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What I Notice - Low Self Esteem

Updated: Nov 28, 2019

When we have a healthy self-esteem, we tend to feel positive about ourselves and about life in general, and we can handle challenges better. However, when we have low self-esteem, we tend to see ourselves and our life in a more critical and negative light. It affects almost every aspect of our lives, from how we think about ourselves, to the way we think or react to life situations.

Low Self Esteem affects people all over the world and from different walks of life, generally manifested by; Being extremely self-critical, downplay or ignoring your positive qualities, judging yourself inferior to your peers, using negative words to describe yourself, using unconstructive self-talk that involves blaming, criticism and negativity, not taking credit for your achievements, assuming that luck plays a large role in them, blaming yourself when things go wrong, instead of taking into account external factors like economic forces or actions of others over which you have no control, feeling uncomfortable or disbelieving when someone compliments you, hiding yourself away from social situations, stop trying new things and avoid things you find challenging. Low self-esteem should not be taken lightly, this is a growing worldwide problem and must be taken seriously as this can lead to other conditions such as anxiety and depression. Always seek professional help.

How does self-esteem affect fitness?

In my opinion, it’s low self-esteem more than lack of self-discipline, that hinders many from reaching their fitness goals. The most damaging element of Low Self Esteem is that little voice in our head, the one that says 'I can’t do that', 'I’ll never be able to look like that’ - This constant negative self-talk may just be thoughts in your head that you never actually verbalise, but it sabotages our success in everything, including our physical fitness. Moreover, when we have low self-esteem, the idea of exercising in a gym can be extremely daunting. Many are intimidated by the thought of a gym, with its mirrors, muscled bodies and hordes of gym goers exercising as if their lives depended on it. The reality, however, is that people in the gym aren't focused on you. Like you, they’re also just trying to lose some weight, build muscle or boost their overall fitness.

I have noticed many overcoming these issues unconsciously, with personal training or following a custom made exercise plan. In both cases, a trainer will show you how to train properly and use gym equipment with confidence for your fitness level. It’s far better than simply walking in and starting to work on random equipment. This will also help reduce worries that you think you may look odd (even though you don’t and nobody cares anyway).

Forget about simply "raising" your low self-esteem and transforming it into healthy self-esteem, we have to learn to change our basic view of self and transform our thinking and attitude. While this isn't a simple process and it will take effort, professional advice and vigilance to replace unhelpful thoughts and behaviours, I have listed some everyday tips that help in creating healthier habits leading to a healthier self esteem:

  • Make step-by-step goals. Discuss your goals with a professional to create the ideal strategy and plan for your fitness level, body composition, current lifestyle etc…

  • Challenge negative “self-talk” – every time you criticise yourself, stop and look for objective evidence that the criticism is true. You’ll realise that most of your negative self-talk is unfounded.

  • Acknowledge the positive. Don’t brush off compliments, dismiss your achievements as luck or ignore your positive traits.

  • Don’t compare yourself to others; recognise that everyone is different. Make an effort to accept yourself.

  • Appreciate your special qualities by reminding yourself of your good points every day. Write a list and refer to it often. (If you feel you can’t think of anything good about yourself, ask a trusted friend to help you with this.)

  • Forget the past – concentrate on living in the here-and-now rather than reliving old hurts and disappointments.



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