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How to Raise Your Self-Esteem

Updated on January 24, 2011
Sammy's art at age 9 on the left. More recent painting on the right. Note the lack of self-esteem in the words of Sammy when he introduces himself: "I'm a sort of detective."
Sammy's art at age 9 on the left. More recent painting on the right. Note the lack of self-esteem in the words of Sammy when he introduces himself: "I'm a sort of detective."

The Setting

When I was an early grade-schooler, I was poor, curious, a copycat, somewhat intelligent, a sinner and allergic to food.

Being poor meant I wore hand-me-downs. They were usually dirty and worn. I also did not know how to care for my teeth, so my breath was bad. I thought socks and underwear were to be worn until they fell off, and -- by the way -- I didn’t know the washer was supposed to be meant for me, too.

The curious in me helped me to learn about things that were hidden to the normal eye. This included what was under those attractive clothes.

The copycat drove me to see if I could draw like other people, and to draw things my curiosity drove me to. My intelligence helped me to do something with what I learned or copied. This meant I didn’t always need printed matter to fantasize, if you know what I mean. The result? I thought I was a terrible sinner, since my family was very religious. The sinner in me lowered my self-esteem, and caused the copycat to imitate those people I thought were righteous, so that people wouldn’t find out I was a sinner. In retrospect, I now see why people treated me like I couldn’t be trusted, or like I was a phony, which behavior also lowered my self-esteem.

Being allergic to food brought the necessity to take pills so I could eat. This caused me to be a zombie, and not learn anything in school. So the teachers treated me like a dummy. One of them even called me so in front of the class and invited me to go sit in the dummy section. This was factor number 149 in lowering my self-esteem.

The Remedies

Number One: Read the Other Hubs About This Subject
There is very good, sound advice in HubPages (e.g., see reasonablyspeaking's hub). My treatment is not professional, but is based only on my own experiences. What follows are the things that helped me out, to name only a few:

Number Two: Seek Liars
I had only one friend as a child. He praised my artwork. I’m sure he lied. But this helped my self-esteem. Lying is good in the beginning. Find someone who will lie to you. Later, when it comes to making money with your talent, then’s when you’ll need someone who will be ruthlessly honest.

Three: Enter a Contest
So I continued to hone my talents. When 13 years old, the confidence I had placed in my artwork had reached a sufficient level so as to feel okay about entering a Buck Rogers drawing contest in the local newspaper. I got Second Place, and my name in the newspaper. Though it wasn’t First Place, this put my self-esteem in overdrive. So enter some type of competition. Search out the local and easy ones to start with, to increase your chances of success. Also, work toward such a goal, and this will help you to perfect your talents.

Four: Communicate
Because of my low self-esteem, I was very shy. Therefore I didn’t talk much with other people. In later years, when I finally did start communicating, I found out that I wasn’t the only sinner in the world. I found out that no one is perfect, and that it’s a normal thing to stray from the path occasionally. So now you know that communication is important to finding out where you stand, which gives you courage to press on.

Five: Study Music or Perform a Community Service
Studying an instrument (or some uplifting hobby) is essential. You may have a talent that will work at home in your studio, or on the job, but playing a musical instrument or serving the public will bring more opportunities to spotlight you and your character. (Character is important: you can let prospective employers know you have good character by declaring that you play a certain instrument or that you do a certain service.) Choosing a noble cause or selecting a musical piece that is difficult and applying yourself to the piece with patience and persistence will do wonders for you in the eyes of others. I dabbled at the piano when I was young, but I took my first piano lessons in my sixties. I can play Chopin’s Polonaise - Militaire, now, quite easily. Though I’m going slower than what I’ve watched on the internet, people don’t seem to notice; they are amazed at my “talent.” So it’s never too late to start a worthwhile talent or hobby. (I’m gradually picking up speed on “Polonaise,” and I even play the eleven-finger chords.)

Six: Exercise, Exercise, and Exercise
I can think of at least three things that exercise has done for me: It has helped me to lose 30 pounds, it has solved my allergy problem, and it has made me less lazy. Associated benefits are: Losing 30 pounds help the self-esteem. Vietnam helped me to realize that you can sweat out much of the stuff that makes you itch. Now, I don’t need to take those pills and be a zombie (and a dummy) the rest of my life. I am now less lazy, which allows me to seek for greater goals and rewards.

Each of us is unique. Each has something that can be of service to others. Once an individual discovers this, he should have no other course to but to focus on that gift and multiply it until it carries him over the rainbow and on to greatness, if not to a feeling of self-worth and contentment.


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    • SamboRambo profile image

      Samuel E. Richardson 6 years ago from Salt Lake City, Utah

      Wrath, Thank my lucky Stars!

    • stars439 profile image

      stars439 6 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

      Wonderful Hub. Constructive, and Productive. God Bless You.

    • Wrath Warbone profile image

      Terry Chestnutt 7 years ago from Cleveland, Ohio

      EXCELLENT!! I will use these ideas without a doubt.