By: Kathy Shalhoub

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There’s a theory going around these days that most of the world’s problems can be traced back to low self-esteem and most of people’s problems arise from low self-esteem as well, whether they know it or not. So I wanted to investigate the idea of self-esteem a little bit because being successful at anything we do, hinges of having a certain measure of self-esteem, right?

Self-esteem is basically our overall appraisal of our own self worth and it allows people to be convinced that they deserve happiness! It helps us face life with more confidence and optimism, and therefore makes it easier for us to achieve our goals.

Self-esteem is related to three things: our values, our beliefs and our rules.

Values are such deep-seated beliefs that we accept them unconditionally and see them as reality. They guide what we see as right or wrong. We rarely question our own values because in our eyes they are the truth. Honesty, hard work, beauty, failure is bad, or the ends justify the means are all examples of values. Values are extremely hard to change.

Beliefs are the conscious and rational justifications associated with values. If youth is the value, the associated belief is that being young is being strong, loved, attractive, healthy, accepted, accessible, etc… These can be changed but you have to work hard at it.

Rules are things that we have learned along the way and are the easiest to change. They are how we play the game.

To raise our self-esteem we either need to change our beliefs or change our rules because unless these three factors (beliefs, values and self esteem) are aligned, we will never get the things we long for.

Say we value success or achievement and our belief is that having a good title at work is a great indicator of success, but our rule is never to blow our own trumpet (or that self promotion is vain and self serving). What happens is that we don’t get that promotion we were hoping for or that job that we really wanted. This has the negative effect of lowering our self-esteem. We will end up always asking ourselves the same question: How come I never get the opportunities that other people get?!

So what do we do? Well we either have to change our rule (It’s ok to blow your trumpet sometimes!) or change our beliefs (you don’t need to be CEO/Director/Manager to say you are successful or have achieved something!).

Figuring out what your beliefs, values and rules are is not always easy, but starting with a question that you always ask yourself about life is a good start. From there try to work backwards and see what you come up with. Factors that sabotage your self-esteem are also sabotaging your opportunities for success, whatever the measure of success is for you!

Blogger’s Bio: Kathy studied engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and has a PhD in Marine Sciences from the University of Paris. She is also a writer and published her first book, Life as a Leb-neh Lover, in 2010. Kathy is fascinated by matters of the mind, self discovery, self acceptance and personal development and is currently researching these topics. Check out her blog, ‘like’ her on Facebook or follow her on twitter @Lebneh_Lover.

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