As we enter the new year, many of us make resolutions to change some aspect of ourselves. Whether or not it’s on your radar, the state of your self-esteem significantly shapes your life and how you feel about yourself. It holds sway over your relationships, decision-making processes, and contributes to your motivation and overall sense of well-being. Low self-esteem isn’t a fixed trait; it can yield long-lasting negative effects. So, what does self-esteem entail, and what strategies can we use to cultivate it?
In essence, self-esteem is your perspective of yourself—a subjective assessment of your worth and significance. Your self-esteem takes root early in life, influenced by experiences, societal roles, age, and the feedback you receive from others. While external interactions play a part in shaping your self-esteem, the strongest influence stems from your thoughts. Constantly dwelling on flaws and weaknesses can erode self-esteem, but the good news is that your thought patterns can be changed, allowing you to develop a more balanced self-perception.
It’s crucial to distinguish between low self-esteem and depression. Depression is a mental health condition affecting both mind and body, while self-esteem pertains to your feelings about yourself. While low self-esteem can predispose someone to depression, the two are distinct entities.
Signs of Healthy and Unhealthy Self-Esteem
Discerning where you fall on the self-esteem spectrum can be enlightening. Healthy self-esteem is characterized by maintaining realistic expectations, confident decision-making, a focus on strengths, and the ability to express needs and opinions without excessive self-criticism. Signs of unhealthy self-esteem include persistent feelings of inadequacy, disregarding one’s ideas and opinions, fixating on weaknesses, and difficulty accepting positive feedback or fear of failure.
Trust plays an important role in building self-esteem. Taking healthy risks is a key component, including differentiating between beneficial and detrimental risks.
Tips for Self-Esteem Enhancement
Fostering good self-esteem is a challenge, but the rewards are invaluable.
- Release the Grip of Comparison: Mindfully navigate social media and screen content, unfollowing negativity-inducing accounts. Reducing exposure can start guiding you toward positive change.
- Cultivate a Positive Inner Voice: Affirmations like “I’m doing the best I can” and “I am worthy” can boost self-esteem. Ensure these affirmations align with your core values.
- Acknowledge Your Strengths: Compile a list of your unique qualities and review it daily. Post it in visible places as a constant reminder.
- Grant Yourself Grace: Embrace imperfection and practice self-compassion. Imagine the advice you’d give a friend in a similar situation and adopt that mindset.
Turning around your self-esteem is an achievable feat with time and dedication. Seeking guidance from a therapist can offer valuable insights and support on this journey. If you need support, reach out today to get started.