Self Esteem

Self esteem isn’t based on height or any other physical characteristics. It is based on two things. How you feel about yourself and how you treat other people. The two parts are in interaction with each other. The more good you do for others, the better you will feel about yourself. The better you feel about yourself, the more you will be willing to take risks in enriching your relationships with others.

Self esteem is your overall opinion of yourself. How you honestly feel about your abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self esteem you put little value on your opinions and ideas. You might constantly worry that you aren’t “good enough”.

Self esteem begins to form in early childhood. Factors that can influence self esteem include: Your own thoughts and perceptions, how people react to you, experience at school, illness, disability or injury, culture and religion.

Relationships with those close to you, such as your parents, siblings, peers, teachers and other important contacts, are especially important to your self esteem. Many beliefs you hold today reflect messages you have received from these people over time. If your close relationships are strong and you receive generally positive feedback, you are more likely to see yourself as worthwhile and have a healthier self esteem. If you receive mostly negative feedback and are often criticized, teased or devalued by others, you are more likely to struggle with poor self esteem.

Depending on circumstances, self esteem fluctuates. There are days when you feel down or especially good. However, self esteem stays in a range that reflects how you feel about yourself overall. Healthy self esteem lies between two extremes. Overly high self esteem is where you regard yourself more highly than others do and have an inflated sense of self and feel superior to others around you. Low self esteem or negative self esteem is when you put little value on your opinions and ideas and give low credit to your own skills and assets. You believe that others are more capable or successful and are unable to accept compliments or positive feedback. You fear failure which then holds you back from succeeding at any task. When you value yourself, you have good self esteem, you feel secure and worthwhile and generally have positive relationships with others. You feel confident and open to learning and feedback, which can help you acquire and master new skills.

Self esteem affects virtually every facet of your life. It isn’t about blowing your own trumpet and cultivating an inflated ego. It’s about learning to like and respect yourself faults and all. No one is perfect, pat yourself on your back. Don’t waste energy wondering about what others are thinking. A confident self gives out strong vibrations and attracts positive feedback.

Some view self esteem as arrogance, narcissism or selfishness. Individuals with healthy self esteem are humble and recognize all peoples worth. They are realistic. Those with good self esteem are able to realistically and honestly evaluate their strengths weaknesses and potential.

Research has found positive links between healthy self esteem and many desirable outcomes, including happiness, humility, resilience and optimism. Studies show that low self esteem is related to stress, depression and anxiety.

There are several strategies for strengthening self esteem. Some are simple as eating healthy, participating in physical activities, getting enough sleep and treating medical or psychological conditions. Identify what you may be doing to perpetuate your low self esteem. Surround yourself with positive people, avoid toxic people who further sink your self esteem. Many people don’t voice their needs and let others speak for them and encourage others to talk down to themselves. Identify and challenge self critical thoughts. Certain distorted thought patterns enable low self esteem. Learn to challenge negative thoughts. “I’m a loser”, “I can’t do anything”, or “I’m completely inadequate and will always be so”.

Find out who you are? What do you value in life? What matters to you? Once you can pin point your values, you might even realize that the very things you beat yourself up about, have nothing to do with your goals. Getting to know yourself better, helps you assess your traits and determine which are in line with the person you would like to be. Healthy self esteem doesn’t mean thinking you are flawless. It means knowing realistically what you need to work on and making the necessary changes. If you like being social, join a club, start volunteering. Seek therapy for anger issues. Learn what lights you up. Low self esteem people have long list of “can’t do”- change it.

These strategies may seem awkward at first, but with practice, you will begin to recognize your own thoughts that contribute to your low self esteem and you can actively counter them to help yourself accept and value yourself as a person. As your self esteem increases, your confidence and sense of well being will soar.

Body language should not be used alone for making serious decisions about people. It is just one of the indicators of mood meaning and motive and can be the cause of much confusion and miscommunication.

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