Do You Need to Increase Your Self Esteem?
Many performers struggle with low self-esteem. They are filled with self-doubt, fear of making mistakes, and feel as though their work is never “good enough.” In contrast, those with high self-esteem are assumed to be better at their jobs because they have confidence. So do you need to increase your self-esteem to achieve your goals? Surprisingly, the answer is “Yes” and “No.”
While high self-esteem will make you a happier person, decades of research show no relationship to performance level in school or in a career. In fact, successful people are often riddled with insecurities. How can this be? It seems that giftedness and perfectionism go hand-in-hand. The good aspects of this association include having extremely high standards and the organizational skills to meet them. The downside is that no one is perfect and it is easy to become discouraged. This is one area where high self-esteem can help by increasing your ability to persist in the face of set-backs, switch course if things do not work out over time, and be an independent thinker who decides whether you need to continue or make a change.
To increase self-esteem, it’s important to set high but realistic goals and reframe mistakes as an opportunity to learn. It also is crucial to catch negative thoughts (“I’m a failure”) and counter them with facts, logic, and reason (“Everyone makes mistakes”). If you wouldn’t say it to your best friend, please don’t say it to yourself.