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20 Steps to Better Self-Esteem--page 10
by Monica A. Frank, Ph.D.

Step 10. Say "Hello"

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Hello in different languages

Acting confident leads to feeling confident. One reason for this is other people more readily respond which increases positive interactions. Many people with low self-esteem wait for others to make the first overture. As discussed in the previous step, they don't want to risk rejection. However, other people don't always approach first for a variety of reasons that has nothing to do with you. Some of them may have low self-esteem as well or social anxiety. Some of them may have poor social skills. Some of them may be distracted and not paying attention to what's around them. Therefore, waiting for others often leads to nothing.

Instead, make it a habit to say “hello” to people. Frequently, when people with low self-esteem try this step, they report that others were non-responsive. Usually the lack of response is because the other person didn't hear them or know they were being addressed. So be sure to speak up. Don't just mumble “hi.” If you know their name, use the name. Make sure you are heard: “Hello, Bob. How are you today?” Simply saying “hello” to others is likely to lead to more social interaction. When you have positive connections with others you are more likely to feel good about yourself. However, at this point, these steps are focused on increasing positive interpersonal interaction which continues to base your self-concept on the external: how others act towards you which can't always be controlled in your favor. In later steps, we will focus on developing a more stable, internalized self-concept that doesn't depend upon others' reactions. Changing how you interact with others is a first step towards that.

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