Self-esteem is a question of learning.
Somewhere along the line, you have picked up an image of yourself that has been your companion for many years. Maybe somebody made you feel you weren’t good enough. Well, you’re not alone. But if that image doesn’t make you feel good it is time you tell it goodbye and replace it with a better image. Sounds too easy? Well, it can be a hard job. But it can be done. You can change how you view yourself. You can raise your self-esteem.
Maybe you feel you have been ruled by the past for too long and want to learn to trust yourself and respect your decisions. You want to feel that you can make a difference.
You need to learn to accept yourself as you are and start to assert who you are by respecting your own opinions, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and needs. Remember that other people’s opinions are other people’s opinions. You have your own. Don’t agree to things you really do not want.
What is self-esteem?
There are a number of definitions of what self-esteem is. The Oxford English Dictionary says that self-esteem is “a good opinion of oneself”. It is the personal foundation upon which everything else in your life is built. There can’t be many people who haven’t felt a lack of self-esteem in their lives at some point. But developing high self-esteem is the best thing that you can do for your health.
When you have high self-esteem, you are more likely to reach your highest potential, regardless of others’ opinions. Having low self-esteem means that you are less likely to set personal professional goals and take risks that would result in enhanced self-growth and personal development.
But having high self-esteem doesn’t mean being self-centered, egocentric, or snobbish and it is more than just positive thinking at its most basic (although this is important) and just feeling good about yourself regardless.
It is to do with valuing and accepting your qualities and skills, learning to assert yourself appropriately, and tackling life’s challenges in a positive and productive way. As you start to acknowledge and accept your unique qualities, you are also more able to relate to others in a more enjoyable way.
Causes of low self-esteem
There are many causes of low self-esteem and so it is quite complex. But obviously, our upbringing plays a part, as does the cultural/social environment in which we live, our own personality, and the beliefs, thoughts, attitudes, and ideas that we hold and express. Gender does influence how low self-esteem plays out as well – women are much more likely to use the term about themselves.
“I always wanted to be somebody, but now I see I should have been more specific” – Lily Tomlin, (US Comedienne and Actress)
You can change your level of self-esteem, but it is a process – you don’t go from having low self-esteem to high self-esteem in a matter of days! It is a process and not always an easy one. Always be aware of the process and how far you’ve come.
But where do you begin?
Everything begins with a plan.
You can improve your self-esteem and improve your personal foundation considerably by doing what I call self-esteem activity, by which I mean learning ways in which to develop a more positive and constructive mindset, build a strong and encouraging friendship/support structure and eliminate those activities and relationships which drain your time and energy.
Self-esteem is often seen as an emotional attitude or state which cannot be controlled – it just is. Well, it just isn’t and you can begin to make self-esteem lesson plans. You can make a plan, a plan to view yourself positively, learn how to value and accept yourself. This will have an impact on all areas of your life.
There are a number of ways to build self-esteem; learning how to set personal professional goals, using affirmations consistently to help stimulate your imagination of how you want to change and what you want to create in your life, reading, and using self-esteem quotes to provide you with inspiration and motivation.
Having low self-esteem is often a matter of self-evaluation and can be so well camouflaged that it is rarely visible to others!
When you start to make positive choices you will also start to make professional decisions that will help you succeed, enhance existing relationships and make new ones based on a more positive self-concept.