What is the Meaning of Self Esteem
Self-esteem is the overall perception of one’s self. This decision is greatly influenced by an attitude towards self hence, considered as a measure of how a person appreciates, values, approves of or likes him or herself. Morris Rosenberg, one of the sociologists who developed this construct, defined self-esteem as having a feeling of self-worth. He is also credited with developing the most widely used scale that helps assess the level of one’s self-esteem. According to the scale scores, less than 15 indicate the individual has low self-esteem while scores between 16 and 40 show you have high self-esteem. High self-esteem allows people to have a positive perception of life and an assertive attitude.
Factors that Influence Self Esteem
Surprisingly many people are getting diagnosed with low self-esteem; most of them are young individuals who have mental health problems. While many factors cause individuals to develop low self-esteem (discussed later in the text), mental health problems like depression have been found to cause it.
A study involving psychiatric out-patients found that those who had depression exhibited signs of low self-esteem compared to other mental health groups. Other factors that influence self-esteem include:
- Social circumstances
- Life Experiences
How to Rebuild and Get Better Self Esteem
High self-esteem not only enables us to love ourselves but also lets us enjoy healthy relationships with others. However, changing the deep-rooted thoughts and feelings of worthlessness requires a deliberate and consistent effort.
If you are struggling with rebuilding self-esteem, getting help from a professional mental supporter is another way to relieve the problem. In many countries such as Australia, where many organisations like Open Minds provides many services to empower people to succeed. It’s important to know what services available in your area when you need help. Experts often recommend a form of therapy to enable patients to identify the underlying reasons for the negative thoughts. The goal is to adjust the sad feelings to positive ones and here is how to work on self-esteem.
Keep a Journal
Wring does not only help improving writing skills. It also helps you to become a better communicator. Writing is a great recovery tool that enables you to know more about yourself. Journaling brings your thoughts and feelings to perspective thus, identifying the underlying issues that cause the feelings of anger, excitement or resentment. You may discover that you are worried about a problem you hardly thought would upset you.
Another benefit of keeping a journal is that it allows you to take control of your feelings. People with low self-esteem often feel powerless. But, writing about how you feel empowers you to do something that helps you feel better.
Low self-esteem is often associated with feelings of loneliness. Meditation enables such patients to increase self-esteem in two ways. First, patients get to know and accept who they are. They realize that doubts, fears or insecurities are superficial as they begin to connect with deep levels of self-worth, trust and dignity. Secondly, the individual accepts all aspects of himself (both good and bad).
This is because meditation enables him to develop a more profound conviction of pursuing happiness regardless of his circumstances. The belief that you are not good enough disappears, and you begin to love yourself more than ever.
Challenge Negative Beliefs
Most individuals develop low self-esteem as a result of negative beliefs instilled by parents, colleagues and ex-partners. You need to rewrite this script by challenging every negative thought that lowers your self-esteem.
Begin to identify the negative beliefs you have allowed to become part of your life and challenge them. You can write them down to help you recognise when you started thinking about such thoughts. Next, write down statements or quotes that will challenge these beliefs. For example, instead of believing that you are stupid, you can say what you are good at, e.g. painting, cryptic crosswords or a particular sport. Write other positive things about yourself and compliments that other people give you.
Aim to create a list of five things you can add regularly and hang it somewhere you can see. This way, you keep reminding yourself that you are okay and develop a new perspective about yourself.
Set Realistic Expectations
Some of the people who suffer from low self-esteem are perfectionists. Such individuals live with a constant sense of failure because their achievements are not good enough. To overcome this feeling, you need to make reasonable goals and leave room for failure. Keep in mind that failing in something does not make you a loser. Failing gives you a chance to improve yourself and discover a better way of doing something.
Learn to Say No
The biggest problem with people who have low self-esteem is that they feel the need to please people so that they love or respect them in return. These individuals end up feeling used and aggrieved. Your worth does not depend on another person’s approval. People love who you are, not what you can do for them.
Additionally, you need to have limits on what you can do for others. It reduces feelings of resentment, and you learn how to put yourself first.
Featured image courtesy of Pixabay.