It doesn’t matter how tough or rough your journey in life has been. How old you are or how disadvantaged you perceive yourself to be. You can create this crucially important quality of a lifetime, Self -esteem.
Self-esteem is a particular form of self-concept-one which calls for judgement. A judgement as to one’s worth or value to yourself,to others,and to the world in general. A judgement as to the presence and reliability of one’s abilities- Can you do what what you need to do? A judgement as to whether or not you deserve the respect of others.
This judgement results in a sense of confidence or a sense of fear and doubt.
Another word for self-esteem is regard or feeling worthwhile about oneself.
In psychology,the term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. Inorderwords, how much you love and appreciate yourself.
To have high self-esteem is to have high regard for yourself. The truth is,no matter what situations you encountered,no matter what you do,no matter what others may think of you,you are able to love and value yourself and embracing self-acceptance.
Some things may be equally essential but nothing is more important than a healthy self-esteem and loving yourself. Why? In my experience,three of the most important reasons are:
- Life becomes simpler and lighter.
- You will have more inner stability and less self-sabotaging.
- You will be happier.
A low or poor self-esteem can alter our perception about people and life. Sometimes,it can leave people feeling defeated or depressed. It can also lead to bad choices or decisions.
For example,those who constantly receive overly critical or negative assessments from caregivers,family members and loved ones,will likely experience problems with low self-esteem.
Additionally,our inner thinking,age,potential illness,disabilities,or physical limitations and job can affect one’s self-esteem.
A realistic yet positive view of yourself is generally considered the ideal.
Having a high self-esteem goes a long way in your motivation and success throughout your life.
According to Abraham Maslow’s hierarchy of needs,he depicts self-esteem as one of the basic human motivations. He suggested that people need both esteem from other people as inner self-respect. Both of these needs must be fulfilled inorder for personal growth and self-actualization.
Low self-esteem is like driving through life with your handbrake on.Maxwell Maltz.
Do you really know who you are?
Here’s a checklist to help you out.
- You are confident.
- You have the ability to say No.
- You have a positive outlook about things and life.
- Negative experiences do not impact your overall perspective.
- You have the ability to express yourself.
If on the contrary,you notice these patterns below in your life,then you need to work on developing your self-esteem.
- You have a negative outlook about life.
- You lack self-confidence.
- There’s inability to express your needs.
- You focus on your weaknesses.
- You have feelings of shame,anxiety and depression.
- You believe that others are better than you.
- You often nurse a fear of failure.
Now,how do you develop your self-esteem?
1. Use positive affirmations correctly
Positive affirmations such as “I am going to be a great success!” are extremely popular, but they have one critical problem — they tend to make people with low self-worth feel worse about themselves. Why? Because when our self-esteem is low, such declarations are simply too contrary to our existing beliefs. Ironically, positive affirmations do work for one subset of people — those whose self-esteem is already high. For affirmations to work when your self-esteem is lagging, tweak them to make them more believable. For example, change “I’m going to be a great success!” to “I’m going to persevere until I succeed!
2. Identify your competencies and develop them
Self-esteem is built by demonstrating real ability and achievement in areas of our lives that matter to us. If you pride yourself on being a good cook, throw more dinner parties. If you’re a good runner, sign up for races and train for them. In short, figure out your core competencies and find opportunities and careers that accentuate them.
3. Learn to accept compliments
One of the trickiest aspects of improving self-esteem is that when we feel bad about ourselves we tend to be more resistant to compliments— even though that is when we most need them. So, set yourself the goal to tolerate compliments when you receive them, even if they make you uncomfortable (and they will). The best way to avoid the reflexive reactions of batting away compliments is to prepare simple set responses and train yourself to use them automatically whenever you get good feedback (e.g., “Thank you” or “How kind of you to say”). In time, the impulse to deny or rebuff compliments will fade — which will also be a nice indication your self-esteem is getting stronger.
4. Eliminate self-criticism and introduce self-compassion
Unfortunately, when our self-esteem is low, we are likely to damage it even further by being self-critical. Since our goal is to enhance our self-esteem, we need to substitute self-criticism (which is almost always entirely useless, even if it feels compelling) with self-compassion. Specifically, whenever your self-critical inner monologue kicks in, ask yourself what you would say to a dear friend if they were in your situation (we tend to be much more compassionate to friends than we are to ourselves) and direct those comments to yourself. Doing so will avoid damaging your self-esteem further with critical thoughts, and help build it up instead.
5. Affirm your real worth
The following exercise has been demonstrated to help revive your self-esteem after it sustained a blow. Make a list of qualities you have that are meaningful in the specific context. For example, if you got rejected by your date, list qualities that make you a good relationship prospect (for example, being loyal or emotionally available); if you failed to get a work promotion, list qualities that make you a valuable employee (you have a strong work ethic or are responsible). Then choose one of the items on your list and write a brief essay (one to two paragraphs) about why the quality is valuable and likely to be appreciated by other people in the future. Do the exercise every day for a week or whenever you need a self-esteem boost.