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Learn to appreciate yourself

education Updated: Aug 21, 2009 12:01 IST
Jitendra Nagpal
Jitendra Nagpal
Hindustan Times
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There’s this age-old story of a genie who appears when the lamp in which he’s trapped is rubbed, and grants the wishes of the person who releases him. What would you wish for if this were to happen to you? Cars? Money? No worries?What if you went further and didn’t think selfishly just for yourself? What would you wish for your friends and loved ones — and others?
You’d be doing us all a big favour if you asked for a healthy dose of self-esteem for everyone, for nothing is more satisfying than being a happy and confident person.

Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall evaluation or appraisal of self worth. Self-esteem isn’t about telling others how great you are. It’s being aware that you’re worth a lot (priceless, in fact!). It’s not about thinking you’re perfect — but knowing that you’re worthy of being loved and accepted.

Scientists have suggested that self-esteem is a basic human need or motivation. American psychologist Abraham Maslow, for example, included self-esteem in his hierarchy of needs. He described two different forms of esteem: The need for respect from others and the need for self-respect, or inner self-esteem. Respect from others entails recognition, acceptance, status, and appreciation, and is believed to be more fragile and easily lost than inner self-esteem. According to Maslow, without the fulfillment of the self-esteem need, individuals will be driven to seek it and unable to grow. They’d also be unable to reach their maximum potential.

Therefore, positive self-esteem is important because it helps you hold your head high and feel proud of what you can do. It gives you the courage to try new things and the power to believe in yourself. It lets you respect yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when you respect yourself, people around will respect you.
Here are ways in which you can develop healthy self-esteem.

Let Positivity blossom:
If you’re used to focusing on your shortcomings, start thinking about the positive aspects you have that outweigh these. Each day, write down three things that make you happy or give yourself a compliment each day.

Mistakes will make you grow stronger:
Accept that you will make mistakes because everyone does so. Mistakes are a part of learning.

Let your inner strength shine:
Experiment with different activities that help you get in touch with your talents. Be proud of the new skills that you develop.

Set smart goals:
Do not set impossible targets for yourself. Instead, break down the big tasks into smaller ones so that you get a feeling of accomplishment at the end of the day.

Workout:
Dance, go to the gym, walk, swim and play: You’ll relieve stress, and be healthier and happier.

Count your blessings:
Stop comparing yourself with others who are better off than you. Instead, focus on the similarities you share with the others? This shift will help you realise that others too have their fair share of imperfections and shortcomings, and your complexes will then disappear like the morning mist.

Shun negative remarks:
Any negative comment in your head will have to be stopped firmly.

Brighten your surroundings:
Surround yourself with positive people, who can be appreciative of you, despite your recent failings.

Truly successful people are those with high self-esteem. So, make this your goal. Sweet success will be your reward if you learn to feel good about yourself — and that’s exactly what goes into making you a winner! Remember, people who see themselves and life in a negative light work themselves into a state of depression. Not surprisingly, such people frequently suffer from stress-related ailments such as headaches and high blood pressure. How we perceive any situation is, to a large extent, an automatic thought response — “Automatic” as in the way we tie our shoes or respond to day-to-day situations. It’s a learned response, a kind of habit we develop over years of absorbing the attitudes of those around us — parents, teachers and peers.

So, there is no such real attribute as self-image. This is true especially of children who indeed are ever- changing and unique. If one see and treats the child as worthy, important and attractive, then he will generally come to believe the same things about himself. Thus the early seeds of self worth are planted. You are worthy because you say it is so

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