"Lack of something to feel important about is almost the greatest tragedy a person may have." - Arthur E. Morgan
Most people experience different degrees of self-worth depending on what’s going on in their life. For example, you might wake up in the morning feeling great and then you get an email from your boss and the rest of your day goes downhill from there. Self-esteem isn’t something that remains static. It changes according to your experiences and mindset.
How much it changes depends largely on your awareness and your ability to let go of any injuries to your self-esteem. The awareness component is key. If you can identify your triggers, you can then learn to prepare for them and manage them without suffering a blow to your self-esteem. So how do you identify those triggers?
Step One: Evaluate Your Current Sense of Self-Worth
In general, how do you feel about yourself? Would you say that you have a healthy sense of self-esteem and self-worth? Do you feel like your self-esteem could use a boost? It’s important to understand your current sense of self-worth because you can take steps right now to begin to strengthen it. Additionally, your current sense of self-worth can impact how significant your response is to self-esteem triggers.
Step Two: Look to the Past
Reflect on the people and situations that made you feel badly about yourself. What happened and how did it impact you? For example, maybe you were overlooked for a promotion and it made you quit your job. Maybe you submitted an idea to your boss or a book to an agent and it was rejected, so you quit trying. Maybe you asked someone out on a date and were turned down, so you stopped going out.
Other examples might be more personal. Maybe you told a family member how you were feeling and they disregarded your feelings. You might have felt stupid or overly sensitive. It impacted your self-worth. Evaluating the past can help you prepare for and become aware of your present and your future.
Step Three: Pay Attention to Your Thoughts and Feelings
Learn to pay attention to how you’re feeling when you’re triggered. For example, if you receive criticism, does your heart hammer in your chest and you get angry, or do you hear the criticism without a significant emotional response? If you get rejected, do you feel sad and withdraw, or do you evaluate the situation and try again?
How you respond to different potentially triggering situation can help you see where your self-esteem can take a hit and where it is strong. You might feel very confident in your professional life and lack self-esteem in your personal life, or vice versa.
Learning to identify your self-esteem triggers can help you better understand yourself. It also gives you the tools and information you need to evaluate situations differently and manage your emotional response to them. You can control how much of an impact someone or something can have on your self-esteem.