We all come equipped with a built-in, ever-ready fear fighter. But like any of our muscles, intellectual capabilities and skills, if you don’t use it regularly it becomes flabby and ineffective.
That fear-fighter is our self-esteem. The good opinion we have of ourselves and the pride we take in our capabilities and accomplishments. Whenever our self-esteem is high, anxiety and worry go down. So it’s important to regularly remind yourself that you are so much better than you sometimes think.
Self-esteem grows with every accomplishment. Whether it’s doing a great job on a project at work, pushing yourself just a little bit harder in your exercise or going out of your way to help someone else, whenever we do something that we consider ‘good,’ we feel better about ourselves. And are much more likely to try that little bit harder again the next time.
One great way to build up self-esteem is to regularly review your successes. Start by making a list of the top five successes you had before you turned 18. These could include academic achievements, trophies you won in sports or on the debating team, or simply learning something that was challenging to you. When you’re done, make a list of the top five successes you had last week.
As you write these lists, recall how you felt in the moment of success – proud, elated, satisfied… As you recall those emotions, you’ll find them welling up inside you again, right along with all the endorphins, dopamine and serotonin that start pumping through your veins and making you feel great.
When that happens, anxiety and worry are nowhere to be found.
Every time you try something and succeed your self-esteem goes up. Every time you try something and fail you learn. And because you’ve learned, that (entirely justified) self-esteem still goes up.
Each of us is so much better, so much more capable, so much more talented and resourceful than we think! We just need to remind ourselves regularly.