How to Raise Your Self Esteem?

Self-esteem is so important, yet we tend to neglect this issue so many times. When we are more confident, we believe we are worthy of a good health, a fulfilling job, a wonderful partner etc. When we are not, we believe we deserve only mediocre results or less. Keep in mind, that there is no such thing as too high self-esteem. It is like saying you have a too strong immune system. Being confident and loving towards yourself, can only cause you to live more joyfully. How can we raise our self-esteem? I will describe some of the reasons for low self-esteem and what you can do to start raising it.

What might harm our self-esteem?

Our inner dialog- The things we say to ourselves on a day to day basis, are the ones that will determine our self-esteem level. Those simple words, are the ones that can predict how high we will rise or how low we might fall. It’s not other people’s words that hurt our self-esteem, it is only the way that we choose to interpret them, that can hurt us. We can hear great compliments, yet we might choose to ignore them, thinking that they don’t really reflect our true nature. It’s important to realize that we are the only ones that are in charge of our inner world. Only our thoughts can cause us to lose faith in ourselves and not any other word that came from someone else.

Generally speaking, there are 10 thinking patterns that most damage your self-esteem (you can read more about them in David D.Burns’s wonderful book- ‘Feeling Good’). I will describe 3 of those thinking patterns that are very common.

Wrong Conclusions: You might be in a hurry to reach conclusions, that have no actual facts to support them. This distorted thinking has two forms- “mind reading” and “predicting the future”.

“Mind reading”- You might be so certain that other people don’t appreciate you, that you don’t even bother to check the facts. For example: In the middle of an excellent lecture you give, you spot a man in the first raw sleeping. This man was awake all night long, but of course you have no way of knowing this. You immediately think that you are boring the crowd. This is obviously a wrong conclusion.

“Predicting the future”- you feel that something bad might happen, even though there is not any fact for supporting this prediction. For example: You need to give a lecture for your co-workers at work. You keep on preparing, yet you are sure it is going to be a disaster. You choose to ignore the fact that your co-workers really appreciate you and will keep on respecting you no matter what. You choose to keep on predicting the future in the way you see it.

Black and White thinking: This thinking pattern is characterized by the tendency to see everything as very good or very bad (black or white, without any other colors in between). Those kinds of thoughts lead us to an endless race towards being perfect. A race that will never be over, since being perfect is not a real option, it is just a fantasy you have created in your mind. Not being aware of that fact, will cause you to keep running towards the perfect life you desire and fearing the mistakes that might harm it. Every mistake you will make, might seem as the one that will cause you to lose everything you worked for. You fear mistakes, since you fear not being perfect. You might irrationally assume that the failure to achieve perfection, can imply that you are worthless. Unfortunately, the reality tends to ignore your plans and it keeps being as it is- not perfect.

It is easy to see how this sort of thinking can damage your self-esteem. For example: A top student, who gets only 90 or above, got a 70 once and immediately decided that he is a total failure. The example shows, how irrational this type of thinking really is.

“Must do” and “Must not do”: must sentences can cause many disturbances during our everyday life. When reality doesn’t fit our expectations, the must sentences that you keep throwing at yourself, might cause you to feel tremendous shame or guilt. Even other people’s behavior will not always fit your expectations and then you might feel anger and frustration.

It is your choice- if you don’t wish to spend your life being bitter, you will have to make some changes to your “must sentences”. But how can you make the changes? How can you change any of the thinking patterns listed above?

In order to make the change, you need to keep a journal. Spend 15 minutes every day, writing your disturbing thoughts (the ones that harm your self-esteem and damage your happiness). Write them on one side of the paper. Name that column – “Automatic thinking”. On the other side of the paper, write a logical answer for each disturbing thought. Name that column – “logical thinking”.

Example: let us assume that you have just got back from a date. It was terrible and you feel very disappointed. You keep saying to yourself that you are a looser and you might never find a partner. Write this thought on one side of the paper. Now, it is time to write a logical response to this thought. Keep in mind, that you need to do it on writing, since those thoughts are flying extremely fast in your mind and only when you write them you can give them the proper attention and gradually wipe them. Now, for an example of a logical response that you can write: “I had many great dates on the past and one bad date isn’t going to change everything. I am still pretty young and quiet attractive, so there is a good chance that I will find a partner and get married. I am definitely not a looser, only because one date went wrong. It is only natural that some dates will be better and some won’t be as successful.” That’s it… It’s an example for a logical response. It’s important to write things that are true and that you really believe in, so it will be easier for you to adopt this new logical thinking pattern.

For conclusion, I hope you will enjoy a high self-esteem, since you deserve it. Take the time and give yourself a little compassion. As always I wish you happiness! Feel free to leave your comments.

When You Don’t Get What You Want

Have you ever had a strong desire to reach a certain goal? Was there a time that you really wanted something and you just couldn’t have it? It might be a car, a relationship, a house, a deal, a test score, a job, a career etc. The questions are, what to do when in spite of all our efforts, we don’t get what we want? How to face the frustration of not reaching our goals? And how to face failure when it comes our way?

Be kind to yourself– see things in the right perspective. As Zig Ziglar said “Failure is an event, never a person”. You still deserve love and respect for trying your best. The willingness to rise after every wrong attempt, is our greatest glory.

Keep trying– If you are really eager to succeed you should “go from failure to failure without losing your enthusiasm” (Sir Winston Churchill). I know from my own experience at work, that seven or eight out of ten new attempts to make a profit, end up as failures. In order to succeed, I work hard and I just keep trying, until getting it right.

See the positive aspect– “Failure is the opportunity to begin again more intelligently” (Henry Ford). Take the time and think how you can improve your next attempt. Our failures force us to become better, whether we like it or not.

For conclusion, I can only wish you happiness! Leave your comments and share your opinion with me.

How to Become an Entrepreneur?

Maybe you are already a successful entrepreneur and maybe you are not even considering becoming one. I will share with you my own story.

Well, not long ago, about a year ago, I was working 16 hours a day, fighting to make a living. In fact, when I started as an online marketer, it took me 2 months, only to make my first $30. It was tough…

I believe you need 3 things in order to succeed as an entrepreneur in any field. It doesn’t matter if you want to build your online business or you are going to open a coffee shop- The principals remain the same to my opinion.

First Thing You need is persistence. Jim Rohn said it so well: “Resolve is promising to yourself, you will never give up”. A long the way, you will find many good reasons to quit. However, if you are really determined- they won’t matter so much.
When I worked around the clock and could barely make a living, friends and relatives constantly told me I should quit. I had only one thing on mind- If other people I knew, could reach the goals that I had and it has been done before, I can do it too (It’s only a question of time and persistence).
So how can you convince yourself to keep moving forward, when success seems so far away? Well, I love Thomas Edison famous quote, that articulate it so well: “If I find 10,000 ways something won’t work, I haven’t failed. I am not discouraged, because every wrong attempt discarded is another step forward”.

You need Passion for what you do. When you love what you do– it won’t seem as work at all. Passion will help you to grow your business and look for more ways to strengthen it. When you have many solid pillars to sustain your business, you will be more successful.

And last – you must have Faith. All of this is not possible without faith and positive thinking. You need to believe that you can reach your goals and that you deserve the best in life. Low self-esteem can many times damage your faith. When you feel worthy of your goals, you will have faith in yourself and you are more likely to reach your destination.

For conclusion, I wish you happiness and success.

How To Feel Great All The Time?

Well, that’s a tough question, But in the following post I will try to give you some answers. What leads me to write this post? In the past few days I have been working like crazy. I can certainly say that I was sometimes very enthusiastic (when coming up with new ideas) and sometimes quite discouraged (when working a lot and not getting results). Why we have different emotions and how can we tune our state of mind? Read on…

Well, the common belief is that it’s natural to have different emotions and we have minimum or no control over them whatsoever. Well, that is not quite true. We do have a variety of emotions and they are all legitimate, but we do have control over our general feeling, as I will describe. Emotions don’t just pop up and ruin our day or vice versa turn it to a great one. There is a reason for each emotion to rise to the surface and the reason is our thinking. Yes! that’s the reason and our life events play only a small role in the process. You may think that you are feeling great, because of your brand new car or your loving relationship. That’s part of it, But the truth of the matter is that your thoughts caused you to feel great. The point is that you respond to your daily events with different thoughts and those same thoughts cause your emotions. It’s not your emotions that lead you to have wonderful thoughts, but positive thoughts that started this whole magic process. So, the conclusion so far is that if you want to feel great all the time, you need to have positive thoughts all the time that will lead you to feel this way. Is that possible?

I am not sure. I know that I definitely don’t feel great all the time, But being aware of the process described earlier, I do my best to get rid of negative thoughts (less negative ones, leaves more room to the positive ones). How to get rid of negative thoughts?

First of all don’t fight them. Be aware of them and try to notice when a negative thought is running in your mind (In fact this little thought left untreated can cause you to feel worried or stressed a few days later- one tiny thought starts the whole process…). Now, each day take some time alone to analyze the negative thoughts you found running in your head during the day. Write each thought down and see if it is truly logical and worth having (I have described this process in a lot more details in the self-esteem post, that I encourage you to read). Afterwards, rephrase each negative thought in to a more logical and positive version. This process must be in writing and Yes it takes time. However, aren’t 15 minutes of your day worth your good feeling? Think about it….

For conclusion, if you make the effort to live a better and happier life, you will be rewarded (not always instantly, but it will pay off). Taking the time and shining your mind is a really good investment. Giving more awareness to your thoughts, will gradually lead you to have less negative thoughts (By writing the thoughts down as I described above). I can only wish you success and also that you will feel great (as often as possible) while facing your own life events, circumstances and challenges.

I Am Not Perfect

Well, the last week was quite enlightening for me. After struggling with my business in the last two months, I realized that I can’t always make things happen. I worked a lot during those months, but my income went downhill. Facing my own fears in the past week and admitting that my business model wasn’t as good as I thought it was, gave me a great sense of relief. Where it all started form?

As you know, I have started my entrepreneurship road in the last two years. I am an online marketer and being self-employed, gave me a lot of insights. Some of those insights have become very clear to me this week. One of the main reasons that my income went down, is forgetting where it all started from. Once, when I began I wanted to build a stable business model, that will give value to other people and will make me a stable profit (that will gradually increase). However, a few opportunities to make a high profit, which was short term, got me out of my track. I succeeded to make money in those opportunities, but my mistake was (which is a pretty natural one) that I began chasing those opportunities. I wanted to make more profits and fast- I didn’t thought long term. The result wasn’t late to come- I have left with almost no profit at all in the last month. But, wait…

Well, the story is an optimistic one  . After admitting my mistakes in the last week and facing my fear that it might be that there is no future in my business, I felt like a rock got off my chest. When I told my friends and family about my mistakes, I felt even better- I felt that it is totally fine to be wrong sometimes (I am not perfect after all…  ). So what is the optimistic side?

Besides from sharing my mistakes and feeling good about it, I have begun thinking on new business models that will sustain for more time. I actually feel quite optimistic and it seems that things will work out. The lessons I got on the way, were definitely worth it. Now I realize that challenging times will come, but planning ahead will make them a lot easier next time.

 

How to Overcome Fear and Anxiety?

All of us experience fear from time to time. Certain situations can arouse anxiety in some of us. The question is how can we overcome those uncomfortable emotions?

First step- Don’t deny your fear or anxiety. Keep in mind that denying an emotion isn’t going to make it go away. When you know that fear is a natural response to certain situations in life, you become more tolerate towards it. You wish it to vanish, but in order for that to happen, you shouldn’t fight it. Recognize that there is a fear and accept it. This fear can’t hurt you in any way and therefore there is no need to fight it. In most cases, we choose to fight our feelings and get angry at ourselves. This approach can only intensify the unwanted emotion. Example- let us assume that you are headed toward a job interview and that you are eager to get the job. You are excited and you fear whether or not you will get the job. You know that you need to think clearly and impress the interviewer in order to get this competitive position. One possible response is to get angry at your fear. You try to reject your fear and calm yourself for the interview, but the harder you push against your fear only intensify it. The second possible response is to accept that there is a fear. You can remind yourself that it is only natural to have a certain amount of fear before an interview. You can also remind yourself that no matter what happens, you will still remain the same and the people who love you, will continue to love you, no matter what. When thinking at this manner, it is possible to diminish the fear and have a much more positive attitude towards the interview.

Second step- Analyze the situation. Is there really a reason to be afraid? You should analyze the situation. Remind yourself that a job interview, a date, an important test or any other situation that might cause you to be afraid, can do no harm for you. On the other hand, a hurricane, a tsunami or an earth quake can sometimes cause a lot of harm. In those cases a certain amount of fear, can help the person that is in danger to function more rapidly. The “fight or flight” response that is felt during fear or anxiety, was supposed to help us survive dangerous situations. When encountering a real danger, the “fight or flight” response that we feel, can make us ran more fast or do anything much more efficiently. Therefore this response was “designed” to help us. The problem is that in our days, we seem to see many situations as fearful ones. We need to stop and think, if there is really something to be afraid of.

Third step- You need some positive thinking. It is well known that positive thinking is an efficient antidote for fear. When you see all the positive aspects of your life and give thanks for them, you will feel that you are lucky. Feeling this way will cause you to seek more proofs for being lucky. That will cause you to see your life as an adventure with good surprises, instead of a long route with bad things that might happen to you on the way. It is all a matter of perspective and you can choose in which manner to see things. Becoming more positive isn’t something that is done instantly. But, cultivating more and more positive thinking can help you see your life in a much brighter perspective.

For conclusion, I can only wish you success and happiness. You can read more on bad habits and how to get rid of them. Feel free to write your opinion in the responses.

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

It’s quite funny, we desire to get more and more comfort, But the true freedom is found outside our current boundaries. Protecting your comfort zone may seem as the most reasonable thing to do, but taking risks and moving out of that zone, can bring you many great gifts. So where to start your journey?

I believe awareness is the first step and it precedes any major change in your life. I think that spending some time alone each day in order to reflect can really put your life on the fast track. In today’s culture we rarely have a few minutes for ourselves to sit and think quietly. Thinking and being aware to what you are currently doing in your life is one of the best formulas to get better. I try to spend half an hour a day reflecting, thinking what am I doing right and what am I avoiding from doing, just to protect my current comfort zone.

Put it a goal to do the things you know you need to do, whether you like it or not. When you put on a new pair of shoes, they are not so comfortable at the beginning and it may take some time for you to get use to them. The same way goes with every new habit you try to adjust for your life. Undergoing some discomfort for a short period of time can bring you great rewards for the future- the question is what do you prefer? The best thing about getting out of your comfort zone is the sense of “high” that you get every time you manage to do something that was considered impossible by you.

I want to share a short story from my past. A few years back, I needed to give lectures from time to time. I must say that only thinking about standing in front of a large crowd made me very nervous. Anyhow I knew only one thing- my goal was to get out of my comfort zone (which in this case was avoiding as much as I can from giving lectures). I didn’t make it a goal to give the best lectures in the world. I made another goal- to tackle my fear, to face the discomfort and win. I set a goal to make as many lectures as I could and to take each chance I have to acquire more experience. The first time I was nervous, the second time was much better and after 10 more times It felt pretty natural for me. I don’t know what stops you and where are the boundaries of your comfort zone, but you should make it a goal to expand those boundaries and to aim to act as if you have no restraints.

Taking the time to stop and think pays off, to analyze why we do what we do and what stops us from doing or achieving what we want. I try to take the time and find new ways to get better in my life- to challenge myself, to stretch and getting where I want. It’s an endless road, but it’s rewarding- getting out of your comfort zone demands a lot of courage and persistence, but the satisfaction and happiness that come along with it make it all worthwhile.

Are You Doing Your Best?

A good question to ponder is are you doing the best you can do. It’s good to ask yourself from time to time, are you really making the most out of your career, out of your relationships… Are you leaving a legacy behind you, are you doing the things that really matter to you? Taking the time to ponder on these questions, can yield a lot of benefits.

I guess that there are always some areas of life where you can stretch yourself more. Put more effort, challenge yourself. You might ask yourself why go through all this discomfort, why work so hard? Why try to be the best you can be at work? Why try to make the most out of your relationships with your close ones? Why go through all that effort? If you think about it for a second, Why not? That might be the best answer. This is the best time to do all the things that are really meaningful and important for you.

It’s a bit ironic that we might strive to become better and earn more money, only in the hope that our lives will become more comfortable. Comfort might be important for some extent, but it can’t bring us more happiness after a certain amount of it. We sometimes confuse comfort as some measure that defines the quality of our lives. Our happiness and our general well-being aren’t so effected from our level of comfort in life. In fact, it’s in the times that we are less comfortable that we tend to grow and develop. Those not so pleasant times can be the best times for our inner growth, for developing a better self-esteem and feeling generally happier. This is also why it’s important to challenge yourself all the time and not feeling too comfortable.

In conclusion, when you take one of your next breaks, take some time to ponder alone. Ask yourself some questions and take the time to think about them. You are not in a race, but you are definitely been given a rare opportunity to do what you want to do in life. So just take the time to see if you are doing what you really want and where you might improve things a little more. Good luck

How to Get Rid of Bad Habits?

We all know the feeling of doing something which seems wrong, but nevertheless we still do it. We all sometimes crave for one more piece of cake, even though we have eaten more than enough….It can also be the cigarettes that some of us wish to smoke, when we consciously know that it is bad for our health. Worries are another example of bad habits, since they cause us a lot of tension and anxiety and 99% of the things we worry about, never come true. So how can we overcome our bad habits?

Well, our first instinct, is to fight the habit. This is exactly the reason, why most times we try to overcome a habit, it comes back. We give so much energy for rejecting the habit, that it just empowers it. In order to leave a habit behind, you need to just let it go. When you face your current situation with courage and look at your bad habits directly – you see that you are only human and it’s normal. After facing the habits and not denying them, you should try to get rid of them by being more compassionate towards yourself. Instead of beating yourself for doing what you do, you need to give more love and compassion to yourself – this is the key for moving forward. How can you do that?

Start by being a good friend to yourself. Yes…Your relationship with yourself, are probably the most intense one you ever had. Nevertheless, we only sometimes stop and think, if we are being kind enough to ourselves. It seems that we feel comfortable to say terrible things to ourselves, that had we said them in public, we probably won’t had any friends left. When we go to eat another piece of chocolate cake, we might beat ourselves afterwards and say things like ‘I can’t believe I did it, I’m already fat and now I am getting even fatter…I am so irresponsible… maybe there is something wrong with me… etc. Had we say things like that to the people we know, we won’t had any friends left. It seems that we feel comfortable enough with ourselves for not being kind enough. The key for leaving the unhealthy habits behind, is to realize that this attitude only gives more strength to the habit. When you love yourself, you don’t want to do bad things for yourself. When you give more love to yourself, you don’t wish to fill yourself with another piece of cake or another cigarette. When there is someone you love, you make your best to take care of him – you don’t stuck another cigarette to his mouth, you don’t fill his mind with endless worries, etc… You need to treat yourself like you treat the ones you love – When you will act this way, the bad habit will vanish.

For conclusion, try to be a bit more compassionate towards yourself. You might be overweight at the moment, you might smoke a lot or worry too much. But, the main issue is that you still deserve love and compassion and this is the key for change in your life. It reminds me of a nice metaphor – Once the sun and the wind argued who can cause a person to take off his coat. The wind said, it can do it for sure and it started to blow. The wind blew as hard as it can, but the man just kept holding his coat harder and harder. After all its efforts, the wind gave up. Finally, the sun came out, showed it sunny rays and the man instantly removed his coat.

How to overcome Insomnia?

You are lying in bed and you just keep on tossing and turning. The thoughts keep on running through your head. The hour is getting late and you’re still not able to sleep. What to do? How can you function the next day, if you can’t get a reasonable amount of sleep? Well, these are all good questions and I will try to answer them and help you gain a better sleep, by giving you 5 tips you can imply, the next time you are in bed.

First Tip- Don’t fight with your sleep. If you can’t go to sleep within 15 minutes from going to bed- get up and do something else. Try to do some boring activity, you have been putting away for a long time. By doing so you gain two benefits- You become more sleepy (when you lie in bed and force yourself to sleep- you only become more stressed) and you don’t waste your time – you use it in order to complete an activity, that you considered too boring to do in the past.

Second Tip- You can count on your body to get the amount of sleep you need. If you have slept only a few hours last night or havn’t slept at all- there is no reason for worry and that is because your body will find the time to gain the sleep it needs. You might go to sleep earlier after not getting much sleep the night before or maybe you will catch up after a few sleepless nights. Either way- your body will know how to maintain itself and get the rest it needs. You should trust your body, listen to it and give it the option for proper rest when it needs it.

I think that Tohomas Edison and his sleep patterns are very inspiring and they are described by his wife in the book “The power of positive thinking” by Norman Vincent Peale- “It was Mr.Edison’s custom to come into the house from his laboratory after many hours of labor and lie down on his old couch. He would fall asleep as naturally as a child, in perfect relaxation, sinking into a deep and untroubled slumber. After three or four, or sometimes even five hours he would become instantly wide awake, completely refreshed, and eager to return to his work.”

Third Tip- Don’t invite unwanted partners. Imagine yourself lying in bed, while a couple of bears are lying beside you- can you go to sleep like that? Probably not. The same goes to worry, anger or fear. Before getting to bed, you need to let go of all the emotions that can easily keep you awake. How can you let go? By simply letting go. Tell yourself you did your best today and you hope for the best tomorrow. You can also imagine, with your eyes closed, how you remove each disturbing thought. You can see yourself as a tiny person that removes all the disturbing thoughts one by one from your mind.

Fourth Tip- Spend some time alone meditating every day. By doing so you will be able to fall asleep faster and your sleep time will be more efficient. In our days it’s hard to find 15 minutes for yourself, but you must. I believe that spending 15 minutes a day concentrating on your breathing and body sensations, will calm your mind and improve your health.

Fifth Tip- fill your mind with faith and gratitude. Think of all the things you take for granted in your life and you should be feeling more gratitude towards. Keep in mind that not everyone are lucky as you. Even in your worst times, there are still many things you can be thankful for and you can still consider yourself lucky in many ways. Why is it so important? Because it will cause you to feel more joy and happiness, which as a result will calm your mind. In the end this is our biggest purpose- to achieve more happiness, which is much easier than we tend to think. You can achieve it by simply helping others get more happiness and also feeling gratitude for your blessings in life.