Many years ago there was a report in our papers of a young woman who had committed suicide because her partner had decided to leave her for another woman. She was young, beautiful and her life centred on pleasing this man. Her suicide was, to me, not just very sad but quite unnecessary. A man or woman may leave you but it should not be the end of your world. Unfortunately, many of us are plagued by doubts about ourselves and we have low self-esteem. When something like this happens to men and women, our self-esteem drops and we think that we are worthless and useless. We then feel that life is not worth living and that there is nothing to look forward to.

The reality is that there is much to look forward to in life. One unhappy relationship is not the end of everything, the world, our life and the future! There are other people to meet and with whom to interact. There are numerous activities to undertake. There are fun things in which we can engage. Do not allow one person to bring you down. Just close one door and open another. No one has the right to make you feel inferior and unworthy. Tell yourself that you are a valuable and capable human being. Say out loud this quotation by Frey and Carlock, “I’m not perfect but…parts of me are excellent.”

If you are in a similar situation as the young woman I mentioned, do not keep away from other people. Seek the company of friends. Solicit advice from professional counselors and from other people. Help is always available. Put on a great outfit and attend a social function. Meet people, engage in community work and talk to others.

What is Self- Esteem?

Putting it simply, self-esteem would be how valuable, important or worthwhile we think we are as people. It is the acceptance of ourselves, by ourselves, for whom and what we are at any time in our life. Self-esteem has been defined as “a confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” It is a basic psychological need.

Self-esteem helps us to cope with the challenges of life and it enables us to be confident about our happiness, our achievements and our success. It is associated with the belief that we are capable and useful no matter what has happened in our life, what is happening, or what may happen.

With high self-esteem you will have the right attitude to succeed and you will not be afraid of failure. People with high self-esteem tend to have a lot of high-level energy for everything. They stand tall, look people in the eye and they seem relaxed. They shake hands firmly. While recognizing their achievements they are also humble. They feel purposeful, valuable and worthy.

Developing Self-Esteem

There are a number of strategies that you can undertake to enhance your self- esteem and I will write about them in future posts. In this one I would like to talk about the Inner Critical Voice. This is because I believe that the Inner Critical Voice is largely responsible for causing us to have low self-esteem.

The Inner Critical Voice

We all have a critical voice in us. Your critical voice compares you with others, sets impossible standards for you and does not let you forget your failures and weaknesses. When you have negative thoughts and feelings about yourself, you will have little confidence in your abilities and you will question your self-worth. You are unhappy with yourself and you feel helpless and powerless. People with low self- esteem develop a harsh critical inner voice which makes them feel even more negative about themselves.

This critical inner voice has often stopped many a person from going forward and taking on tasks, projects and accomplishing goals. The voice causes them to question their ability to do well and often they feel that they are failures.

What Should You Do?

Learn to silence your critical voice. When the voice says negative things about you, tell yourself to stop listening to this voice. Change the statement that has been made to one that is positive. Make it the exact opposite of what has been said! For example, the statement might be, “I am a loser “. Change this to “I am a winner.” If your statement is, “I am stupid”, change it to “I am smart”. Then repeat the statement in your mind.

This could also apply to statements that you may make when you are given work or new projects to undertake. Often we might say, “I can’t do that” or “I am not good enough” or “This may not work”. Instead tell yourself, “I can do that.” or “I have the knowledge and skills to do it” or “This is a challenging project and I look forward to working on it.”

Avoid making value judgements of yourself. Value judgements might be, “I should have not said this.” Or “I should have said this.” Learn to love and accept yourself.

Use positive self-talk. Say to yourself from time to time positive things about yourself. For example, you may say, “I am organized”; “I am intelligent” and “I am enthusiastic.” Cultivate self-accepting thoughts and conduct balanced self-assessment. Get up and move. Engage in something different. Turn your attention to other things and other people. Do not allow the critical voice to dominate.


  1. Hi Zaibun,

    I attended your training last Friday, 22/11/2013. It was a lively and effective motivational session and I applaud you for that. Well done!

    “NO ONE HAS THE RIGHT TO MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR”. Very well written and said. You give good advice.

    You mentioned that “One unhappy relationship is not the end of everything”. I agree.

    To me, a relationship is like food. It nourishes our body and we feel good and healthy, provided our digestive system accepts it. If it doesn’t the food will be thrown out. The system protects our well-being.

    In similar vein, good relationships are vital to our health, happiness and well-being. Like food, we should choose those that are nutritious and good for our body system and forget those that are not.

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