Ask The Experts

Self-esteem: The major key to confidence

Question: I am such a person that always questions myself as to why I cannot be as free, exuberant and less self-conscious as my other colleagues.

These colleagues of mine also tend to perform better than me, although they are younger and less qualified if compared to myself, with some coming from lesser fortunate families than I.

Logically, I should be having finer qualities than them. But in fact, it is the other way around, and this knowledge is what puzzles and frustrates me.

They are also able to be more expressive during meetings, and more sociable at parties. In comparison, I am much of a recluse in these situations.

I feel a sense of being trapped, while my colleagues seem to feel so free. Why is this so, and how do I change it?

Answer: This really sounds like it is about your self-esteem. It is the value you place on your self-worth as compared to others.

When you see others having more value, capabilities and rights than you, it could be possible that your self-esteem takes a blow.

People with healthy levels of self-esteem will not feel threatened nor jealous of others, but may instead feel that they have as much as the other person, measured in other ways.

However, be clear that this is not about being arrogant - you are not thinking that you are better than others, but just their equal.

In order to turn things around, you need to change your opinion about yourself. There may be many things and decisions that you’ve made in the past years of your life that could still be holding you back, and not allowing you to forget them.

These could be in the form of events, or people who have played a big role in your life.

All these are great influencers in determining how you think and act. Your other colleagues may probably have lesser of this past baggage or they have a stronger inner-self that allows them to lighten the impact.

Hence, to begin any form of change, you need to rationalise whether it is fair and logical to take your history into your presence, and learn to accept and value yourself.

Powerful questions you can ask yourself:

• Who do you say you are? How do you define yourself?

• How do you arrive at this conclusion of who you are?

• Will this definition help you?

• How will this change help you?

Article by Dr Michael Heah, an ICF Master Certified Coach with