Dr Ciara Kelly: Top tips for improving your confidence and self-esteem
Self-esteem is something we talk about occasionally - often in the abstract - as an important thing.
It's good to have good self-esteem, low self-esteem is bad - that kind of stuff.
But the truth is our self-esteem is the prism through which we see life and interact with the world.
Life's hard for lots of us. Many people's family lives are not what they should be.
Home is often where the hurt is, and particularly when we're young, growing up, learning about the world - the pecking order of school or friendships can leave us feeling that other people are better than us.
When you're a young person and not fully mature it's easy to believe that other people are happier and have better lives than you.
You don't necessarily understand that how they present themselves to the world, isn't really how they are.
You haven't learnt yet that everyone has their troubles and most of the time they hide them.
So you feel you're the only one with problems - which makes you feel lesser.
So, happily, self-esteem grows with maturity.
But when your self-esteem is already low - what happens around you often confirms your low opinion of yourself; so someone makes a throw away remark but you think it's a pointed insult at you.
You hear someone has gone somewhere with their pal - and you immediately feel excluded.
These things are nothing to do with you - and if you felt good about yourself they wouldn't cost you a thought, but low self-esteem means they upset you - which then affects how you interact with those people afterwards.
Trying to work out exactly why your self-esteem is low is beyond the scope of here but may not even be necessary.
The main thing is to just improve it - so you believe in your own self-worth.
You'll be happier. You'll interact with people differently. And they in turn will treat you differently - which will further improve your self-esteem.
So what can you do?
Write an affirmation. If you were trying to learn anything you'd probably make notes or write stuff down.
So writing down the good things about yourself every day, does reinforce them and also brings them to the forefront of your mind and makes you view yourself differently.
It may even bring up good aspects about yourself you've never thought of!
Forgive yourself past mistakes. Beating yourself up for a past you can't change or control is futile.
The main thing is if you're not happy with your past - is not to repeat its mistakes.
Accept compliments. If someone says something nice to you - don't dismiss it. Own it.
You probably do have lovely eyes or a great laugh or are a good judge of people.
That's part of who you are. Accept it and be pleased you have good bits.
Do something kind every day. I think this is a big one. I've never had a day, ever, where doing something kind for someone else didn't make me feel a little bit better about things - myself included.
It's actually one of the reasons being a doctor is a great job. Because if you do it right - kindness should be a big part of it. It grounds you and lifts you at the same time.
Start making changes.
In order to live the life you want you have to look at your own life and see what you'd like to change to get from where you are to where you want to be.
They can be small things, tiny even, and time isn't a concern.
Just keep moving slowly and steadily towards how you want things to be and it will happen.
Self-esteem isn't just a bit of psycho-babble nonsense - how you feel about yourself affects your happiness, your relationships, your behaviour and your life.
And you're actually great. So don't you forget it.
Sunday Indo Living