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Low self-esteem is one of the non-medical conditions with an adverse impact on our lives. Is there a cure for low self-esteem?

SUNDAY MAGAZINE
By James Gitau | June 9th 2013

By James Gitau

Low self-esteem is one of the non-medical conditions with an adverse impact on our lives.

People with low self-esteem can destroy families, organisations and even countries. Indeed, some of the people who caused the most immense misery to fellow human beings, for instance Adolf Hitler and Idi Amin, are said to have suffered serious low self-esteem.

This condition, as I shared last week, is said to be experienced by more than 80 per cent of the world’s population, yet many people are unaware that they suffer from it. If you missed last Sunday’s article, here are some of the symptoms.

Symptoms of low self-esteem

1. Defensiveness.

2. An excessive need for approval and love.

3. Poor relationships.

4. Promiscuous behaviour.

5. Excessive consumption of alcohol and  seeking distractions.

6. Perfectionism.

7. Lack of confidence.

 

When we see some of these traits in the people around us, we tend to label them ‘personality traits’. We say it is just who they are.

In my younger days, I had a bad temper and was very defensive; I blamed other people for my mistakes. I would drive over a curb while drunk and blame the damage on my car or the road designers.

Perhaps I was right at times; some of those curbs seem to appear from nowhere. Anyway, you get the point; I was ‘incapable’ of making mistakes.

My temper was attributed to the fact that I took after my grandfather. In other words, it was in my genes, or so my mother and most of my close relatives said. Talk of living in denial.

It took years of pain, alcohol abuse and a failed marriage, before I realised what was ailing me and sought proper help. No, I did not go to rehab, and you do not have to go to one unless you have serious addiction issues, which I did not.

Initially, I read every motivational book I could lay my hands on. I invested in my personal growth by going to numerous seminars and trainings across the world.

The investment has paid off, and it has been a healing and rewarding journey that, despite the pain, I could not exchange for anything in the world. I highly recommend to all who care to listen that the best journey you can take is one of personal growth (referred to by the mystics as enlightenment).

The Cure

Step 1. Awareness

Establish if you suffer from low self-esteem. A good indicator is to check if you have the symptoms indicated above.

You can also do more research on other indicators or ask a close friend or relative who knows you well for their honest opinion. This should be somebody you respect and who will tell you the truth because they care about you.

Step 2. Acceptance

Accept that you have an issue with low self-esteem and be okay with it. Do not feel guilty or shameful of this fact: It is better to know so that you can do something about it.

Be happy that you are one of the few who are aware of what ails you, and that you are at the starting point of an earnest journey towards healing and fulfilment.

Step 3. Get committed

Realise that you are worth much more and can move away from the life of misery to one of joy. Make a decision to do something about it. Set a goal by when to reclaim who you truly are. Be determined to make your life a masterpiece.

Step 4. Take action

There are many resources in form of books as well as audio and video recordings. While books and DVDs can help, a professional coach will certainly help you move faster towards your desired goal.

Many people are afraid of sharing their challenges with a professional coach because they are afraid of being judged negatively — another indicator of low self-esteem.

However, a true professional will empathise with you and treat what you share with him or her with utmost respect and confidentiality.

The other reason people fail to seek professional help is fear that it may be too expensive; yet another indicator of low self-esteem. Remember that your life is worth much more than any amount of money you can ever spend.

 


 

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