Overcome your own hidden barriers to success

Do you find it more difficult than most to reach important decisions? When faced with a problem, are you able to stay reasonably objective or do you internalize the situation? Every individual perceives crises situations differently and thus, handles them differently. People with high self-esteem generally feel confident when faced with unexpected life challenges, while those with lower self-esteem constantly question their ability to cope with them. The good news is that through self-awareness you can work on “the weaker parts” of yourself and unleash your individual talents and uniqueness in all arenas of your life.  

Becoming more self-aware is not always easy or fun, however. Individuals must be completely honest with themselves, and this requires patience and perseverance. Low self-esteem may stem from the following: (1) negative childhood experiences, (2) repeating negative patterns in adulthood and (3) feelings of failure. 

Do newborn babies come into the world worried and distressed or do they come into the world clean and ready to explore? Unfortunately, as children we are unable to choose our environment or upbringing. All we have to go on is what our parents and schoolteachers tell us. Some parents praise their children by saying things like, “I’m proud of you” or “You did a great job.” Others criticize their children by saying things like, “You’re so stupid” or “You should know better than that.” Did you know that children actually pick up their own parents’ fears subconsciously and are victims of their parents’ projections? 

Now picture a child who was raised in a toxic environment for a moment. In this context, “toxic” means verbally and/or physically abusive surroundings. How does he or she learn to cope? This child has three choices: (1) He or she can follow their parents who lead them like “sheep”, (2) He or she can rebel against their parents or (3) He or she can go back and forth between the two behaviors. The point: when children grow into adolescence, they must find a “balance” between listening to their parents and making their own independent decisions. Toxic parents need to heal themselves so they don’t further contaminate their child’s mind.  

Low self-esteem may also stem from negative patterns continued through to adulthood.  Perhaps what you learned as a child is showing up in your own marriage and/or other relationships. Abusive relationships of any kind are “familiar” territory, and this “familiarity” is what perpetuates negative behavioral patterns to begin with. If “daddy” had a bad temper and hit his daughter, for example, that child (who is now an adult) might go out and marry a man just like him, if she fails to break the pattern through self-awareness work.  

Poor self-esteem may also arise from “feeling like a failure”. Individuals may perceive a life change or life challenge negatively or incorrectly. For instance, losing a job, doing poorly on an exam, or getting a divorce may feel like “the end of the world” to one person and a “temporary downfall” to the next. Individuals with low self-esteem internalize failure and always look for others to boost them because their environment doesn’t. Good psychotherapy can help. Speaking to a trustworthy expert helps repair a shattered self-image.  

Three tips on how you can boost your self-esteem are worth mentioning here: (1) Recognize your uniqueness, (2) Understand whom the problem belongs to and (3) Open up to someone trustworthy to guide you through the process. 

In order to recognize your uniqueness, ask yourself the following question and write down your answers: “What am I good / great at?”  If it’s music, writing, swimming or all of these things, right them down. By making a list for yourself, you will soon tap into your true self. The next step is to go out and do those things you love and further develop your skills.  

Next: understand that deep-rooted negative feelings come from being around toxic people for too long. Remember that critics really criticize what they don’t like about themselves. This is known as the “mirror effect.” Critics are subconsciously saying, “I see in you what I dislike in me.” By understanding that their views belong to them and not to you, your self-esteem is more likely to stay when negative words are said.  

A final tip to boost your self-esteem is to speak to a trusted friend or therapist. By opening up to a good listener who cares about you, you will begin to let go of negative feelings and toxins in the body and feel restored.  

Furthermore, until you deal with your self-esteem issues, business success cannot be fully achieved or enjoyed. By working on your self, success must follow. Ignoring your problems and repeating the same patterns is an unhealthy road to nowhere.  Poor self-esteem will linger in all of your business dealings. If you were obliged to behave like a “sheep” following your parents’ demands as a child, you might do the same thing in the workplace and get eaten alive “by wolves”. Take the first step and be honest with yourself about where you are in your life, and especially where you hope to see yourself in the future. 

Now picture this scenario: You see yourself as a child, struggling in a difficult or unhappy environment. You suddenly experience negative emotions you’ve kept bottled up for years. You discuss your feelings with a close friend or therapist. You find yourself letting go of everything you’ve kept so close to your heart due to feelings of shame. You suddenly feel light, like a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. You see how you’ve held yourself back from all the wonderful things you have yet to experience in life.

We are all beautiful human beings and we each have the right to be who we are. Unfortunately our environment may shape some of us to believe otherwise. The good news: healing comes from within and can be spread once we all recognize that everyone in this world is equal, and should be treated as such. 

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