Beat Low Self-Esteem with Science

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Now, let’s dive in!

Today, I'm going to unpack the science behind low self-esteem and guide you through understanding and addressing it to boost your leadership abilities.

Grasping the science is key because it offers insights into why you feel the way you do and how you can make lasting changes.

The reward? A stronger, more confident leadership presence that feels better and elevates your team's performance and morale.

Unfortunately, many leaders overlook the importance of understanding the science behind low self-esteem. They continue to struggle with its effects, unaware that knowledge could empower them to make effective changes.

The Science Behind Low Self-Esteem

Understanding how our thoughts, feelings, and brain chemistry intertwine is essential for addressing and overcoming self-esteem issues.

Here are 4 factors that influence our self-esteem:

#1: Our Body’s Chemistry: Many see low self-esteem as just a psychological issue not realising that our body’s chemistry plays a significant role.

Think about the days you feel off because you didn't get enough sleep—that's your body's chemistry affecting your mood and how you see yourself.

#2: Our Neurotransmitters (aka our ‘Mood Regulators’): We often overlook how neurotransmitters affect our confidence. Imagine these as dials controlling how we feel and see ourselves.

When they're not set right—due to stress, poor sleep, or other factors—it can directly impact our self-esteem, making us feel less sure of ourselves.

#3: Habitual Patterns: Recognising negative self-talk is one thing but understanding it’s a habitual pattern that has developed over time helps us tackle it more effectively.

Think of it as a default reaction, often kicking in automatically during times of stress or challenge, which significantly shapes our self-image.

Resilience training provides the tools to break these patterns and create new, positive pathways.

#4: External Factors: Our self-esteem is shaped early by the experiences of our childhood years and the societal expectations we grow up with.

From the praise, or criticism, we received as children to the relentless comparison facilitated by social media as adults, these experiences accumulate.

They subtly dictate how we act, feel, and think about ourselves, often setting an internal standard that's tough to meet.

But here’s the good news: I'm about to show you how you can leverage the science of low self-esteem to understand it better and, most importantly, overcome it.

3 Key Steps to Rebuild Your Self-Esteem

Step 1: Understand Your Brain

Recognise that your feelings of self-worth are not just "all in your head" in the figurative sense—they're also in your head in a literal, biological sense.

Research shows areas of the brain like the prefrontal cortex (involved in decision-making and self-reflection) and the amygdala (involved in processing emotions) play key roles in how we perceive ourselves.

Understanding this helps you see that changing your self-esteem involves changing your thoughts and potentially altering your brain's activity and chemistry through new experiences and habits.

Step 2: Identify and Modify Your Thought Patterns

Where many go wrong is by trying to ignore or suppress negative thoughts.

Instead, identify these patterns and understand their origin—whether they stem from past experiences or societal messages.

Challenge these thoughts by questioning their accuracy and reframing them more positively. This approach helps alter the thought patterns associated with negative self-perception, leading to lasting changes in how you see yourself.

Step 3: Leverage Neuroplasticity

Your brain is capable of change throughout your life, a concept known as neuroplasticity.

By engaging in positive new experiences and practising mindfulness and self-compassion, you actually 'rewire' your brain to support higher self-esteem.

Regularly practising these strategies reinforces positive pathways in the brain, making them more automatic responses rather than falling back on old patterns of low self-esteem.

Closing Thoughts

Understanding the science behind low self-esteem and acting on this knowledge can transform your self-perception and leadership.

Adopting strategic changes that leverage how our brains function and integrating resilience into your daily habits paves the way for a leadership approach that's more confident and effective.

This ensures that you not only recover from setbacks but also capitalise on them to foster personal and professional growth.

To discover more about the signs of low self-esteem and practical strategies to overcome it, don’t miss my article, ‘Boosting Self-Esteem’.

Further Reading

For a deeper dive into self-esteem check out these must-read books:

  • ‘The Six Pillars of Self-Esteem: The Definitive Work on Self-Esteem by the Leading Pioneer in the Field’ – Nathaniel Branden

  • ‘The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are’ – Brené Brown

  • ‘Ten Days to Self-Esteem’ – David D. Burns

Thanks for reading and I hope you found this useful.

It’s a bit longer than my usual format but I believe that understanding what’s behind our challenges makes them far easier to overcome.

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Until next time,

Kaley ✨

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