In our previous articles, we’ve looked at a total of eight potential signs of low self-esteem. The first article discussed thinking others’ poor behavior is a reflection on us, disliking the human race, perfectionism, over- and underachievement, and feeling “different” from others. The second article addressed dishonesty and poor boundaries.
In this article, we examine two more possible signs of low self-esteem and what to do about them. Remember, no single feature is a sure-fire sign of high or low self-esteem. It’s important to look at larger patterns of behavior to discover the truth about self-esteem.
1. Disinterest in Health
Interest in health can be someone’s hobby, passion, or necessary evil. To those with injured self-esteem, their health is often not even on the radar. It’s easy to understand the connection between low self-esteem and a lack of interest in one’s own health. Why would a person take good care of someone they don’t value?
If I don’t have esteem for myself, it’s not going to matter to me what kind of toxins are in the foods I eat, or how little I exercise, or whether I follow my healthcare provider’s instructions to the letter. Who cares? It’s just me we’re talking about here.
Closely related to a disinterest in health is a tendency to leave healthcare to the “experts.” To some extent, there is a generational factor at play: older people are slightly more likely to view doctors as the final word on their health, rather than listening to the wisdom of their own bodies and intuition.
If you’re under 50 and take no part in your health, then you may be suffering from injured self-esteem. Understand that you are important, that your happiness is important, and that your health is central to your quality of life. You deserve to feel good, to enjoy a body that works as well as possible, and to live the lifespan you’re designed to live—plus as many years as you can add by following a healthy lifestyle.
Challenge Your Patterns
Even if you don’t feel like you deserve it, pretend that you do and act accordingly. Sometimes acting “as if” really does make it so, and when it comes to building self-esteem, this is definitely true.
Get a book about health that piques your interest, and while reading it, think about applying its lessons.
By the way, if you think of “healthy” as being the same as “skinny,” you’re dead wrong. You can’t tell by looking at someone whether they’re taking care of themselves. Healthy people come in all shapes and sizes, just like unhealthy people. Please, for the sake of your self-esteem, focus on health, not size!
One of the three pillars of authentic self-esteem is intentionality: the act of setting your intention for the day, the week, the next five years, or your whole life, and then doing whatever is in your power to fulfill your goals. This is an activity that both promotes and rests on high self-esteem.
The opposite of intentionality is passivity. A passive person may have dreams, but they remain unfulfilled, awaiting action on the part of the dreamer. One of the saddest things to witness is someone with tremendous potential who refuses to take even one step toward fulfilling it.
Challenge Your Patterns
If you tend to be passive, realize that you can achieve wonderful things over time with teeny tiny steps. Want to change careers? Start by spending five minutes just concentrating on the fact that you want to make the change. Schedule those five minutes at least once a week, allowing (or forcing!) yourself to explore another career or interest you have that you’re sure will never go anywhere.
With passivity, doing something is more important than how productive what you’re doing might be. To get into a different groove, you have to re-train your brain to think, to do, to plan. Make it easy for yourself. Do, plan, or think about something that’s interesting and/or fun for you.
If you think doing something for just five minutes a week will take too long to yield results, ask yourself how long it will take if you continue doing nothing. Those five minutes represent a 100% increase in activity for a person who’s been stuck in paralysis. If this is you, congratulate yourself like crazy for sticking to your five-minute plan. You’re making a change and you will see results.
© Copyright 2010 by By Tina Gilbertson, MA, LPC. All Rights Reserved. Permission to publish granted to GoodTherapy.org.
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