Many clients come in seeking more self-esteem. They understand it from their own perspective, as if it is part of them that they lost somewhere. My experience is that it might be better to lose that concept. Letting go of self-esteem until you truly feel better about yourself.
While having a healthy amount of self-esteem is wonderful for those that are intune and recognize it as helpful, there are many others thinking that it does not exist for them and may even feel that it is unobtainable at all. As a master neuro linguistic practitioner, what I try to do best is leave myself at the door and that means being open to my clients as they express to me what their vision of the world is for them. When we base our self-worth on a thought or feeling or even someone else's definition of ourselves such as physical appearance, work/school achievements, etc we may be feeling that self-esteem is contingent on how we do in those endeavors and start comparing ourselves.
However, when we work so hard to meet those expectations of self or of others, we may not meet those high expectations leading us to feel like a failure, or less than. We can develop a sense of bad about ourselves and acceptance goes out of our vision. People come to me often from a false sense of what needs to happen to get off the cycle of fear-failure/success-sabotage wheel of life.
I often take the "me first" attitude and present it to my clients. While this may seem like I am breeding narcissistic attitude, it truly does not work that way for the person seeking more self-esteem. If you are reading this, you may be someone that does not live in a world where you even consider yourself to be important because you have lived so many years telling yourself the story that you are not worthy of this importance first.
Be your own best friend and stay compassionate to your own feelings. It is a fickle fantasy to embrace the negative side of you and to embrace the idea that self-esteem is elusive. If you are able to envision that you are sitting in a chair across the room, and you the you that sees yourself across the room sitting in a chair were that person's best friend in the world, what would you truthfully say to him/her? (drop the negative, find something that would be helpful and true)
Make a more reachable accomplishment bar for yourself. Sometimes we become unreasonable about what we must achieve in order to "be someone." Are your goals in alignment with what you know you can achieve for yourself, and perhaps just a little bit of a push more? This may help you find what is an upswing in the right direction, a challenge you know you can get behind, which will result in more positive achievements instead of focus on so many goals that seem to result in failure and then goes on to validate the cycle.
Let go of judging. I have heard many people say, and I will join in here, as I have been guilty of this powerful phrase. "I am my own worst critic." Yes, you probably are. No one knows all your little perfect flaws like you do. I caution two things here with this statement. One is the "I am." Please be aware of this. Whenever we tell ourselves we are something our subconscious is listening, and it that is what you want, it will go to work to help you find it negative or not! Letting go of self-judgements that we are comfortable with is difficult to do. It is a practice. Allow yourself time to get used to the idea that the untruths you may have been telling yourself need to go. One way to mindfully allow this to happen is to spend sometime with yourself. Meditation starting with even just five minutes a day will help to re-introduce your true self to yourself.That may sound confusing, but learning to sit with your true self by closing your eyes to shut out external focus for just five minutes and breathing deeply in through your nose, allowing exhale through our mouth is felt through your entire mind and body! It's not new age, it is science. It has been working for people all through the ages. Try it.
Noticing when negative "I am's" come up and allowing them to float up to the air and out of view in your minds eye takes some doing, but is important to pay attention to. Allow them to come in when you meditate, and then pull your mind back into meditation by paying attention to your breathing will help. If you start hearing something like this, "I am not good at meditating, I can't keep my mind still for ten seconds" you are bringing back that judgement of self. Allow the thought to come, but abate it by replacing it with something positive like, "Ok, I may suck at this because I'm new to meditation, but all minds are powerful, capable, and I know this is a healthy practice because I can feel the relaxation throughout my body and mind. I am at peace." "I am getting healthier" "I am learning the positive things I have forgotten about myself." Soon the negative chatter will not be as strong, and may disappear altogether, as you recognize meditation to be good, detoxing for the brain, restorative for the body as it slows down for even a short period of time. You will learn to crave and appreciate the time spent in meditation. It's for you. All of you.
You may even notice it is harder to get upset with your body, your mind, and yourself as that is pretty hard to do in a state of calm. Here is what is happening when you meditate. Your vagus nerve is stimulated. Now before you discount this information, hear me out, because this is important. The vagus nerve is that long, winding nerve that starts in your brain and expands in your diaphragm. From there, it pretty much is in contact with every organ in your body. When you trigger it your parasympathetic nervous system kicks in calming your body. Your deep breathing then reverting to a nice natural breath and just basking in the calm serves as a reminder that worrying about the future, or the past is fruitless. It also helps clear out the junk from any emotional situation you may be trying to make a decision on from earlier in the day. Taking the emotional brain away for a few moments..."Shut up!" ( to your brain) will allow logic and better decision making process to begin. Realize you have probably been in other situations throughout your lifetime, and have been able to get through them before, will assist and qualify that you will make it through this one too. It is true when they say, "This too shall pass." It most certainly will. Focus on how well you are able to tackle situations for yourself relying on your internal strengths and begin to realize who you truly and really are in the process. Not wallowing in who you are driving yourself insane trying to be, because it is expected of you from someone else's world.