Eleanor Roosevelt said, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Without a doubt, your self-esteem takes a hit when you’re laid off. The hidden message seems to be that a company did not value you enough to keep you. But it can go much deeper than even that.

Because of the fierce competition for the few jobs that are available, it could cause someone looking for work to gradually lose their self-respect if they aren’t hired right away.

Some have even become so desperate that they have resorted to shoplifting or armed robbery, which, of course, further damages self-esteem.

“Self-esteem means truly loving and valuing yourself,” according to the book, Self-Esteem: The Power to Be Your Best by Mark Towers. So, during this difficult time, it is imperative for you to appreciate all of your accomplishments up till now.

Write down all of your accomplishments starting from childhood, no matter how small or trivial you think they are. When you start thinking negatively or another employer turns you down, take your accomplishment list out and read it.

It is also important that you listen to how you talk to yourself. If you make a mistake, do you say to yourself, “You idiot! How could you be so stupid?”

Each time you say derogatory things like that you chip away at your self-esteem. Instead, when you make a mistake try saying something like this, “Well, nobody’s perfect. Not even me. Next time I’ll do better.”

The things you say about yourself are imprinted on your subconscious mind, that part of you that never sleeps, and controls your breathing, organ function, etc.

The subconscious mind also brings about whatever commands you give it. It doesn’t matter whether the commands or true, false, positive or negative.

If your self-esteem needs a boost, what can you do? In Mark Towers’ book quoted from earlier, he said that what we think about ourselves becomes the truth for us.

And “one way to overcome something in yourself you want to change is to affirm the change.” Affirmations are usually short, simple statements “that proclaim a fact in no uncertain terms.”

The more you repeat these affirmations, the deeper they are impressed upon your subconscious mind which then goes to work to bring it about.

Stay focused on the positive (what you want) rather than the negative (what you don’t want). Even if you don’t believe the affirmation yet, keep saying it! Pretend that it has already come about and offer thanks for what you hope to receive in advance.

I can attest to the power of affirmations! I used to be a very negative, unhappy person. I decided to change that and wrote, “I am a positive person” on a 3 x 5 index card. You can also record your affirmations on tape (or have someone else record them for you) and listen to them in your car, etc.

I read the card every chance I got, and said the affirmation just before going to sleep at night and when I woke up in the morning. Before long, I started feeling differently inside, more positive.

I’m very happy to say that the negative, unhappy person I once was is long gone. I’ve even had people tell me that I always seem so happy, when that was the furthest thing from the truth!

I soon added other affirmations including, “I am a published author.” “I’m very organized because I plan my days and follow my plans.” “I take full responsibility for my actions and for my life.” “I deserve to be happy.”

Affirmations should be:

  • clear and concise
  • positive
  • in the present tense (“I am” instead of “I will”)
  • spoken with emotion or feeling

One of my favorite affirmations, suggested by Louise Hay, a best-selling author of 27 books, is, “My income is constantly increasing.” This affirmation also worked in a powerful way for me.

If you have been laid off, think abundance, even if you don’t know where your next meal is coming from. If you think lack or poverty, that is what you’re going to attract to yourself.

The marvelous thing about using affirmations is that you don’t have to figure out how things are going to come about. That’s the job of your subconscious mind. All you have to do is give it the command (or affirmation) and it will find a way to bring it about.

When I affirmed several years ago, “I am a published author,” I was only aware of the traditional publishers (who seem impossible to reach) or subsidy publishers, which I didn’t want to do either. All I knew was I wanted to write.

The thought of becoming a publisher using the Internet or the new Print-On-Demand technology didn’t even occur to me. The technology was not even available then!

But my subconscious took care of everything. Trust yours. It will attract the people and everything you need to bring about whatever you want to accomplish.

Another way to boost your self-esteem is by using visualization. You can use visualization by itself or with your affirmations. The subconscious mind forms our reality from the things we say and from the pictures we provide it.

When I affirmed, “I am a published author,” I pictured myself signing copies of my upcoming novel, Real Love and receiving huge (and I mean HUGE) royalty checks.

Think of it as your own personal movie of which you are the writer, director, producer and star. The more detailed you are, the better.

There are many books and web sites that explain and demonstrate how to use affirmations. A few of the web sites are listed in Chapter 9.

This is an excerpt from the book How to Survive and Thrive After a Layoff by Dolores G. Wix, available at Amazon.com