It’s simple to undervalue the significance of having a healthy sense of self. But whether you feel good about yourself or not can, it depends on how you see yourself.
You can’t truly love others until you love yourself, and all of that advice—to believe in yourself, cherish yourself, and be your cheerleader—is true. However, what does that entail in practice? A successful, happy existence depends on having a high sense of self-worth.
But how can you tell if your self-esteem is sufficient? We’ll examine what self-esteem is, why it’s critical, and how to improve your own in the sections below.
We’ll also discuss the negative consequences of low self-esteem, the distinction between occasionally feeling down on yourself and actually having low self-esteem, whether you can have too high of self-esteem, the causes of low self-esteem, and advice for developing a more optimistic outlook on life.
Self-Esteem: What Is It?
It’s critical to comprehend what self-esteem actually is if you want to have high self-esteem. First and foremost, esteem connotes respect and appreciation.
High self-esteem is treating oneself with love, value, dignity, and respect in addition to appreciating oneself. A healthy sense of self-worth also involves having confidence in your capacity (to learn, succeed, and make a difference in the world) and independence. It indicates that your thoughts, emotions, and views are valuable.
To put it another way, self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself on the inside and out, including what you value in yourself and how you interact with others. It also has to do with how you think people see, handle, and value you. Because of this, people who live in violent environments or who have suffered trauma (especially as children) are more prone to feel poor self-esteem now and in the future.
Self-esteem isn’t solely reliant on one product or mindset. Instead, one’s perception of all the characteristics that make up who they are as a person—such as their personality, successes, talents, and abilities—as well as their background, experiences, relationships, and physical appearance—make up their self-esteem.
Depression versus self-esteem
Also, remember that depression is not the same as low self-esteem. Although the two ideas are related, poor self-esteem is seen as a risk factor for depression rather than the same thing as it (more on this below).
While self-esteem refers to how you feel and think about yourself, depression is a mental health disease that affects both the mind and the body. Additionally, while the self-esteem of some people is more consistent, that of others fluctuates more and more sensitive to mood and life events.
Remember that the numerous aspects of who you are—some of which are under your control, some of which are not—have an impact on whether you have high self-esteem or low self-esteem.
What ultimately counts is what you prioritize from among these numerous criteria and how much grace and compassion you provide to yourself about the things you’re less enthusiastic about.
A high sense of self-worth entails having a favourable opinion of oneself. This does not imply that you are flawless or that you enjoy everything about yourself. On the other hand, it’s normal to be self-critical and to have some aspects of yourself that you are less proud of or satisfied with than others, even for individuals with high self-esteem. Having a high sense of self-worth might change depending on the situation.
High self-esteem is a mentality that enables you to enjoy your accomplishments, confront your shortcomings, and feel positive about your life and yourself. Because you fundamentally cherish, believe in, and respect yourself, it enables you to put daily ups and downs into perspective.
Additionally, having a high sense of self-worth enables you to see that nothing is about you, which allows you to avoid taking things personally and reacting inappropriately. You can see beyond yourself and have confidence in your place in the world when you have a high sense of self-respect.
It’s interesting to note that having high self-esteem is not always correlated with the situations or characteristics that you might logically assume should do so.
Why Self-Esteem is Important
The American Psychological Association claims that having a high sense of one’s worth is essential for good mental health and well-being. Because it enables you to build coping mechanisms, dealing with hardship, and put the bad things in perspective, having high self-esteem is important.
The aspects of yourself that you aren’t happy with are less likely to receive undue attention, blame, self-doubt, hopelessness, or weight if you have a higher self-concept. Additionally, you’re better equipped to handle pressure from peers, family, work, and school.
A person with high self-esteem is more likely to look for what they can change or improve upon rather than feel like a “failure” or despair as a result of any perceived “failings” than to feel hopeless, stuck, or worthless.
Risks Associated with Low Self-Esteem
Researchers frequently refer to self-esteem as existing on a continuum, just as many aspects of mental health.
Like anything in life, as you get older, go through life, and react to significant life events, your self-image is likely to develop and alter.
It is also true that people tend to have a fixed level of self-esteem, whether it be high, low, or in the middle. Lower self-image affects all aspects of life, including social interactions, attention, emotional control, decision-making, and life satisfaction.
As was already mentioned, having high self-esteem makes it easier for you to bounce back from negative situations and any negative opinions or feelings that may be directed at you by others. A poorer self-concept, on the other hand, makes you more inclined to take rejection or criticism personally and to believe that other people’s issues are related to you.
Comparing low mood with low self-esteem
In essence, low self-esteem is more than merely being unhappy or having a bad day. Everyone experiences sadness when bad things happen, but these emotions usually pass and, especially for those who have high self-esteem, don’t significantly affect one’s sense of worth. Instead, low self-esteem is a persistently negative self-image that persists over time, regardless of your circumstances, even though it may fluctuate with positive and negative occurrences in your life.
Ability to Experience Depression
There is a particularly high correlation between mental health issues and poor self-esteem. Contrary to popular belief, research firmly demonstrates that low self-esteem causes depression rather than the other way around. Thus, depression does not result in a low opinion of oneself. Instead, having a negative self-image increases your risk of developing depression.
How to Boost Self-Esteem
As was previously mentioned, raising your level of self-esteem requires practice and intentionality, but it is well worth the effort gave that there is a direct correlation between it and quality of life. You can use the following techniques to help you think more positively of yourself:
Instead of resisting praise, resist the impulse and allow it to enter. It’s interesting to note that low self-esteem and having a hard time taking praise are related.
Take a Break for Yourself
Be kind to yourself, and stop talking to and thinking bad things about yourself. Nobody is flawless or completely in love with themselves. Don’t hold yourself to that standard. Ask yourself if you’re being realistic or fair to yourself as you start to slide downward.
Embrace Your Flaws And Love Yourself
Yes, there may be things about you that you wish were different, want to change, or are simply unhappy with, but you should still respect and love yourself.
Respect yourself as you are.
Focus on accepting and appreciating who you are right now. Look for and take pride in the things that make you special, content, and valuable.
Understanding the Value of Self-Esteem
You might be more driven to change your thinking and respect yourself more if you start to realize how your perspective on yourself affects life’s happiness and well-being.
You can develop skills to stop negative self-talk and achieve a more positive view of yourself through therapy, such as cognitive-behavioural therapy, to address any issues that may be preventing you from having a positive outlook on yourself.
Get a gratitude journal going
Write down all the good things in your life, the things you enjoy about yourself, and the achievements or attributes you are proud of in a gratitude book. Then, anytime you are feeling low about yourself, read it over.
Write Down Your Thoughts
Make a conscious decision to either work constructively on negative ones or let them go when they occur. Aim to reinforce your positive thoughts, especially when unfavourable ones come to mind.
Consider yourself a friend.
When evaluating a buddy, you are probably more inclined to be kind, patient, forgiving, supportive, and proud than when evaluating oneself. So the next time you find yourself criticizing yourself, take a step back, change your viewpoint, and treat yourself like a friend.
Consider what changes you can make if there are aspects of yourself or your life that you don’t feel good about. Create a strategy to implement those changes after that.