A very important aspect of an individual’s life, self esteem is a much talked about factor that can completely influence an individual’s outlook and approach towards his life and environment. What is this Self esteem?
Rosenberg defined self-esteem in terms of a stable sense of personal worth or worthiness. Nathaniel Branden says that “Self-esteem is the experience of being competent to cope with the basic challenges of life and being worthy of happiness”.Simply put it is the confidence in our ability to think and to cope with the basic challenges of life. It is the package of beliefs that one carries around in his/her head, that one has accepted to be the truth about him or herself, whether it is or not. Self esteem is important as it has the power to influences our lives. It mainly influences ones achievement, accomplishments, beliefs, values, and ones commitment towards ones values.
How does low self esteem develop?
- Due to negative and bad environment.
- Put downs from significant others.
- Subjected to ridicule by others.
- Negative experiences.
- Failures and inability to see them in the right perspective.
Some people constantly view themselves negatively in every aspect of life. This is known as Low Self Esteem because you become what you think about most.
Characteristics of Low Self esteem:
- Undermining of one’s own abilities
- Feel devalued by others
- Feelings of helplessness
- Get influenced by others easily
- Avoidance of situations that provoke anxiety
- Become defensive and easily frustrated – Anger problems.
- Blame others for their own weaknesses
Alarm bells: Low self-esteem can have devastating consequences:
- Can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increased likelihood for depression.
- It can lead to underachievement and increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse.
- Worst of all, these negative consequences themselves reinforce the negative self-image and can take a person into a downward spiral of lower and lower self-esteem and increasingly non-productive or even actively self-destructive behavior.
However there is hope and one can develop healthy self esteem by taking focused efforts and systematic measures for the same.
Some Self esteem boosters:
Develop realistic expectations from the self: Most of us end up expecting too much from ourselves. Perfection is not possible but bettering our-self should be a lifetime goal.
Make balanced self evaluations: Recognize and focus on both your strengths and weaknesses. Accept your weaknesses. In fact, make a pact with yourself to work on them. Change what can be changed. But accept gracefully what you cannot.
Engage in useful and supportive behaviour: Drop avoidance and do not withdraw from life. In fact approach new situations with an open mind and engage in life doing pleasant activities.
Always speak well of yourself: Always have good things to say about yourself and if you have nothing good to say about yourself, keep your mouth shut.
Accept compliments: Accept and give compliments and recognize the beauty in yourself and others.
Treat yourself well: Let people know how you expect to be treated, in particular, set an example by the way you treat yourself and them.
Accept mistakes: Accept your own mistakes gracefully. There is nothing wrong in saying ‘Yes, I was wrong.”
Always, Always, Always… Think positively.
Take a few moments to answer the questions given below to determine your level of self esteem. This questionnaire is purely a simple indicator of the level of self esteem that you may currently be experiencing as an individual. It is not a substitute for seeking professional advice or diagnosis.
When will one know that self esteem has developed?
When you see these CHARACTERISTICS OF HIGH SELF-ESTEEM in yourself …..know that you have achieved your goal:
- Act independently
- Assume responsibility
- Be proud of accomplishments
- Approach new challenges with enthusiasm
- Exhibit a broad range of emotions
- Tolerate frustration well
- Feel capable of influencing others
Keep in mind the Self Esteem Mantra:
“No one can Make you feel inferior Without your Consent.”
Sr. Consulting Psychologist