What Is Self-Esteem?
The term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value. In other words, how much you appreciate and like yourself.
- Self-esteem is often seen as a personality trait, which means that it tends to be stable and enduring over the lifespan.
- Self-esteem can involve a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.
- Self-esteem refers to a person’s beliefs about their own worth and value. It also has to do with the feelings people experience that follow from their sense of worthiness or unworthiness.
Self-esteem is based on who you are and the relationships and experiences you have had at home, in school, with friends, and in the community. You form an image of yourself based on these experiences and relationships, starting with your parent or primary caregiver. Positive experiences and relationships contribute to healthy self-esteem, and negative experiences and relationships contribute to poor self-esteem.
Self-Esteem Is Important
Self-esteem is important because it heavily influences people’s choices and decisions. For instance, some people really like cars. Because cars are important to them, these people take really good care of their cars. They make good decisions about where to park the car, how often to get it serviced, and how they will drive it. They may decorate the car and then show it off to other people with pride. Self-esteem is like that, except it is yourself that you love, care for and feel proud of. When children believe they are valuable and important, they take good care of themselves. They make good decisions about themselves which enhance their value rather than break it down.
Self-esteem is important because it heavily influences people’s choices and decisions. In other words, self-esteem serves a motivational function by making it more or less likely that people will take care of themselves and explore their full potential.
Healthy self-esteem can help you achieve your goals and can contribute to good relationships with others. It can give you self-confidence. Poor self-esteem can make it difficult to get things done, make you question your abilities, and can even contribute to depression.
Signs of Healthy Self-Esteem
You probably have a good sense of who you are if you exhibit the following signs:
- Ability to say no
- Positive outlook
- Ability to see overall strengths and weaknesses and accept them
- Negative experiences don’t impact overall perspective
- Ability to express your needs
Signs of Poor Self-Esteem
You may need to work on how you perceive yourself if you exhibit any of these signs of poor self-esteem:
- Negative outlook
- Lack of confidence
- Inability to express your needs
- Focus on your weaknesses
- Excessive feelings of shame, depression, or anxiety
- Belief that others are better than you
- Trouble accepting positive feedback
- Intense fear of failure
Rebuilding self-esteem takes time, self-compassion, self-acceptance, patience and mindful action. Here are 4 things you can do to rebuild your self-esteem:
- Be Mindful of Self-Talk
Negative self-talk can really alter our perspective on the world and our role in it. The problem with negative self-talk is that over time, it can become something which happens automatically – we don’t even realize we’re doing it. In order to change that, we need to start being mindful of our thoughts. We need to consider whether the expectations we place on ourselves are realistic and fair. Whether we allow ourselves to make mistakes and learn from them or make mistakes and erode ourselves with belittling and self-loathing. Try reading daily affirmations.
- Make An Effort To Practice Self-Care
Self-Care really matters and it doesn’t have to be expensive. The negative self-talk we may be indulging in can become dominating, overbearing and destructive. When we take small actions of self-care, we’re taking back some of the power. We’re showing our negative thoughts that we ARE worthy of care and kindness. It can be very empowering.
- Spend Time With People That Give You Good Energy
Sometimes we spend time with people we don’t really enjoy, it doesn’t feel like a choice but an obligation or duty. Sometimes we don’t know how to say ‘no’and so we bend backwards to accommodate the needs of others. Try to spend time with those you actually enjoy spending time with. Those who you would absolutely choose to see. Practice saying ‘no’ to those that bring you down. It’s not easy, but it does get easier over time.
To avoid feeling overwhelmed or not good enough, try breaking things down into smaller chunks. Each time you complete a micro action, your faith in your abilities will grow incrementally over time. Smaller actions tend to be achievable, maintainable and not at all overwhelming. Learn to create small successes.