Part 1: The Top 10 Self Esteem Leeches
Self Esteem in business is critical, especially for Entrepreneurs.
Having a healthy self-esteem means that you have confidence. You feel sure in what you can do. You like who you are as a person and you respect yourself. It means that you can see the value of being you.
Self-esteem is important because how you view yourself guides what you believe and how you feel. It also impacts how others feel about you. Unfortunately, there are leeches that can latch onto your self-esteem and drain it dry. You want to protect yourself against these kinds of people, and sometimes, that means making the difficult decision to distance yourself from people who are close to you.
The Negative Leech
This is a leech that can be found in conversations. You can recognize it because this leech will try to make you feel bad about yourself. The words sound okay, but are said in such a way that they erode how you feel about yourself. An example of a conversation leech would be, “Your dress is beautiful. It would look better on you if you’d lose a few pounds.” This is the sucker punch conversation.
The first part of it was kind and so you were relaxed and open. The blow came next – and many people are caught off guard. It affects the self-esteem because we internalize it, making what was said about us – instead of the person who said it. You can get rid of leeches like this by saying in return, “That’s kind of personal. Why would you say something like that?” A leech can only walk away with your self-esteem if you allow it.
People who tell you that you’re ugly, or fat or stupid or worthless are self-esteem leeches. Don’t give them another second of your time. Don’t put up with these types of comments. You’re not their beliefs. Those statements are a reflection of them, not you. But what’s worse than those kinds of negative leeches is when we become our own negative leech. We tell ourselves that we’re ugly or fat or stupid or worthless. We erode our self-esteem ourselves. No one is born with this kind of self-talk. We learn it from a self-esteem leech.
Once you adopt their behaviors and you’re saying this kind of stuff in your head every time you have to make a decision, you find your quality of life deteriorating rapidly.
The Social Media Leech
This has become a huge leech and it’s growing bigger and sucking the self-esteem from millions of people. Social media opened the door for so many people to become leeches. They bully and they tear down others, they drain away at the self-esteem of others in order to build themselves up. They say snarky comments to people that sting way down deep.
Most people take the comments of perfect strangers to heart and don’t take the time to recognize the comments for what they were – the attitude and actions from someone who doesn’t have the capacity for online maturity. You have to ignore comments that try to tear you down on your social media sites. There are many people who consider themselves expert trolls – whose sole purpose is to cause friction online. It’s their form of entertainment.
Social media can be a self-esteem leach if it causes you to look at someone else’s life and wish that were your life. What you need to remember is that social media presents a false balance of life to the world. You only get a peek at it. The perfect house, the perfect family, the smiles and laughter and heavily edited photos don’t show the true picture. Don’t let these false representations tear down your self-esteem.
A lot of social media is embellished because people find it easier to present a better version of their lives – and it often greatly differs from reality. Keep in mind that many people are too self-conscious to speak up about the sad side of their lives.
The Mistake Leech
You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t make mistakes. Some people make a lot of little mistakes, while others make mistakes that are pretty big. But you must realize that the mistakes that you’ve made do not define who you are.
They’re not a picture of your future. Mistakes are simply something that happened that can offer you the opportunity to learn from the situation. The leech presents itself in this area by not allowing you to move on.
When we make mistakes, it’s often those closest to us who won’t let it go. They remind you of your mistake and it can feel like they’re rubbing your nose in it. They remind you how you tried to start a business and failed, how you ruined your finances, how they warned you that the guy or girl you were crazy about was bad news. These mistake leeches can be hard to take, but even more so when you’re the one putting the mistake leech on yourself. You remind yourself about how you failed.
How you wish you hadn’t done what you did. Get rid of this self-esteem leech once and for all by telling yourself that it’s over and you’re moving on into the right direction. Tell others the same thing if they keep bringing it up. Don’t drag your mistakes around with you and don’t let others pile them on you, either. Take a firm stance against having the past thrown in your face to knock you down as you try to better your life.
The Approval Seeker Leech
Some people have a laid back personality. Others have a more forceful personality. Both can have strengths to offer. But the problem arises when someone with a stronger personality decides what your life should or shouldn’t be. They try to make it so that you have to seek their approval in every aspect of your life. When you try to do something on your own, they’re quick to tell you why that won’t work and how it’s not smart of you to attempt it.
What this does is erode your self-esteem until you’re driven to come to them for advice and help with whatever you want to do in life. These kinds of leeches keep you dependent on them for your happiness (and theirs) and you surrender control of your life to them in return. You don’t need approval to be who you are and to live the kind of life you’ve always wanted. Your actions are your own and you’re smart enough to reach for your dreams without having to seek approval.
If you don’t know the way that you should go, take a deep breath and relax. You will learn. You are capable. You don’t need anyone else’s stamp of approval for your path.
The Comparison Leech
This nasty leech is one that we put on ourselves and we all have trouble with this one. It can erode self-esteem pretty quickly and leave you feeling unhappy with your life – even if you have a pretty good one. This leech makes you feel like you’re not doing a good enough job with handling your life because it fails to measure up to someone else’s. Even a multi millionaire can suffer from this as he compares himself to a multi billionaire.
The comparison leech piles on us when we feel jealous of someone else. We can experience jealously because they appear to have a partner or spouse who treats them better. We can feel jealously because their house is nicer. Their car is newer. Their clothes are more expensive. Maybe they have a better job. Perhaps they can afford to do home renovations that you wish you could do.
They get to take lavish vacations to places that you’ve dreamed of going. This kind of comparison robs you of living your life. You don’t know what’s going on in someone else’s life and looking at it from the outside can often give you a distorted view.
It could be that you have more freedom than they do. That you’re not in debt like they are, that you’re not dealing with the emotional situations they’re hiding from the world. You never know what’s truly going on with someone else.
Get rid of this leech by recognizing and being grateful for the good that you have in your own life. Refuse to allow negative feelings to tower over someone else’s seemingly good fortune.
For the sake of space and time, we’ll stop here today. Be sure to come back for Part 2 in our next post.