When you think about improving your self-esteem, it’s natural that you would look inward for areas to improve. But, instead of looking inside for all the reasons you’re not more confident or successful, let’s look at your environment. Changing your environment can boost self-esteem.
Low self-esteem and a lack of confidence can be caused by a number of things. While it’s true that there are internal things that cause low self-esteem, there are external factors that also contribute to low self-esteem.
Take a few moments and think about these environmental factors that can affect self-esteem.
Are You Hiding Your Light?
Hiding your light is showing up smaller than you can. Hiding your light is deferring to others and staying silent when you have something valuable to offer. Hiding your light is developing the habit of half-stepping your way through life, surrounding yourself with people who are comfortable with you hiding your true energy.
Sometimes our self-esteem tells us we’re small because we’re hiding our light and acting like we aren’t all that we really are. The consequence is that we feel small because we’re living small. This doesn’t mean that you have to drop everything and go backpacking through Europe right now or that every moment of your life has to be an epic adventure.
But for many people with low self-esteem, it’s easy to get into a rut. You start believing that you can’t do better and so you stop trying. You create a self-fulfilling prophecy without realizing it. Look at your life right now. What limitations have you accepted without challenging them? What areas of your life have you accepted as “good enough”?
Are you Investing Too Much Time in Nickels and Dimes Instead of Dollars?
We are deeply influenced by the people we spend time with. This can be a good thing if you’re spending time with positive people. But if your friends and family are unkind or negative, that same attitude can rub off on you.
I was telling a client last week that I am using a new system to help me decide where to invest my time. The more negative people who don’t make me feel my best, are nickels and dimes. They still have value, but it’s 5 or 10 cents. The people who challenge me, support me, really SEE ME, those are 50 cent pieces, or even dollars.
So I continue this journey, it’s simple for me to evaluate where I invest my time but thinking of the value of a dollar. I don’t need to get upset by or move mountains to spend time with nickels when I could be with my dollars.
Ask yourself how you’d feel if you didn’t speak to a certain friend or family member for a week. Would you feel relieved at the thought of missing your cousin’s rants about the job she hates? Would you feel sad if you missed that call from your chosen-sister who helps you see the best in the world?
If there’s someone negative in your life, you don’t have to cut them out completely. But do look for ways to limit your time together and don’t be afraid to change the topic of conversation if things take a negative turn. Give them a nickel or dime-size amount of attention and save the bigger time slots for the relationships that improve your self-esteem and move you forward.
Are You Living on Rewind?
Often a lack of confidence and self-esteem can be caused by becoming too comfortable. You do the same things in the same way every single day, on auto-pilot, without even thinking. You don’t change anything up. You don’t challenge yourself to experience new things and you don’t go beyond what’s safe and comfortable. This sleepwalking thru life can cause you to stop growing as a person.
I am guilty of this. If I get a new album I often fall in love with one song, (Yes, Adele, I’m talking about When We Were Young. Oh and you, too, Sia, with your Bird Set Free-singing self.) On its face, there is nothing wrong with that. (here comes my big butt) But I find myself listening to that one song over and over and over. On repeat. Like, a ridiculous number of times. I dig the song, I feel it at a deeper level got it. BUT, there is other beautiful music in the album. Enjoying the other music doesn’t mean I don’t really like the first song, right? Who says I can only enjoy one musical experience? Nobody. So why the self-imposed limit?
When you go outside your normal and look for new experiences, you open yourself up. You discover new ways to do things, new places to do them, and new skills to use. You find solutions that you wouldn’t have come up with any other way. You learn more about yourself and the world around you.
You can find new experiences into your life just by looking for opportunities outside of your comfort zone, that’s where all the juicy stuff is. Try a different type of food. Drive a different route to work. Volunteer at an organization that you’ve never supported before. Show up in a new way and see how the universe responds.
Your environment shapes your self-confidence, so don’t be afraid to look around at your life and make some changes. Changing your environment can boost your self-esteem, don’t miss it. Surround yourself with people and experiences that build up your self- esteem and make you happy.