Five Self-Esteem Strategies for Students p1

By · August 10, 2009 · Filed in life skills

For students, school is more than just a place where classes are held, tests are taken and grades dispersed.  It is also the most prominent social arrangement in their lives—a place where friendships are cultivated, and the need to be liked and valued by peers is central.

The pressure to excel academically while still being well-received by one’s cohorts can be difficult. To weather this storm, it is crucial that students develop ways to maintain a healthy self image—to build their self-esteem.  Below are two tips you can use to construct and nourish a positive self-image:

1.  Recognize Your Strengths

Instead of squandering time, pondering all the things your not, take some time to reflect and write down all the things you do well.  Maybe you’re exceptional at math or shooting a basketball, a computer whiz or just a good listener with your friends and family. These are all essential traits that shape and define you.

Focusing only on your limitations stifles your ability to grow and blossom and creates a lot of strain in your life.  Regardless of how much you may try, you are certain to ascertain that becoming good at everything will never be possible.  Why go through the heartache?

Concentrate on improving skills you already possess, rather than fretting over the ones you lack.  This strategy will create a sense of momentum and worth in your life, helping you feel valued and appreciated.  By creating an inventory of your skills and abilities, you are recognizing your own self worth. Take some time to acknowledge and celebrate those characteristics that make you unique and irreplaceable.

2.  Remember, Everybody Fails.  Everybody.

In 1854 and again in 1858, Abraham Lincoln campaigned for a seat in the United States Senate, and in both elections he was defeated.  But he never once allowed these losses to label or discourage him, nor did he wallow in self pity.  Instead of giving up, as most certainly would have, Lincoln learned from these defeats, became motivated to overcome them—to grow.  Then, in 1860, amidst disquieting times within the nation, Lincoln was elected the 16th President of the United States, and the rest is, well, history.

A great contemporary example of persistance and determination is the story of young Sydney Crosby, who this year became the youngest hockey captain ever to hoist NHL’s holy grail, Lord Stanley’s Cup. What is unique about Crosby is that the year prior he and his team made it to the Stanley Cup Finals, only to be defeated. This year he ironically faced the same team as last years finals, and this time they won.

You are going to have impediments in your life, but your image—your story—will be shaped not by those adverse events, but by how you react to them.  Receiving a poor grade on an exam, for example, can be an agonizing setback and can cause you a great deal of stress.  You convince yourself that all is lost, based on this sole event.

The trick is to view this setback from a different perspective—to change the way you react.  This isolated failure, while discouraging, can become a wonderful opportunity for growth.  First, accept that you made a mistake—it happens to everyone—and develop a plan to correct it, to prevent the likelihood of a recurrence.  Next and most importantly, move on—let it go.

Self-esteem is something that you must continually work on everyday, even despite circumstances. Self-confidence is like a muscle in that the more you exercise it the more you strengthen it. Stay tuned for even more tips to help ensure you can cope with your schooling.

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