Despite two years of therapy and a high degree of professional success, a client came to me several years ago seeking help with a problem I’ve seen many times in my coaching practice. “Nate” was plagued by feelings of low self-esteem, unworthiness, and never being good enough. Although he hid it well, the energy it took to maintain the image of someone who had it all together was exhausting him. He was also afraid that others would see through his façade and find out that he was really a fraud. Not only was this causing him a lot of stress at work, his insecurities were having a negative impact on his marriage, as he was often withdrawn and distant with his spouse.
None of us are born feeling unworthy. But many people were raised by well intentioned but misguided parents, whose own dysfunctions had a diminishing effect on our feelings about our selves. Low and healthy self-esteem are by-products of the life choices we make and the results they produce in our lives. Our choices are determined by the core beliefs that we hold as truths about our selves and the world around us, which typically become ingrained by the time we are about seven years old.
For example, if you learned through repeated experiences as a child that you'll only be loved if you fulfill others' expectations of how you should be, then that becomes one of your core beliefs. As an adult, that belief would cause you to habitually make meeting others' needs a greater priority than honoring your own. If you're focused on meeting others' expectations, you're less apt to make life choices that are aligned with who you are, and that will allow you to use your potential—both of which are critical to healthy self-esteem and confidence.
The first step in rebuilding self-esteem, is by examining your family of origin (the family in which you grew up) and identifying the core beliefs you formed in childhood. Unless you’ve “updated” and habituated your thought and behavior patterns, the core beliefs you formed as a child are most likely dictating or influencing your current behaviors, choices, and life.
The next step is to differentiate between those beliefs that serve and support you, and those that limit you. It's then critical to update the old, limiting beliefs with new ones that allow you to make life choices that honor and align with who you are, activate your innate potential, and produce the life experiences and accomplishments that are meaningful, and that support and strengthen your relationship with your self.
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© 2017 Lauren Mackler - Lauren Mackler is a world-renowned coach and author of the international bestseller Solemate: Master the Art of Aloneness & Transform Your Life. Sign up for her free Live Boldly e-newsletter at www.laurenmackler.com.