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Book excerpt: 12 simple steps in which children can build high self-esteem

It has been seen that kids with low self-esteem are more susceptible to bullying. A new book by Virender Kapoor outlines steps that children can follow to emerge as self-assured individuals

If one has low self-esteem, they always feel inferior to others, and subsequently, starts feeling miserable and unhappy. Photo: Pixabay

By Virender Kapoor

LAST PUBLISHED 06.12.2023  |  02:30 PM IST

Research shows that children with low self-esteem are more prone to bullying. This chapter examines the ways to boost your self-esteem so that you do not succumb to bullying and emerge as stronger individuals. However, before diving into this, it is important to understand what exactly self-esteem means.

What Is Self-Esteem?

According to Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, self-esteem is defined as ‘a confidence and satisfaction in oneself’.

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If one has low self-esteem, they always feel inferior to others, and subsequently, starts feeling miserable and unhappy. Therefore, one becomes an easy target of domination. Bullies may think, ‘Oh, this guy! He has no confidence in himself. He appears to be weak and meek, so let us bully him.’

On the other hand, when one has a high self-esteem, they develop qualities that helps them navigate through the twisted manoeuvres of a bully. Therefore, it is important to develop self-confidence and self-esteem.

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How to Develop Self-Confidence?

Developing self-confidence is not something that can happen overnight. Remember, Rome was not built in a day! You have to make conscious and steady efforts to make yourself a confident and a self-assured person. Remember, there may be moments when you won’t feel confident, but that does not define you as an under confident person.

To become self-confident, you must strive to follow these 12 points:

Read Motivational Books: Reading books on motivation and leadership helps to improve one’s confidence and give ideas to motivate oneself too.

Read, Read and Read: There is no better way to impress your peers other than radiating and disseminating knowledge. You must be so thorough with worldly wisdom that when you speak, people should lend their ears without a doubt. Hence, read as much as you can, be well-informed and have a cerebral approach towards various things.

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Making a List of Your Achievements: There is not a single person who has not accomplished something small or big in life. Hence, it is important to make a list of these so that you get motivated by your accomplishments when you look back at them. Your list of achievements can include small things too. For instance, helping an old lady cross a busy road may look like a small achievement, but it is surely something to be proud of. Listing these achievements will tell you about your personality—whether you are an empathetic person or a sociopath.

Set Your Values Right: This is extremely important if you want to succeed in life. You must be clear what you stand for. If one has no values, standards or ethics, then life has no meaning. If people are aware that an individual has a set of values to which they stick no matter what, people will respect and not fool around with that individual.

Making Your Own Style Statement: You need to create your own personality—an individual identity. Don’t be a part of the herd if you want others to respect you and recognize you.

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Don’t Pay Heed to What Others Say and Think: Most of us don’t take an initiative regarding something because we feel ‘What will others think about me?’ This is the biggest negative thing we can do to ourselves. Don’t worry whether you succeed or fail. Just take the plunge.

Don’t Be Afraid of Failure: You can never be confident if you suffer from ‘what if’ syndrome. If you think, ‘Oh, what will happen if I fail?’, you will not be able to do anything and that is bad for your self-esteem. Do it without any fear. What may happen in the worst case? You may fail. But that is what life is all about.

Look Good, Smell Good: If you feel good about yourself, others will also start feeling that you are good. Also, putting forth a best version of yourself also helps to boost your confidence. Therefore, always dress up properly. Polish your shoes to look good, have bath every day and use some nice perfume to smell good. A well-groomed person leaves a lasting impression on others. It is also important to exercise, eat healthy food and look after your health to feel good and energetic.

Company Matters: You must choose your friends carefully. Many times, wrong company can ruin your life. In the context of self-esteem and morale, it is good to be with those who are enthusiastic and positive in outlook. Stay away from those who keep criticizing everything.

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Move On from Your Past: We all make mistakes in life. Some people let these failures get the better of them. Move on. Don’t let your past ruin your present and future.

Learn from Your Mistakes: You may make mistakes but don’t repeat them. Always analyse where you went wrong and how you can improve.

Become a Mentor and Help Others: Sharing your knowledge with others can help you too. Once you teach others, you get more confident of your craft and feel proud that people are learning from you and respecting you. That makes you feel good and adds to your self-esteem. I had a student from Gwalior who used to provide tuitions when she was doing her graduation. She used to say that conducting classes built her confidence tremendously. No wonder she passed her MBA with flying colours.

Excerpted with permission from Bullyproof Yourself by Virender Kapoor, published by Rupa Publications India.