How to Feel Good About Yourself

Self-esteem can be defined as one’s opinion of oneself as a person, the pride you have in yourself or your self-respect. The term also has evolved over time.

Matthew McKay and Patrick Fanning, in their book Self Esteem (first published in 1987), describe self-esteem as the emotional sine qua non (or a necessity); consultant Alan Weiss, who has done tremendous work in the area of self-esteem, describes the word as a verb — an action that leads to self-confidence; and I consider self-esteem a critical mental condition that allows you to acquire the skills required to persuade. Think of it as your persuasion foundation.

However you describe self-esteem, you’ve got to have heaps of it if you’re going to be successful in the world of persuasion.

“Mental toughness is essential to success,” Vince Lombardi once said. He should know: He led the Green Bay Packers to victories in the first two Super Bowls. And just as you can train your physique to win football championships, you also can train your mind to win persuasion championships.

Beware Your ‘Pathological Critic’

Mental self-flagellation destroys self-esteem, as you chastise yourself for screwing up a report or questioning why you didn’t present the statistics before you shared your opinions in the board meeting. Unfortunately, people with lower levels of self-esteem hear this sort of mental self-flagellation with increasing (and concerning) frequency. Psychologist Eugene Sagan labeled the phenomenon and coined the term for this as “pathological critic.”

Whether your own pathological critic took up residence in your head during your early years or later in your professional life doesn’t matter. Either way, you’ve now got your own mental drill sergeant to deal with on a daily basis. How will you respond?

Banish Polarized Thinking

Another detriment to consistent and positive self-esteem is a mind-set that allows you to view every situation as black or white, with absolutely no in-between. People are either with you or against you. Every action you take, every person you meet, is organized into such a dichotomy. With every piece of positive feedback from others, you’re on top of the world. At the slightest criticism, though, you’re in the doldrums. You’re self-worth is either towering or cowering. I refer to this phenomenon the crazy circles of inconsistent self-worth.

Stop it! Consistent self-worth is important to your long term persuasion success. So don’t get too “up” when you experience success, and don’t get too “down” when you experience setback.

Remember: The psychology of self-esteem — and thus self-persuasion — is all about consistency.

0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *