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Self-esteem

Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself, how much worth you place on yourself, and the level of competence you possess to do things successfully in life. When you respect and believe in yourself as a reliable and worthy person, you acknowledge your personal strengths and weaknesses as a human being.

Your self-esteem is influenced by how much you value yourself for what you are, that is your self-worth and not what or how much material possessions you have. Your self-worth comes from within you, and is not dependent on others for it. Your self-worth is not less than another person’s who can do something which you can’t. Self-worth arises from your own thorough evaluation of yourself to identify and confirm the values that are intrinsic to your nature and character.

You gain self-esteem not from outside sources. Other people or things do not increase your self-esteem although by being nice to you and treating you well, they contribute to your self-esteem. Your self-esteem comes from self-respect. When you have respect for yourself, you do have respect for other people too. The others reciprocate by respecting you just as much. This means your outer being is a clear reflection of your inner being.

Your outward bearing or way of behaving towards others affects your self-esteem. Talk politely to people. Vow to yourself that you will never criticize or complain. It’s better to remain silent when you have nothing nice to say. In addition, make it a must that you dress smartly. Knowing that you are one of the best-dressed people around gives you a great feeling of self-esteem. At the same time, make sure that your walk is a brisk one.

Your feeling of self-esteem is closely tied to how positive or otherwise others view you. If they hold high opinions of you, and treat you with due respect, the better you feel about yourself. Your growing tendency is to feel great satisfaction, happier and you like yourself more. The more you like yourself, the better you perform in all areas of your life, and the relationships you develop with other people tend to be more stable. Your warm interactions with others help to improve your self-esteem.

You have varying degrees of self-esteem in different aspects of your life. You may lack self-esteem in mingling freely with other people, have low self-esteem in your appearance but high self-esteem in your academic study. However, overriding all this is how you truly feel about who you are and what you are doing. It is about respecting, accepting and valuing yourself as persons of great significance.

Having positive self-esteem implies a willingness to accept total responsibility. Accepting responsibility puts you completely in charge of your life, and of everything that happens to you. Being responsible, you do not blame others for whatever happens to you. You make sure that everything you do increases your self-esteem, or at the very least does not diminish your self-esteem. Accepting responsibility empowers you and bolsters your self-confidence to cope with any difficulty that comes your way.

Your belief determines your level of self-esteem. For example, believing that other people think highly of you raises your level of self-esteem. Thinking perhaps wrongly that they have a low opinion of you lessens your self-esteem. Examine your beliefs and find out for certain whether your beliefs are true or false. If the latter, ascertain how they come into being, and make the necessary corrections.

The critical stage in the development of your self-esteem was during your childhood. Your childhood memories of how your parents treated you remain with you till adulthood. Their attitudes towards you mould your self-esteem. The experience of being loved unconditionally by your parents gives you a high sense of self-worth, which simply put is your feeling of value and significance. The possession of such a sense of self-worth places within you a source of valuable resources and personal attributes that sustain you in adverse circumstances.

You can actually increase your self-esteem gradually without having to do it in a hurried manner. Just try it. From this moment on promise yourself to do something minor and positive every day even if it is something that is not impressive and striking, but something that benefits any aspect of you or your life – your personality, health, family, partner, relationships with others, or business. In addition, you can offer your personal service to a cause or charity. As time passes, the cumulative effects of the things you have done will add significantly to your self-esteem, and empower you to proceed towards accomplishing more.

Developing better self-esteem requires you to be more proactive in life. Get more done, make changes inwardly and outwardly, concentrate on personal improvements such as learning new skills, do physical exercises including breathing exercises every day, practise personal hygiene, overcome limited thinking, be more creative in whatever you do, refuse to let negative feelings like worry, anger, etc. inhibit you, build on your relationships with others, and take good care of yourself.

People with self-esteem manage their lives very well. Their lives are usually free from stress, worries and constraint, and they enjoy ease, relaxation and the feeling of self-satisfaction. They have the emotional security that most people need. Unfair criticisms do not ruffle them. Their cheerful and optimistic nature and pleasant personality attract others to want to be around them.

A person having high self-esteem is ever prepared to overcome his or her adversity. She knows she has to put in a great deal of effort to solve her problems. She also knows eventually she will triumph and it’s well worth the effort. Do not expect her to be bullied, or tolerate abuse in a relationship. She knows her rights, and does not hesitate to break off the relationship. Mutually good self-esteem is necessary for a partnership to work.

If you accept and trust yourself unconditionally, you tend to like yourself more and you are free from self-criticism. How much you like yourself is reflected in your friendly attitudes towards other people, and they respond accordingly. You strengthen your self-esteem when you discover how easily you can interact well with other people. A stronger self-esteem gives you increased confidence to get more involved in emotional or personal relationships.

You should have no difficulty in building a stable relationship with all kinds of people. Besides improving yourself, you can work on the self-esteem of the other persons to improve the relationship further. When you do what you can to make them feel good, important, or worthy of your attention, they likewise makes you feel good, important, or worthy of their attention. You also accept each of them unconditionally as a person of great significance and value. You do not fail to express your gratitude when gratitude is due to them. Your gratitude makes them feel what they have done worthwhile. This respect is a big boost for their self-esteem.

When praise is due to you, you must know you rightly deserve it. Do you, like most people, downplay what you have done that attracted the praise? And perhaps belittle yourself as if you are not worthy of the praise. For example, you say what you have done is nothing much or that it is luck that you have succeeded in doing it. This is being unkind to yourself. You can be your worst enemy, doing to yourself what other people do not do to you. Even if they do it to you, you do not allow it. But you permit only your own self to inflict damage on your self-esteem.

Compliments can be reasonably regarded as positive feedback. They certainly raise the level of your confidence. When you refuse or are shy to accept compliments from someone, you are denying yourself the opportunity to know what favourable opinions they have of you. If you constantly dismiss compliments given to you, you are in fact discouraging others from complimenting you, thus you experience only criticism in your life. Over time, you lose whatever self-esteem you have.

If only you can learn to avoid negative self-judgment. Without a doubt, most of you have a great liking for judging your own selves harshly, to some it is a habit. When you carry out a task and perform poorly, you feel disappointed in yourself, and so you pass unfair judgment on yourself even though it is unjustifiable to do so. This unjust way of judging weakens your self-esteem. On the other hand, when you put in a fine performance, you simply ignore it when you should be reinforcing your self-esteem with the compliments and praises.

Besides unfair self-judgment, you seldom hesitate to label yourself in whatever way you see fit. Labels such as “I am a no good parent. I am careless, clumsy, lazy, slow, not good enough and so on.” But because you behave in accordance with how you perceive yourself, these labels begin to dictate your actions. These labels have to be banished from your mind, and are never to be reused. If you have to have labels at all, let yourself have correct labeling that boosts your self-esteem.

Whether you welcome or not suggestions, advice, ideas, constructive criticisms, corrections, etc is a test of your self-esteem. If your self-esteem is low, you think you are above all suggestions and ideas and you proceed to thinking that you do not need any help from anybody. On the other hand, if the level of your self-esteem is high, you welcome whatever information, guidance or recommendations others offer to impart although you need not accept them indiscriminately. It is the end results, and not the sources of contribution, that matter.

You may display strong self-confidence openly but an outsider can easily notice the low level of self-esteem within you. If you are constantly worrying about your faults or thinking continually about what wrong you have committed, you are depriving yourself of the kind of self-esteem that is rightfully yours. You must believe you are worthy of great respect and admiration, and no one can take that away from you. Just remember you have your successes, however minor they are they are still successes attained not by chance.

Your self-worth is gradually and relentlessly being made weaker when you continuously speak negatively to yourself or you treat yourself with disrespect. Openly expressing unfavourable opinions about your own self is not being humble. Instead, you are displaying a serious fault that needs immediate correction. Your lack of self-respect makes other people, especially your enemies or those who dislike you, emboldened to pass similar critical comments about you. They disparate you regardless of whether you like it or not in the way you do to yourself. The pain you feel is very likely to be a great deal worse when the hurtful remark about you comes from someone else, and not from your own mouth.

Each time you belittle or criticize yourself unfairly, you are weakening your self-esteem. A low self-esteem affects every aspect of your life. You find it virtually impossible to perform effectively in your workplace, you are deeply unhappy with the life you are leading, or you are wholly unable to handle personal relationships. You only have to understand clearly that you do not have to be completely successful or to be perfect in order to deserve praise or feel confident.

Unfavourable comments or negative criticisms are never welcome, more so from someone else or even someone who is close to you. Suffering in silence will only subject yourself to further verbal abuses as the persons making them may not realize the harm they are inflicting on you or they know but choose not to care. They must be made to be fully aware of the severe injury they are causing, and be advised to cease doing it. Issuing them a warning or an ultimatum is the only good idea, and if they ignore it, the ultimate action must be taken which is avoiding them altogether or walking out on them.

Sometimes when you experience low self-esteem you find yourself dependent on someone or something. The danger here is to become too dependent on them. When this happens, it deprives you of having a normal, equal and happy relationship with others. Besides, you lose control of being a self-reliant and self-confident person.

People who feel they are taken advantage of or manipulated harbour a fair deal of unexpressed feelings. Feelings of angry hurt, resentment, annoyance, sadness, displeasure, and hostility remain bottled up. For others, emotional overreactions at the slightest provocation that is perceived to be so continue to be a personal habit. Such emotional problems steadily diminish their self-esteem. Getting rid of such feelings is a good way of releasing tension. But that is not the answer. The solution lies in having the correct perception so that hostile or negative feelings do not arise.

A person with poor self-esteem is unable to accept constructive criticism. You should be ready to accept constructive criticisms as feedback to help you improve yourself. After all, other people can better see your shortcomings than you ever can. Criticism, however, can also be negative. You must be quick to notice and respond to negative criticisms. Some people have ulterior motives such as jealousy for criticizing. You need to be able to distinguish the criticisms and be vigilant against such people.

Some people who are experiencing poor self-esteem have the almost overwhelming desire to please other people. This, they believe, is a sure-fire way to win love and prevent rejection. Those who seek to please specifically one, two or a few people have some, usually selfish, reasons known only to themselves. There are others who are only too eager to please every person they know. The more successful they are in pleasing other people the higher they feel is their level of self-esteem. This degrading habit of pleasing others cannot possibly do them much good as they care a lot about others at the expense of their own selves.

Even though some people fully realize that to be the very best in what they do they must seek positive feedback or constructive advice, they still refuse to do so because of their low self-worth. They often belittle themselves, sometimes mercilessly, and due to lack of self-confidence are unwilling to shoulder greater responsibility. Yet, they are not prepared to accept that others can be better than they are. This feeling of uncertainty serves to further erode their self-esteem.

Being able to ward off negative influences or having the courage to say ‘no’ requires self-confidence and self-discipline. These in turn depend on the level of self-esteem you have. It pays to have real self-esteem and maintain it. You know you have it when you don’t yield easily to pressure from your peer or conform to anything that is detrimental to you. You are more likely to be self-reliant than those who possess low self-esteem.

Some people choose to ignore change even when they are facing adverse circumstances and when change is the only solution. They avoid change out of fear that it will worsen their situation. Their pessimism is inevitable given that they suffer from poor self-esteem. Even if they were a victim of an abusive relationship, they would be afraid to walk out of it. They worry about not being able to get a replacement partner and hence, living in terrible loneliness. Low self-esteem can be rectified if they are willing to confront their problems and implement change in order to live a happier life.

Birds of a feather flock together. It is to your big advantage to flock together with optimistic people, and avoid altogether, if you can, the company of unhappy people. Unhappy people tend to be pessimistic and display a complete lack of confidence. Optimistic people are by nature happy, and exude confidence wherever they may be. Associating with them helps boost your self-confidence and self-image.

You are not endowed with positive self-esteem. You have to work hard for it. Generally, your self-esteem is average in amount. Your task is to ensure it is positive and maintained at a high level at all times. However, you have to be extremely cautious as what you think or say will affect your self-esteem.