Self Esteem – what is it?
Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves.
When your self-esteem is healthy, you tend to feel positive about yourself and about life in general. It makes you more resilient to life.
When your self-esteem is low, we tend to see ourselves and our life more negatively and critically. We also feel less able to take on the challenges in life and are less resilient.
Causes of Low Self Esteem
In childhood, we absorbed the positive or negative messages around us, from our teachers, siblings, parents, teachers, and possibly the media.
The most common message we take on is “We are not good enough”. You could never please your parents, teachers or other adults, therefore, creating thoughts about how we are expected to be or not be.
Life events, losing loved ones, serious illness will also impact our self-esteem.
How Low Self-Esteem Affects us?
Low self esteem or a lack of confidence encourages us to: –
- Hideaway from groups or social situations.
- Avoid trying new things.
- Prevents you from challenging yourself.
These will temporarily make you feel safe, but hiding and avoiding situations, reinforces your doubts and fears, teaching you the only way to cope is to avoid people and situations. This will possibly lead to depression anxiety and habits like drinking and smoking.
Improving Your Self Esteem
Ideas to boost self-esteem and confidence.
- Identify and list the negative beliefs that you have about yourself.
- Think about when you first had these beliefs and why.
- Now list positive evidence to counteract the negative beliefs.
- List all the positive things about you, example “I am kind”, “I am good at ….”
- Keep this list somewhere you see it regularly.
- Add to this list each day and pick 5 to focus your attention on. Reminding yourself, you are GOOD ENOUGH.
- Try to avoid spending time with people who bring your mood down. Let them know how you feel about the way they talk to you.
- When you listen to that inner voice that is being very self-critical, think of how you would talk to a friend, and talk kindly to ourselves.
- Stop saying yes to please others, when you don’t want to do something, let people know honestly how you feel. Learn to say no, so you do not become overburdened and stressed.
- Remember, no one likes to be outside their comfort zone, by giving yourself a challenge and achieving your goal will increase your self-esteem. Start with small challenges and build to more complex ones.