Millions of Americans live their lives with low self-esteem. Teenagers learn it from one or both parents. Others choose it by comparing themselves with movie stars. Many young women mutter to themselves, “I’m not good enough…I’m not as pretty as Becky the captain of the cheerleading squad…I’m not smart enough to pull top grades.”

(Go ahead, kiss the girl, kiss the guy in the Valley of the Gods because you chose high self-esteem) Photography by Frosty Wooldridge

Often, young men drink booze to numb their frustrations from not being handsome, athletic or academically successful. They hang with the wrong crowd or stay home where they find solitude. Too often, teenagers of both sexes compare themselves to others.

Low self-esteem may be one of the greatest detriments to personal success socially, mentally and/or economically. But, since it’s a learned behavior, it can be unlearned and changed.

Recently, one of my lifelong friends, the successful author of three published books, visited me in Golden, Colorado. That night, after dinner on our deck, he and I reminisced about our college days together. We both became teachers. During the conversation, I asked him about his fourth book.

“I can’t seem to motivate myself to finish the book,” he said. “I’m still dealing with low self-esteem.”

Mind you, this man earned a world record in one category of weight lifting. He earned a Master’s degree in advanced education.

He reared four highly successful children. His wife elevated herself to a world-class artist through his encouragement.

“So, Paul, are you going to coast your way to the doorstep of death?” I asked. “Are you going to waste your literary gifts because of low self-esteem? What’s the value in that choice? Why would you squander your gifts because somewhere along the line, you bought into the ‘low self-esteem’ train, and you’re still riding it?”

“I’m not sure how to figure it out and how to get off the train,” he replied.

“It’s amazing,” I said. “All my life, I’ve been accused of being too over-confident and self-assured. Some call me brash. I never thought of myself as inferior to anyone or anything. Plus, I never compared myself to anyone. In my youth, my dad put his arm around my shoulder when I faced difficult challenges. He said, ‘You can do that son’. That became my truth. Maybe you could borrow that ‘truth’ and incorporate it into you own life. It’s more fun to live a life of high self-esteem. It creates a higher vibrational frequency in your daily life. It makes you happy. It makes you creative. It allows you to laugh often. It allows you to move toward your highest and best.”

“I never thought about it that way,” said Paul.

How do you escape low self-esteem?

First, change your view of yourself. Are you a victim or a product or a tragedy? You decide. You choose your relationship with any of your challenges or situations. In the end, the universe doesn’t bequeath you a positive or negative thought pattern. You choose it and you live it. Either way, you evolve your life by your choices. If you run from something, it consumes you. When you face it, you devour it.

Second, choose by daily habit to up-level your intentions for your world. Choose to value every problem, disaster and defeat. Use the gifts of defeat to grow your life. At your funeral, would you feel good when your best friend spoke about you in the eulogy, “Paul lived a so-so life because he chose low-self esteem, which buried any chance of living a truly remarkable life. He wasted so many of his incredible talents.”
Third, no matter how tough the problem, you choose the solutions and engage the intention to grow. Remember that an answer exists for every challenge in your life.

Fourth, unbridle your dreams. Henry David Thoreau said it best, “If you advance confidently toward your dreams, and endeavor to live the life which you have imagined, you will meet with success unexpected in common hours. You will pass through invisible boundaries. You will engage new and liberal laws. And you will live with the license of a higher order of beings.”

Fifth, consciously open to the joy, happiness and creative energy of your life by shedding the ‘low self-esteem’ skin to engage a ‘high self-esteem’ energy field around your heart, mind and body.

Finally, you write the next chapter of your life by your hand and by your choices. Engage the power of brave thoughts.

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Author's Bio: 

Frosty Wooldridge has bicycled across six continents and 11 times across the USA in the past 40 years. His 12 published books enlighten, inspire and encourage readers to live at their highest and best. www.HowToLiveALifeOfAdventure.com