Self-Esteem: The Power in Believing in Yourself
As a kid, you were encouraged to play with other children, join contests, or enter plays. You may have also experienced being bullied, shamed, or traumatized. All of these — the good and bad events — influence your self-esteem.
Self-esteem can make or break a person. High or positive self-esteem can help you achieve whatever you put your mind to; It's like having a superpower.
Low or negative self-esteem, on the other hand, can be challenging. This makes you dwell on the negative side of things and second-guess yourself.
Self-esteem affects your overall well-being because this determines how you view life and yourself.
What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is how you view yourself. Whether you feel good or bad about yourself, it reflects through your self-esteem. It also equates to how you perceive your worth.
In Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-esteem is the last level before reaching self-actualization. You build your self-esteem based on the following:
- Physical appearance
- Skills and achievements
- Values and principles
- People’s impression of us
What is High and Low Self-Esteem?
You have high self-esteem when you generally feel good about yourself. You have confidence in yourself. This makes you feel good and allows you to perform better than others. You have no trouble taking criticisms. You get along with people well, and problems don’t faze you that much.
On the other hand, people with low or negative self-esteem doubt every move they make. They have little to no confidence in themselves and often equate their troubles to being unworthy. Anxiety and overthinking are commonly experienced. This is why having low self-esteem can lead to mental health issues like depression and even suicide.
Studies show that women have lower self-esteem than men. This is because women are prone to be emotionally sensitive. It makes them conscious about themselves and others. But, that doesn't mean men are exempted from this. There are men with low self-esteem, too.
What are the signs?
Self-esteem is often manifested in a person's behavior. You can easily find out if a person has high or low self-esteem through the following:
Signs of High Self-Esteem
- Confident, but not arrogant
- Asks for feedback
- Faces conflicts head-on
- Clear on setting boundaries
- Doesn't seek approval from others
- Expresses need and vocal on opinions
- Not a perfectionist
- Sure of him/herself
- Not afraid of failure and rejection
- Comfortable with themselves
Signs of Low Self-Esteem
- Judgmental and critical of yourself
- Dismissive of positive traits
- Compares yourself to others
- Doesn't take credit for achievements
- Doesn't take compliments
- Always irate and agitates
- Experiences relationship problems
- Feels worthless
- Always anxious and worried
Related: Understanding Depression
However, your self-esteem is not permanent. It shifts depending on the experiences you're having. The good news is you can manage and develop it to be better. There are self-esteem activities that can help you shift your outlook in life to a positive one.
Self-Esteem Building Activities
Positive affirmations for self-esteem building can help develop high self-esteem. Here are some ways:
- Set short-term and long-term goals—the more realistic, the better
- Make a list of your characteristics that you like—even as simple as "I like the color of my eyes" will do!
- Make a list of your weaknesses—be honest and think of ways how you can develop it.
- Don't compare yourself to others—everyone is unique. Everyone is moving at their own pace and timelines.
- Meditate—find peace and calm amidst the chaos. This will also help you drown out the voice whispering negative thoughts in your mind.
- Try talking to yourself in the mirror—this can be awkward at first, but when you get used to it, this can help you be more comfortable with yourself.
- Own your success—you earned every bit of achievement you made. Remind yourself of that.
- Make mistakes—that way, you can learn. Mistakes are not supposed to define you!
- Pause—when you feel overwhelmed, pause, take a step back, and breathe.
- Keep a journal—write down the things you can't say out loud—your achievements, your failures, hopes, and dreams.
- Cut yourself some slack—be kind to yourself! It's okay if you didn't perform well today. You can always do better tomorrow.
- Find time for yourself—"me" time is always a good idea. You can use this time to discover a new hobby or do the things you've been meaning to but kept putting off.
- Have a personal support group—your friends and families can greatly help! But, if you need a bit more convincing, you can ask for help from a professional. There's no shame in that.
People are always searching for validation from others just to make them feel good. It’s not supposed to be that way. Learn to be confident on your own by boosting your self-esteem, and you'll be amazed by all the things you can do.