While there are several factors which contribute negatively towards bringing in a sense of harmony in your life, the one factor which for me has a great influence is your level of ‘Self-Esteem’.
Your self-esteem levels have a direct influence in your ability to be ‘assertive’ and therefore on your ‘time-mastery’. We know that in order to manage time better, we need to be able to manage our expectations and commitments well. We also need to be able to manage and deal with our stakeholders who as we have seen in the earlier episode are integral for harmony in life.
How do you identify that you suffer from ‘low self-esteem’?
Nothing is more stressful than lacking the secure anchor of self-esteem. A low self-esteem can lead to several toxic relationships, extra stress and a sinking mood. And along the way, you just don’t enjoy yourself as much as you could.
Here are some of the signs that you could be suffering from low or shaky self-esteem.
Being self-critical and negative people with shaky self-esteem are often extremely self-critical and unforgiving of themselves. It leads them to negative thoughts about all what they do, and holds them back from all they want to do in life. That which would make them happy. Such people beat themselves up for everything, even when they’d do a good job. Because, they feel they could always do better. A level of dissatisfaction sets into all what they do.
Fear of committing mistakes or failure People with a shaky self-esteem would always feel that they committed a mortal sin each time they make a mistake or encounter failure – whether big or small. All mistakes are magnified and the guilt and shame makes them want to crawl under a rock. Making mistakes becomes a gnawing cycle that also chips away at their already unstable self-esteem.
Sense of worthlessness People when unable to live up to the ‘imagined’ expectations of ‘self’ and ‘others’ get into the trap of feeling worthless and incapable which adds to low self-esteem. It then starts a spiral of poor performance in their academic, professional and personal life. They will then be fearful of undertaking tasks or do things in those parts of their life that would magnify their sense of worthlessness.
Sensitivity to criticism If you are ‘touchy’ of any negative feedback or criticism which comes your way then surely it’s a sign of a shaky self-esteem. It triggers in you those emotions which negatively contribute to your sense of worth. Any criticism is taken as a sign of failure and then you go into a ‘flight’ or ‘fight’ mode of response. If you catch yourself getting angry or withdrawn at the first sign of criticism then you are surely on shaky ground
Passive-Aggressive behavior If you are a person who finds it extremely difficult to say ‘no’ or state what you feel upfront and choose to remain silent then you are being ‘passive’ in your behavior. This behavior may lead you to accept whatever is thrown at you and make commitments which you may not be prepared to handle. You tend to get overwhelmed and the mountain of expectations and your inability to deliver on all starts to eat away at your self-confidence. This is surely going to affect one or the other part of your ‘wheel-of-life’ and lead to excessive stress. In the same vain, if you suffer from low self-esteem, you are also prone to demonstrate ‘hostility’ and an ‘aggressive’ behavior as a response to what life throws at you. You would like to avoid making commitments and use hostile behavior to brow beat stakeholders in the process leading to conflicts and stress in relationships. People end up showing or are prone to aggressive behavior when they have subjected themselves to prolonged periods of ‘passivity’ waiting to explode. So, if you find yourself frequently demonstrating these behaviors, it is time you looked at building some self-esteem.
Social withdrawal people with low self-esteem are known to withdraw from social setups. Such people are prone to excessive thinking and comparing of themselves with others and feeling inadequate. Their own high expectations of themselves, fear of committing mistakes or failure, sensitivity, low self-worth etc., force them to withdraw socially and use avoidance as a strategy to hide their lack of confidence or low self-esteem.
Lying to impress People who have low self-esteem also are prone to lying and hiding behind masks. They try to put up a false-front to impress others. Over prolonged periods this falsehood becomes their reality and affects all their transactions with the outside. They end up expending a lot of energy in sustaining this false-front, which in turn starts to effect the quality of their work and performance.
These are some of the factors which directly affect your sense of ‘control’ and harmony in your life.
Work-life balance or ‘Harmony’ will remain elusive unless you are willing to work on your self-esteem.
Fortunately, self-esteem isn’t set in stone. It takes time and practice, but you can absolutely lift low self-esteem and develop respect, appreciation and unconditional love for yourself.