- confidence in one’s own worth or abilities; self-respect.
Ahhh the elusive self esteem. We gaze on those that seem to have it with wonder, but in truth my friends, most of us have been challenged by our self esteem at one time in our lives.
I like to say that I am in active recovery from self esteem issues. Active recovery is important, because, like so many other things, if we get complacent, we can easily fall back into old patterns with it.
Self esteem today has taken the shape of imposter syndrome, something we all recognise as a feeling of unworthiness for something, usually work related.
What does it mean?
An Imposter is; ‘a person who pretends to be someone else in order to deceive others, especially for fraudulent gain’. Imposter is a powerful word and one that gives a flavour of something distasteful in your mouth.
The idea of someone pretending to be something that they are not is something that we are fundamentally not okay with. The idea of being unearthed as someone who is not worthy of the thing that we’ve been asked to do (or chosen to do), can be one of our biggest fears.
Why are we so afraid of it?
At our core, we are terrified of rejection. We are wired to seek belonging and safety in packs. We were made that way because, to survive, it was important to align ourselves with others, usually others that were more powerful and able to provide food and shelter.
We are so afraid of being rejected by others that we, in particular us people pleasers, will often reject ourselves in favour of being part of the group. That rejection of self leaves us not knowing who we are.
What can we do about it?
The most powerful thing that any of us can do is to build a relationship with ourselves. To learn to love and accept ourselves as we are, imperfect, growing and trying our best to make sense of a crazy world.
It is no one else’s responsibility to love you, but it absolutely is yours. The sooner you can recognise that, the sooner you will realise how important you are to you.
Whatever you have learnt about yourself isn’t true. You are smart. You have a brilliant brain. You are beautiful. You have a wonderful heart. I don’t need to know you to tell you that, but I just felt like you needed to hear it.
I used to have a horrible view of myself and I have managed to change it. I want the same for all of you.
Why you need a case file of excellence
Building a relationship with anyone takes time, care, commitment and attention – with you, you can 10x the amount of commitment haha. You are used to operating a very different way, so you need to build the muscle of self esteem. If you are ready to commit, then you are ready to build your case file of your excellence.
Self esteem is hard to achieve, so whilst we are on the climb, we can buoy ourselves on the opinions of others. Every time someone gives you a compliment or positive feedback on something, write it down.
I’ve pulled a few excerpts from my case file to inspire you, and added how it made me feel at the time.
|Who from?||Former boss||Former colleague||Former boss|
|What did they say?||Do you realise just how good you were in that meeting? Can you see how much you owned it? You are a true leader. In fact, you should be doing my job.||You are an exceptional leader and coach. You have a unique way of positioning questions and challenges to allow me to find ways forward.||Thank you so much for your amazing contributions to the company. You have been our cultural leader and I am honored to have had the chance to work with you.|
|How did it make you feel?||Like I was in the right place, like I had value.||Like I gave real value to those I worked alongside.||Over the moon, elated and thrilled to have had that impact.|
My case file of excellence was the beginning of me learning to truly see the value that I brought to the world. I kept it close to hand, so that in moments of self doubt, I could literally read for myself all the different wonderful things that others had said about me.
Please don’t spend your life not loving you. I promise you can change how you feel right now and start to believe in yourself. That belief may be the difference between you saying yes to your next opportunity vs saying no.
To my people pleasing peers and low self esteem-ers, I just want to remind you that:
- You are worthy of all the opportunities you have been given
- You are worthy of the love of all of those who love you and more
- You are witty, intelligent and have so very much to bring to the world
- You are safe to say you don’t know something and you will not be rejected
- Your needs are as important as everyone else’s
- When you start to have boundaries, you give the rest of us permission to do the same too
Perhaps it’s time for you to start building your own case file full of evidence of your excellence and amazingness…?
I believe in you.