regularly.
Another great way to get people involved is by actually celebrating your progress and wins. And, yes. That means openly acknowledging what you’re doing to improve your self-esteem. For example, by…
…telling a friend that you just started going to a life coach and are looooooving the results.
…sharing updates about your yoga teacher training on Facebook.
…starting a weekly meet-up where people can come and talk about their struggles and successes with mental health that week.
The options are endless – you do you!
But here’s why bringing other people into the equation is suuuuper important: First, it forces you to accept yourself imperfectly in the company of other people, which is a major boost to your self-esteem.
Plus, being surrounded by the love and support of your friends and family keeps you motivated and accountable to showing up for your “self-esteem” activities, which lets you see results waaaaay quicker. And who doesn’t want that? 😉
Your Secret Weapon if You Reallllly Need Some Extra Support, Right Now
Now, I know that for some of you, finding people to support and love you through your self-esteem journey is easier said than done. But here’s the awesome news: if you do need another helping hand…I’m here.
Not only that, but I’ve also been exactly where you are now. I’ve thought I was “too weak” or “too dumb” or “too broken” to achieve my dreams. I’ve hated what I saw in the mirror. I’ve even felt soooo crummy about myself…I thought about ending it all.
But because I’ve climbed out of that hole of self-doubt and self-loathing, I know EXACTLY how to help you do the same! So if you’re ready to work one-on-one with me and learn how to cultivate self-esteem that’s rooted from within…book a Breakthrough Session with me! I’ve already helped hundreds of people recognize what strong, smart, resilient badasses they really are and stop chasing self-esteem with desperation or like there’s something outside of themselves to achieve. So why not start building your own, uber powerful self-esteem with me today?
My Final Reminder About Creating More Self-Esteem
Unfortunately, unlike coconut oil, you can’t just order self-esteem off Amazon and have it arrive at your front door in 2-3 days. 😉
But the GREAT news about self-esteem is that it’s already buried deep inside you. You just have to learn how to unlock it by…
…doing less and being more.
…focusing less on achieving goals and more on enjoying the path to get there.
…sharing your struggles and imperfect self with family and friends.
And I can tell you from experience. Once you do learn how to reach inside you and unlock that inner light…you’re gonna be freakin’ amazed at just how brightly you – and your life! – will shine.
Which of these three mistakes have tripped you up in the past? Tell me in the comments!