How To Build Your Self-Esteem: Positive Focus

Attitude © by Heather T @

In my teenage years I spend a lot of time alone. I was convinced that people did not like me and that they never would like me. The odd combination of low self-esteem and a very high level of self-confidence made me seem extremely arrogant, bitter and negative. In the end it made me very lonely. I never spoke to anyone because I knew they would hate me. My isolation did not harmonise with my personality that is outgoing and talkative.

In my early twenties I realised this and I started to think about my own attitude. In general I had a very negative attitude towards everything. Even my humour was negative and sarcastic (well it still is sarcastic, but people seem to like it in small doses). I never smiled at anything and would only laugh if something bad happened to other people. I found that I did not even like myself very much, but I could not escape myself and even though I tried, I could not hide behind my flair and skills.

I started to adopt a more positive attitude. It was very difficult for me because of my profound negative attitude. The first task I gave myself was to write a journal everyday about whom I had talked to and what I said. My goal was to say something to someone every day. At first the journal only contained various sales assistant’s have-a-nice-day remarks. But this journal made me realise how important my own attitude was and how important it was to acknowledge and appreciate myself.

It took me about ten years to develop I fairly high self-esteem and today it is not a major problem to me. I get better every day and sometimes events from the past pops up and sometimes my former negative attitude comes out to say hallo, but in general my positive attitude has changed my life.

I will spare you a lot of work and reveal a small secret: For every negative situation you experience you have a wish for something better. Put focus on what you want instead of what you do not want. Ask yourself what you can do to get what you want instead of complaining about what other people did not do.

Task no. 13: Think about your general attitude towards yourself and the world around you. Spot negative thoughts and adopt a positive focus. Be careful and take small steps because this is a long process.

Who Are You?

Do you know who you are? If you do not know who you are, how can you expect others to know? It is extremely important that you know yourself to get on a good path in life. You are the only one you can be certain that will be there for your entire life. You cannot escape yourself and if you do not fulfil your needs and get to know yourself, then you will end up unhappy and lonely. Not even you will listen to you and how sad is that?

If you go to a shop that says: “This is a shop that sells stuff”, would your first thought be to go and buy that thing you had been looking for? – No of course not! But let us say that you are a very curious person and decide go in. The door at the entrance binds and you push hard to make it budge. You manage to make an opening just big enough to squeeze yourself into the shop. You see a lot of undefined stuff blocking the doorway and you decide to climb over it to get into the shop.

Inside the shop you look around. There are know signs to inform what kind of stuff they sell and ‘they’ are not to see anywhere. The shop seems deserted and undefined. It does not communicate any value to you, unless caving is your favourite pastime. Eventually the undefined stuff that is clogging up the shop will bore you and you will leave. The shop does not present any value to you and it does not seem to want anything from you.

The shop can only exist if an exchange of value takes place. The same goes for you! Put yourself instead of the shop. Are you like this shop? Do people leave without exchanging value? If you want people to visit your shop and stay for a cup of coffee, then you have to do something to tell people what you offer. When people notice what you have to offer then they will come and give whatever they have to give in return.

You have to go and explore every aspect of yourself and communicate all your discoveries to the world and people will join you and make your life the best thing that ever happened. There are 7 billion people in the world and I can assure you that some of them are bound to notice you and they will certainly like what you have to offer.

Exploring takes time; you have all life; now go explore yourself!

5 Ways To Get Out If Depressed

Depressed in Paris.... © by Toni Birrer

My back hurts and I just feel like lying down. The doctor says the pain is due to inactiveness and tells me exercise. But I cannot exercise because my back hurts and the only way to heal my back is to exercise… “ – I have heard this story I million times and I really do understand how hard it is to do one thing when every bone in your body want to do something else.

That is how depression is. We can all feel depressed now and then, it is like catching a cold that stays for a while and then gets better again. Some people are more depressed than other and the only thing you want to do is to isolate yourself and be alone and pity yourself and be negative about everything – the world really sucks when you are depressed! When you feel depressed all people are idiots that should go away and disappear.

But just like my introductory story about back pain that is cured by exercise, depression is best cured by positive experiences with other people. Here is what you can do:

  1. Take a walk! You do not need a purpose, just force your feet into their shoes and take a walk in the city. You will start feeling better almost immediately.
  2. Ask a friend out. Call someone – anyone – and meet for a cup of coffee at a café.
  3. Exercise. Go to the fitness centre or public swimming pool. Choose an activity where there will be other people.
  4. Seek crowds. If you see a crowd then go there and investigate.
  5. Say hello. Decide to greet a stranger. Say hello and smile to he first person you meet or maybe a facer or a shop assistant.

Believe me, you will feel better instantly!

How To Smile

Have you noticed that when people relax in their facial muscles then the corners of the mouth turn downwards? That often happens when you are very concentrated about something and it is quite natural, but think about if it is suitable for the situation. When the corners of the mouth turn downwards you look grumpy and distant. It does not mean that you are grumpy and distant but the world around you will perceive you like that.

If you feel depressed you do not feel like smiling, but do it anyway because smiling will make you feel better. People around you will seem more kind and happy to see you. If you have to ask someone about something, then who would you rather ask, they grumpy one or the smiling one? If you want other people to care for you, to notice you, to do something for you or to listen to you, then smile and you will get all that. Your smile will make other people happy and they will return the smile and make you happy.

You can smile by turning your corners of the mouth up a bit. They do not have to turn upwards, just make them at least straight. It does not take much effort; practise this in front of the mirror and you will see the massive change it makes to your face and attitude. You also have to pull the muscles at the corners of your eyes, just a little bit. It does not take much energy or effort, just practise this in front of the mirror and be aware of your smile when you are among other people.

I will give you two exercises that helped me:

  1. Do 100 smiles in front of the mirror every day. You need to tighten the muscles completely. It makes you look funny, but I will strengthen the muscles you need to smile.
  2. Collect smiles: Walk through town and catch peoples eyes while you turn your muscles a bit to straight or upward. Notice how many will smile back at you and notice the feeling inside yourself. It will give you self-confidence.

How To Eat

Although it seems like basic knowledge it is my experience that few people eat right. Your body needs fuel to function and it needs different kinds of fuel depending on its tasks. Food and eating right is a science and can occupy a large proportion of your time. Only few people want to spend all their time figuring out how to eat right.

I have spend a lot of time researching this topic and my conclusion is that if you optimise your food and eating habits your life will become difficult and lonely. Your quality of life will be reduced if you choose that path because living is much more than eating right. Sometimes it is better to eat unhealthy food. E.g. if you attend a party and you bring your own food because you only eat biodynamic raw cabbage, then people will consider you difficult and weird; you will be pushed to the rim of any social network and that is a very unhealthy place to be. It would be better to just eat what is there and enjoy every bit of it.

I have made a few rules of thumb that you can follow and they will guarantee that you get what you need to get through the day in a productive way:

  1. Eat breakfast every day.
  2. Most important meals are breakfast and lunch
  3. Focus on a varied diet
  4. Eat a lot of vegetables
  5. Avoid proteins after 19.00 (7pm)
  6. Eat snacks (and I do not mean candy bars!)
  7. Avoid processed food
  8. Combine your eating habits with sleep and exercise.