“Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your hand-break on.” – Maxwell Maltz

The difference between Successes and Failures at times is just their self-esteem. People with low-self-esteem tend to be more withdrawn, too self-conscious and are crippled by fear of ridicule so much that they end up being paralysed, and afraid to venture or express themselves – People with a healthy self-esteem are always waiting for the next opportunity to shine.


petty competition kills our self-esteem…

To ensure that we maintain a positive self-esteem, here are 10 of the things we should avoid doing – please have a good read; and feel free to offer your own suggestions:


Don’t lie: When we tell the odd lie and we are found out, our confidence is dented for that moment; but as long as we are not habitual liars, we will recover – as all humans lie one way or the other. On the other hand if we have a reputation for lying, our self-esteem is lost completely and we soon develop an inferiority complex.

Don’t be a perpetual debtor: Note the word ‘perpetual’ – no man is an island; hence, at certain times in our lives we may need to borrow things from people that will help us through tough times or to even help accomplish goals that will ultimately make us successful. Therefore, borrowing in itself is not bad or ignoble; but when we borrow – especially money – from people without repaying, we tarnish our reputation and lose our dignity. The person we are indebted to automatically assumes a superior position to us.

Don’t dress shabbily or inappropriately: Back in college, on the days that you knew you were ‘baffed-up’ from head to toe, you wouldn’t be in any hurry to leave the lecture areas, return to your hall-of-residence or go out of school altogether until you were sure everyone including your crush(es) had seen you. As the saying goes “the way you dress is the way people address you”; and the way people address you determines how confident you are.

 “One race that we will never win and is certain to make us feel even emptier is trying to out-possess everyone” — Imbuedman

Don’t be a rolling-stone – be an achiever: There is a certain emptiness that fills our soul when we stand in awe of others owing to their successes especially knowing that we do not even have set-goals we are working towards never mind becoming successful. We should always strive to do things that people will respect us for, and most importantly, things that will satisfy our inner-man.

Don’t gossip or say malicious things about others: When you slander or malign others too much, you know somewhere in your mind that the people you are gossiping to do not trust you as well. You know that they know that you might soon be doing same to them. You also assume everyone is gossiping about you too. Soon you become insecure, your self-esteem dips, and you begin to find it difficult to interact with people – especially with a clear mind.

Don’t worry too much what others think about you: Guess what? People think about their own problems or inadequacies more than they think about you – that grammatical blunder we made the last in photography class. Worrying too much what others think about us only drains our confidence more. We should realise that no one is flawless, and everyone has their strengths. So, while it is vital that we continually strive to develop ourselves, we should also keep reminding ourselves of our uniqueness – those things or qualities we have and others wish they had.

Don’t build your confidence on materials possessions: One race that you will never win and is certain to make us feel even emptier is trying to out-possess everyone. The more we try to boost our confidence by always buying or using the very best things, the less confident we are because someone will always have more than us. When we become ostentatious, there is only one winner – the advertisers or goods makers (Apple phones anyone?).
I have realised that you can drive the best car, use the best phones but still constantly feel inadequate especially when we come across people with natural charisma or outstanding qualities like high intelligence or integrity.

Don’t lose control of your temper (especially in public): I’ve been in situations where I have overreacted to a situation, shouted down someone or just acted damn right foolishly, and as a result I have not felt too confident the next time I appear in the same gathering or setting because I imagine everyone is talking about me. 

Don’t talk before you think (and that includes excitable posts on Twitter or Facebook): Yes some of the best things we will ever say will be spontaneous. But when in public especially, thinking before we talk should be the rule and not the exception. Nothing knocks our confidence – and over a sustained period – our self-esteem than the feeling that we our considered unintelligent, flippant or childish because of utterances we made but should have been left unsaid.

Don’t dwell on your mistakes or beat your self down: It will not erase the mistake, it will only drain you of every modicum of confidence. There is no need to dwell on the past, as the future will always present us a chance to shine again.

 And lastly…

Thou shall not have body or mouth odour – need I say more.