Five ways to build your self-esteem

Do you find yourself worrying about what someone else thinks about you?

Faith WoodQ: I feel like I spend far too much time worrying about what others think about me. How do you stop worrying about what others think? I feel like I am caught in a trap I cannot get out of.

A: Being overly concerned about what other people think about you is a recipe for disappointment and unhappiness. While it is natural to seek the approval of others, those who have high self-esteem, and are self-confident, are able to discount the negative opinions of others and remain assured of their own self-worth.

Focusing on building your self-confidence can be made easier when you keep these five things in mind the next time you find yourself worrying about what someone else believes about you.

  1. Never guess what others might be thinking
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You cause yourself much unnecessary suffering when you waste your energy imagining that others may intend you harm. You genuinely have no idea what anyone else is thinking. Train yourself to avoid making any assumptions about what others may be thinking – and train yourself to avoid making any assumptions about why other people choose to do or to say something – or not to do or not to say anything.

The first step in training yourself to do this is found in your curiosity. Ask questions – out loud or in private. You need to question what you believe is real. Start by asking yourself, “How do I know this to be true?”.

  1. Live your own life

There is no one way your life is “supposed” to be lived. There are no “authorities” appointed to judge your life’s worthiness. You have no responsibility to please anyone other than yourself. Be of service to humanity, but never be anyone’s doormat. Live your own life full out. Live boldly with vision, purpose, and commitment. Establish your own life purpose, and live your own life.

  1. Make your own choices

Your plan for your life is the only plan that matters. Your parents and your family, perhaps your church and your friends, have plans for your life, but they are mere spectators of your life – the life you get to live every day.

  1. Value your own opinions

Why would you consider someone else’s opinions, or wishes, to be more important than your own? In fact, why should anyone else’s opinions carry any weight whatsoever in how you live your life? Make your life choices sincerely and deliberately. Then never second-guess your own values and choices simply because those around you may not approve of them.

  1. Choose to associate primarily with positive people who support you

You can’t completely avoid negative people – there are probably a few negative people in your extended family and where you work. However, you can choose to limit your exposure to negative people and cultivate friends and acquaintances who have a positive outlook on life, share many of your essential values, and value you as a person.

Faith Wood is a novelist and professional speaker who focuses on helping groups and individuals navigate conflict, shift perceptions and improve communications. 

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