Self-esteem is feeling good about who you are. It is not devoting your life to pleasing everyone else but rather being true to yourself, your needs, and your desires. People with low self-esteem put a lot of weight into what other people think of them. They twist and turn events to make them reflect negatively on themselves. They get hurt and upset when faced with personal failures. Rather than forgiving the past and moving forward, those with low self-esteem hold on to past mistakes and consistently think of themselves in the worst ways.
It is important to take care of yourself and work to increase your overall self-esteem. Those with a healthy level of self-esteem have a greater sense of confidence and wellbeing. Overall they value themselves and have more positive relationships as a result.
How do you know if you have healthy self-esteem and what changes can you make to enhance your self-esteem?
To start let’s look at the qualities of people with healthy self-esteem:
1.) They speak up without fear of rejection. If you have a healthy level of self-esteem and you notice something true, you are not afraid to speak up about it. You are not concerned about how others might perceive your statement because you know it to be true.
2.) They are modest. When others point out your positive qualities, your gifts, and talents, you immediately feel good. You feel proud and grateful.
3.) They make their own decisions. They are not followers. Those with unhealthy self-esteem desperately want to fit in. They want to be part of the crowd so they can feel good about themselves. But, when you have greater self-esteem you don’t need to follow others, you can do your own thing and feel confident in your decision.
4.) They know how to separate emotions from the message. What do I mean by this? When someone with healthy self-esteem is given advice they can see the advice for what it is and choose to implement it if they would like. Those with unhealthy self-esteem might get angry, hurt, or frustrated that someone would even dare suggest that they do that. It is about separating our emotions from the message. Not getting hurt by a helpful (or unhelpful) comment, rather seeing things as they are.
5.) They take full responsibility for their actions. They don’t play the blame game. When we always feel bad about ourselves we don’t want to admit that we made a mistake or did something wrong, instead, we would rather blame it on someone else. It is a protective measure. People with healthy self-esteem do their best to keep their promises and take full responsibility for their actions, which in turn builds self-confidence.
6.) They keep the past in the past. People with healthy self-esteem aren’t focusing on things that happened in the past. They understand the past is the past, the present is the present, and the future is the future. Just because you forgot something yesterday doesn’t mean you will forget it today.
7.) They encourage and trust in other’s abilities. One of the best ways to help those we love is to encourage and believe in their abilities. People who have healthy self-esteem are better able to respect and appreciate the abilities and skills of others.
8.) They recognize the roles emotions play in people’s lives. Having healthy self-esteem means understanding that emotions like anger, fear, jealousy, and guilt have deeper roots. Instead of taking those emotions at face value, they look for deeper reasons.
Take Baby Steps
If this sounds like you, congratulations on having a healthy self-esteem. If this doesn’t sound like you, that’s ok. Many people struggle with their self-esteem and self-worth. The good news is you can make small changes every day to enhance your overall sense of self and ultimately improve your wellbeing.
If you are struggling with your self-esteem it can be extremely helpful to speak with a counseling professional. They can help you sort through your feelings and work on a plan to get you feeling better.
Other tips to work on your self-esteem include:
1.) Positive self-talk: Pay attention to the way you talk to yourself. Would you talk to a friend like this? Make a list of all the good things about yourself and focus on those.
2.) Practice mindfulness: Work on living in the here and now, instead of worrying about what happened yesterday or what is yet to come.
3.) Forgive: Let go of things that you did in the past, regrets, guilt. These feelings are not helping you, they are only hindering your ability to move forward.
4.) Practice self-care: If you are exhausted from life you are not going to feel very great about yourself. Get rest. Do things that make you happy.
5.) Learn to say no: Practice being assertive and turning down things that don’t bring you joy.
6.) Take on challenges: Instead of giving up on something because it is hard, work to figure it out. You might surprise yourself and feel pretty great in the end.
You can do this. You can improve your self-esteem and overall sense of wellbeing. You can feel happier and more confident. Take it one step at a time.
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Counselors at CW Psychological Services are professionally-trained and licensed. We have openings for online, or telehealth, therapy appointments. Email us at email@example.com or call at (610) 308-7575. We are here for you.