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Even I could have believed that Peggy had stopped breathing. She looked at Francis in the eye, looked away, then returned her gaze to the cuff she had fastened to his right arm. 

“I can’t do this,” she peeled the gray clothing from his arm and folded it back into the analogue mercury blood pressure machine. 

I called her over to a corner and asked her why she wasn’t able to take his blood pressure. I reminded her that she was going to be a doctor and a sound practice of measuring the blood pressure of patients was a basic skill she needed to have in the clinic. This event was during one of our Physiology practicals some time ago and virtually everyone was just learning the practice for the first time. I asked her to practice it on me — she was more familiar with me than she was with Francis — and she was able to get it right once. Then I wondered, “what happened earlier?”

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Self-esteem is basically the general perception of one’s worth or value. It presents itself to varying degrees in everyone. A couple of people have a medium sized esteem, some have a thick self-esteem, many others are saddled with a worrisomely malnourished or thin self-esteem.

This variation could be influenced by any or a combo of the following factors:

Parental influence, the role one plays among one’s peers, quality and quantity of personal accomplishment, Temperament, level of openness or extroversion, mindset towards setbacks and the kind of information we tell and feed ourselves with.

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Ways a thin self-esteem strikes you down?

  1. A thin or malnourished self-esteem makes you give up even before you try.
  2. It makes you unnecessarily anxious to do what you normally can do.
  3. It weakens your communication and interpersonal skills.
  4. It denies you the opportunities to do something new, to be a new you.
  5. It can make people take advantage of you.
  6. It may lead to self hate or a sprouting disdain for your overall being.
  7. A thin self-esteem makes you compare yourself unhealthily with others — an act that only helps in vanishing the only unique “you” the earth can ever have.
  8. A thinner-than-normal self-esteem has also been recorded to be a cause of unproductivity and procrastination.
  9. It could lead to depression and other mental health issues.

So now that we know how detrimental a low or malnourished self-esteem can be to you, it’s time we strike it up.

How To Fatten Your Esteem

  1. Write out your fears

There are benefits of writing things out on paper. It basically takes abstract or vague concepts from your mind and teleports them into a solid, less vague format. It works for two reasons: it is easier to fight or tackle what you can see physically than in the ungoverned sphere of your imagination. Secondly, it seems like you’ve moved the problem from your delicate head to a poor, undeserving paper (it’s not cruelty, is it?). 

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When I pen out my fears on paper, I see exactly what it is that bothers me and I can make more strategic plans to tackle it. For example, if I bubble up symptoms of a low self-esteem when talking to beautiful ladies, I could write out: 

I have a fear of talking to beautiful ladies. What can I do about this? 

This makes me, in a more conscious manner, seek a solution for one of the root causes of my low self-esteem.

  1. Practice the small-wins effect
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Our brain releases a hormone called Dopamine when we accomplish a task. Anything ranging from winning a competition to simply preparing a dish (without burning it), creates a sense of accomplishment in the same brain center. We learn in progression. And when we believe that we can do something well, we can take the challenge of giving the next step a chance. 

When we discovered that we were able to write just a paragraph or a page of a book, we celebrated the small win. You find that you have mastered the swing of a racket in tennis without hitting the ball higher than the fence that encapsulates the court, celebrate it. You were able to do ten more push ups than what you did yesterday, give yourself a thumbs up. 

Progress: that’s the key. 

And in no time, watching yourself improve would find a way to enhance your self-esteem especially in those areas of your life and even beyond.

  1. Create a deck of My-Value Cards. 
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Basically, a value card should state the achievement you’ve had in the previous years, months or weeks.

It is true that we should not dwell on glories in the catalog called “past”. However, if utilized well, we could use them as a boost to encourage us with the great feats we’ve accomplished earlier. This helps us instill in our minds that we are the same person, if not better, who made those acts come to pass. And that we can still repeat such success even at a higher level. This reinforces our can-do-it mindset and inversely affects our fears and self doubts.

A couple of value cards can be used to help us achieve this especially while in transit. 

  1. Use Anki cards to motivate you

Anki can be used for more than just actively recalling what you study. It can be used to ask glory recall questions. You can use it to ask yourself questions like: 

  • What happened to your team on the 17th of October 2021? And your response could be: I came up with an idea that gave us an advantage over our opponents. 
  • What did mum say when I prepared Succotash for her? 

She said it was amazing! (My cooking was amazing!!)

  1. Dare to do a new activity.
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Not only are you going to get proud of your newly acquired skills, you’d also develop a level of dominance in a new and unfamiliar niche.

Try joining a discussion group (it could be a study group, research team, or something else) with the mindset of speaking among a small group — a way to develop your public speaking skills. Pick up the tennis sport, or a fine art class — helps develop your fine hand motor skills for surgery or playing a musical instrument, for example, hence improving your self esteem in those areas.

  1. Notice the negativity and fight it out.
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When we hear derogatory thoughts about ourselves, we should take note of it so we can immediately tackle it. When we tell ourselves negative statements or descriptions we slowly, but certainly, reinforce them into our lives. This can do nothing but degrade our self-esteem overtime.

Always think up at least one strong point to counteract negative thoughts such as:

  • You’re not as smart as… 
  • I can never be a sound public speaker… 
  • I am as poor as… 
  • I can never… 
  • I am a failure at… 
  • I always mess up at… 
  • I will never amount to anything good… 

Find strong positive thoughts to fight them out of your mind. Hold firm to the good side of events that occurred and see them as an opportunity to be better not as an assessment of how incapable you think you are.

In a Striking Conclusion

Somehow, external factors may rock your boat so hard. But yielding (or not yielding) to the storm is wholly dependent on you. Your self-esteem should never be left to the society to drain it till it becomes malnourished. You have total control. You can improve your esteem and guide it from further detriment. At this point, I believe, you’re certainly a smarter thunder at this and there’s no backflip to the old low-self-esteem bridge. You’re a smarter thunder; strike your world with a better version of you.

Action plans for smarter thunders

  1. Write out a list of 10 things you like about yourself. They’re so much more; we just don’t want to overstress you. But trust me, 10 things about your gifts and talents, what you have, who you have, your kind acts and how unique you are 

(You write a copy for your own keep and leave it in the comments below as well).

  1. Try something new this week. Especially something not so difficult ( really easy); see how you conquer that world. Think Arts, Reading, Charity works, Sport, speaking to people you barely talk to, think cooking… Think about anything (positive, however)! 
  1. Work on your posture: Set a mini-alarm, every couple of hours maybe, to remind you to stop slouching, seriously! Remember the trio: Head’s high, shoulder sideways, and a graceful gaze.

  1. Create your deck of value cards.

First take out 10 minutes to brainstorm and write out a list of at least 10 accomplishments you’ve had in the past 1 to 3 years. Next, cut out square cards (different colors of cardboard could be fun) and write down each accomplishment on each card. This should be with the intention to ginger your self-esteem, spurring you to be and do more.

Remember, no accomplishment is too basic.

  1. Share this article to help others become a smarter thunder like you’re now. (You can check out our about page to know why sharing this post really matters).

Published by Sixtus E. Ezeadum

Check out: Medical student|| content Writer || Blogger || Emotional intelligence Enthusiast

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