I’m just writing the first chapter of my next book – Self Esteem Workbook. The chapter is about how we get the low self esteem in the first place and then keep it into adulthood; often passing it on to our kids. I have no end of children brought to me with low self esteem and guess what – mum or dad usually admit they too have always been ‘shy’.
NLP has some great tools and techniques for raising low self esteem but my question today is “just how much of it do we want?”
We all know of precocious children who push themselves forward for the lead part in the school plays, are the first to put their hand up in class and have no problem expressing themselves. Then there are those who pretend to be invisible when the parts are being allocated, ask to be behind the scenes, become tongue-tied when you ask them a question and only ask questions directly posed to them in class. It would seem that to have self-esteem somewhere in the middle would be ideal for most of us unless we are planning a theatrical career.
Another option would be to have self esteem along a sliding scale so we could have it as a resource to dip into when we need to or want to stand out in a particular way. This seems to me to be ideal. After all, there may be times when we or our children are happy to take a back seat and allow others to shine and then there are times when we want to take centre stage. So how about instead of thinking of ourselves as having low or high self esteem; we think of having access to this sliding scale as a resource to access as and when we need it. This takes it away from being part of our identity as in ‘he is shy’ or ‘she lacks confidence’ and moves us into using it as a resource that we can choose.
If this idea appeals to you as something you want to pass on to your children; you can do this by:
1) Observing in them and pointing out to them, times or occasions when they show confidence so they recognise what it looks, sounds and feels like.
2) At times when they need this confidence but don’t think they have it, remind them when they did and how it manifested itself to you so they can recall it and access the physiology and self talk.
3) Share with them the idea of self esteem being a sliding scale and ask them what level of confidence they need for different situations so you can get them thinking about it.
4) Notice other peoples levels of confidence and share with your child what you notice and whether the level of confidence fits the situation or may be slightly too much or too little to encourage them to recognise this in themselves.
My self-esteem book won’t be out until next year but if you find this issue interesting there is a chapter in Be a happier parent with NLP on coping with lack of confidence in parents and children and a topic specifically on giving your child confidence. You can buy the book here. If you feel a session on confidence would help you so that you can pass it on to your child contact me via SKYPE judy.bartkowiak