Self-esteem is an essential aspect of our well-being and influences various areas of our lives. It affects how we perceive ourselves, interact with others, and navigate the challenges that come our way. Therefore, building and maintaining a healthy self-esteem is a journey worth embarking on.
Considering fluctuations and the different circumstances we face in our everyday lives, it's completely natural to have a lower self-esteem on some days than others. However, it's important to maintain an overall healthy range of self-esteem.
Self-esteem is the foundation of our self-worth and plays a crucial role in our overall mental health. When we have healthy self-esteem, we have a positive self-image, believe in our abilities, and have the resilience to face life’s obstacles. It impacts our relationship, career success, and personal happiness. When we have a healthy self-esteem, we continue to maintain a positive outlook even when things don't completely go our way. Ups and downs are a natural part of our lives, and individuals with a healthy self-esteem understand that and don't criticize themselves for small step-backs.
When you have a healthy self-esteem, you are able to be assertive in expressing your thoughts, display confidence in your decisions, maintain healthy and secure relationships, and have reasonable expectations of yourself that are not too high or low. People with healthy self-esteem are also less likely to develop certain mental health conditions including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, and addictions.
Conversely, individuals with a lower self-esteem tend to have a more negative outlook, criticize themselves for failures, and constantly doubt their abilities. They typically participate in negative self-talk, doubt themselves, and have a diminished sense of worth. They tend to fear trying new things due to their fear of failure, have lower expectations for themselves, and disregard positive feedback by attributing it to something other than themselves.
Here are some signs that you may have a lower than healthy self-esteem:
- Having an all-or-nothing mindset: You perceive things to be either all good or bad.
- Disregarding positives things: You disregard the positive things you do or the positive things that happen to you, and make excuses for your achievement. For example, "I only did well on that test because it was easy".
- focusing on the negative aspects: You constantly dwell on the negative aspects of life and don't allow yourself to see the positive things.
- Jumping to negative conclusions: You always assume the worst and don't give yourself, others, or situations "the benefit of the doubt".
- Personalizing everything, especially when negative: You have a faulty belief that all the negative things that happen are your fault and wrongdoing.
- Overgeneralizing: You begin to think everything is wrong after one negative fact or experience.
- Believing your thoughts are facts: You feel lazy or not smart, so you believe it to be the truth.
Self-esteem influences multiple aspects of our lives, including:
- Relationships: healthy self-esteem fosters healthy relationships
- Career: Possessing a positive self-esteem enables you to pursue career opportunities with confidence, believe your abilities, and handle professional challenges effectively
- Mental health: Building self-esteem can contribute to an improved mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and negative self-talk
- Personal growth: A strong sense of self-worth encourages personal growth, exploration, and the willingness to step outside your comfort zone
A few techniques to enhance your self-esteem
- Cultivate self-compassion: Practice self-compassion by treating yourself with kindness, understanding, and acceptance. Replace self-criticism with self-encouragement and positive affirmations.
- Identify and challenge your negative beliefs about yourself: Challenge the validity of your negative self-beliefs and replace them with empowering and realistic thoughts that reflect your true worth.
- Celebrate your strengths and achievements: Recognize and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Focus on your strengths and acknowledge the progress you make on your personal journey.
- Set realistic goals: Set goals that are achievable and align with your values and interests. By breaking down larger goals into smaller, manageable steps, you can boost your confidence as you accomplish each milestone.
- Practice self-care: Engage in activities that bring you joy, relaxation, and a sense of fulfillment. Taking care of yourself and prioritizing your well-being enhances self-esteem.
If you're facing challenges in improving your self-esteem, seeking therapy can be a valuable step towards personal growth and empowerment. Please don't hesitate to reach out to us for a consultation.