“You have zero self-esteem, don’t you?”. This was a line from an episode of Vampire Diaries and I thought to myself, yes that was me at one point! With a childhood of school bullying and feeling like I couldn’t talk to my parents as they focused their attention on my Brother’s learning difficulties, I felt alone, unheard and unseen.
I lost my confidence and self-belief over the years, as I didn’t get my needs met, and my view of myself grew worse and worse. All manner of negative beliefs rose to the surface, including I’m not important, I don’t matter, I’m insignificant and I’m not going to amount to anything.
In my mid twenties I experienced a life changing event, which helped me change my view of myself. Slowly I started to move away from the fixed mindset that told me I would never amount to anything and soon started to lean into a growth mindset and invest in myself.
Since then I’ve been on a massive journey of self-development and the view I now have of myself and my capabilities is a far cry from the person I used to be. I’ve gone from corporate employee to Empowerment Coach for heart-centred entrepreneurs.
Keep reading to learn some of the powerful tools that I’ve used to find my way back from zero self-esteem.
Challenge your perception
One of the first things I did to increase my self-esteem was to challenge how I perceived myself. I was convinced I was stupid and ugly but with a new interest in Psychology I started reading…lots! Before long I was taking in new information, learning things that it turned out other people didn’t know, which made me feel pretty special. From there I went on to take an A level and degree in psychology and even got a distinction in my first year. This massively helped increase my sense of self-esteem and worthiness that I was capable of much more than I gave myself credit for and it gave me the evidence I needed.
Open to praise
One of the biggest signs of my low self-esteem was putting myself down and having an inability to take compliments. I’d always turn them around and find a way to turn the compliments into a negative about myself. I slowly started changing this and at first it was really difficult as I’d been running this pattern of behaviour for years and the bullying at school only built on my beliefs. But the more I practised taking compliments the easier it got and I started feeling better about myself. Now when someone gives me a compliment I can say ‘thank you’ and accept it with ease.
Ditch your comfort zone
I surrounded myself with friends that I felt were smarter and more successful than me, which really took me out of my comfort zone. Over time, I learnt that I was accepted for who I was and that I had value to give on my side. Whether that was through my sense of humour, interests or knowledge I’d learned along the way. This helped me see myself in a more positive light. So the lesson here is to surround yourself with people who are where you want to be.
Out with the old
As my self-esteem grew I realised I need an external as well as an internal change in my life in order to continue my journey of self-development. So in my early thirties I moved away from my hometown of St Albans, Hertfordshire, where I knew everyone and moved into London where I knew no one. This was one of the scariest things I had ever done. I felt I was leaving everyone behind, but by making this physical change, I opened myself up to new experiences, new friendships and a whole new world of possibility.
Change your identity
With a growing interest in self-development and following a double bereavement in my family I re-evaluated my life again, but on a much deeper level. I wanted to leave a legacy for my parents and so took the decision to invest in a change of career. I’d discovered coaching through The Coaching Academy and immediately fell in love with it! I trained as a Personal Performance Coach then as a NLP, EFT and Matrix Reimprinting Practitioner and Reiki Master.
With my new found skills I had so many tools and resources at my disposal to continue my own journey of self-development and that of my clients. I’d created a new identity for myself, which was hugely empowering in itself being able to call myself a coach, having spent 22 years previously working as an Assistant in corporate London, a role I fell into. I’d finally done something for myself and was living life on my terms.
Step into the unknown
This one thing has to have created the biggest growth in my life! Stepping out of the 9 to 5 and into running my own business and the world of entrepreneurship was hands down the scariest thing I had ever done! But with years of self-development behind me I had a much more positive view of myself by this point and knew that if I put my mind to it I could achieve anything I desired. Shifting from an employee mindset to an entrepreneurial mindset helped me take the lesson in the challenge and see failure as feedback in the right direction.
In the early years of my coaching business I soon became interested in spirituality (and the science behind it) and started following different mentors including Mastin Kipp and Gabrille Bernstein. Having belief in the law of attraction and Universal energy gave me a new strength and sense of belief and helped calm my fears and helped me step into love.
We all have our own faith systems, and it’s up to you to find one that works for you, that will support you as you navigate your journey of self-development. Seeing others make a success of their business gave me inspiration to believe that it was possible for me too. If they could do it, so could I and so can you!
I’d love to hear your takeaways, what stands out to you the most and what you’re going to implement into your life to increase your self-esteem. So do share in the comments below and let me know what you’re going to do to create the next phase of your life.To receive more support take the entrepreneurial confidence quiz and receive customised results with personalised action steps for that next level of personal growth.