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Chin up and stay happy!

Low self-esteem can wreak havoc on your life. Sheila Kumar suggests ways to cope

The key to maintaining healthy self-esteem is the ability to distinguish between a basic sense of one’s worth and one’s reactions to external forces

Be aware that you have many good things going for you

It doesn’t take much to bring an already fragile sense of self come crashing about our ears. It could be just anything at all. A telling off from the boss; when you lean towards your partner to make a point and he/she turns away…
These are the small glitches in the mainframe of your life. When bigger factors enter the scene, such as a debilitating illness or a job loss, your sense of self can be reduced to the size of a postage stamp. All too often, our sense of self-esteem is tied to how others perceive us. The moment we detect rejection or indifference, our perspective goes for a toss. Ditto, self esteem.

Bouncing back

Says Hemendra Singh, psychoanalyst: “Most of the time, our self esteem is a constant. But when it crashes, we really have to work hard to bring it back.” Dr. Singh also says that good moments — professional or personal — can boost self-esteem.
Sometimes, that surge of self-esteem is so strong, we can store up the feeling and use it as a buffer for the bad times. Another thing about self-esteem is that we tend to compartmentalise it based on our roles, such as good parent, good spouse, good professional, good cook, good child and good homemaker. It will help if people feel good about all their roles at the same time.
Also, if one’s self-image is healthy and realistic, it acts as a bulwark. So, however bad the bad times are, one’s image does not take a beating. On the other hand, perceived imperfections can affect self-esteem. Appearance has a role to play in self-esteem too. But, get real, and understand that it doesn’t necessarily impinge on your self-worth and expectation from life.

Be sure of self
Another factor that affects self-esteem is insecurity. Experts say achieving a concept of “I’m good enough” will go a long way in boosting and maintaining one’s self-esteem. Finally, it all comes down to a reality check.
You are special, unique. You have flaws, you have failings, but overall, you have a lot of good things going for you. One just needs to be always aware of that.
As long as one’s self confidence remains high, nothing can buffet it. It will help you cope. And, as one’s coping skills grow, self-esteem shores up.
The key to maintaining healthy self-esteem is the ability to distinguish between a basic sense of one’s worth and one’s reactions to external forces.
Being laid off doesn’t really change the fact that you are good at your job. Since one’s self-esteem is also inevitably tied to one’s relationships — working at them automatically boosts self-esteem. Taking the time to strengthen the strong relationships and shore up the weaker ones, helps improve self-esteem.
However, even if things don’t pan out as planned, the self-esteem of the individual who took the initiative will not suffer a blow.

This is an important fact, says Dr. Singh. A person with a healthy self-esteem will be able to go out and face the world, even on really bad days. It is when the person cannot do so that one needs to worry.

Another point is being able to tell criticism from denigration. The former can and should be dealt with rationally. The latter should be recognised for what it is and avoided. Denigration shrinks one’s image in one’s own eyes.

Dr. Singh recommends that one turns to pleasurable and feel-good activities when one is feeling down.

Dip into that joy when bad times hit!

Stay happy

Know your self-worth

Count your blessings

Work at relationships

Take part in feel-good activities


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