What is self-esteem?
According to Wikipedia, “Self esteem is a term used in psychology to reflect a person’s overall emotional evaluation of his or her own worth. It is a judgment of oneself as well as an attitude toward the self.” In other words, it’s a judgment of your own worthiness, which more often than not has no connection with reality. People with high self-esteem are happier and live healthier lives. They are motivated and feel confident about their abilities. They tend to challenge themselves at work because they feel they can live up to their own expectations. They take failures and mistakes as opportunities to learn rather than as a reflection of their unworthiness. It becomes clear that improving self-esteem should be among your priorities when a large percentage of your thoughts are along the lines of, “I can’t do that,” “I’m not good enough to apply for that job,” “She’ll never give me that chance,” etc.
Although self-esteem is not classed as a mental health issue the two are very closely linked.
When you have negative thoughts and thinking patterns over time these can lead to anxiety and depression.
Having low self-esteem can also stop you from starting new things such as new job or hobby due to fear of failure, this can stop you living the life you want to and again over time lead to frustration and depression.
If you find certain situations difficult because of low self-esteem, you may start to avoid them and become increasingly socially isolated. This can cause feelings of anxiety and depression that can develop into mental health problems over time.
Some mental health issues such as eating disorders, certain phobias such as social phobias and depression can lead to negative thoughts about yourself.
Having a phobia such as using public transport may lead to difficulties holding down a job or attending social functions, this can lead to you having negative thoughts about yourself and lead to low self-esteem which feeds the mental health issue in a vicious circle.
How can you help yourself and build your self-esteem. You have to start by challenging and changing the negative beliefs you have about yourself. To start with this may sound like mission impossible and a task to difficult.
There are a number of ways to challenge the negatives, do something that you enjoy and are good at it does not matter what it is be it a hobby, work, helping in the community or a job you are good at, we all have positives that we can use to challenge and change the negatives.
Build positive relationships rather than the negatives, surround yourself with people who do not criticise and feed your negative beliefs, be with people who are positive and supportive of you by doing this you feed your positive beliefs and that in turn changes the old negative beliefs you had.
Be more active and look after your physical health, we all in our past have had hobbies and activities we enjoyed from a simple walk in the countryside to scuba diving, by being more active and doing something you enjoy you build positives and increase your self-esteem.
One aspect of life that so many of us neglect is sleep, create a good sleep pattern. Lack of sleep can lead to the negatives being exaggerated. I will do a separate post on the importance of creating a good sleep pattern.
Diet is as I have discussed a massive part of so many mental health issues, a healthy balanced diet helps in more ways than one, cut down on alcohol intake as well.
Write down your goals using the post setting goals create a challenge for yourself as you reach each milestone in your goal reward yourself, this will create positive feelings in yourself. No matter how small the step in the goal you are on the right path to reaching the desired outcome for the life you want to lead.
Identify the negative beliefs and ask yourself what you can learn from them. It is helpful to write things down keep a journal.
- What do you feel are your weaknesses or failings?
- What negative things do you think other people think about you?
- If you could sum yourself up, what word would you use – ‘I am…’?
- When did you start feeling like this?
- Can you identify an experience or event that might have caused this feeling?
- Do you find you have certain negative thoughts on a regular basis?
Focus on the positives in your life identify things that are positive. Identify skills you have, things that you do well, positives about your personality, positives in your life no matter how small you believe them to be. Ask friends or your partner for positives about you, keep a daily diary of things that went well, things that were positive.
10 tips to increase your self-esteem
Remember these top tips to help you build your self-esteem.
- Do activities that you enjoy.
- Spend time with positive, supportive people.
- Be helpful and considerate to others.
- Try not to compare yourself to other people.
- Try to do regular exercise, eat healthily and get enough sleep.
- Be assertive – don’t let people treat you with a lack of respect.
- Use self-help books and websites to develop helpful skills, like assertiveness or mindfulness.
- Learn to challenge your negative beliefs.
- Acknowledge your positive qualities and things you are good at.
- Get into the habit of thinking and saying positive things about yourself.
There are many ways we can work on self esteem, if you have any questions or need any help with the issues here please contact me.