It’s not an inherited trait, it’s a learned skill. Anyone can possess high self-esteem if they really want to. But for some, building positive thoughts about oneself is often difficult. Most people feel bad about themselves from time to time. Feelings of low self-esteem may be triggered by being treated poorly by someone else recently or in the past, or by a person’s own judgments of him or herself. This is normal. However, low self-esteem is a constant companion for too many people, especially those who experience depression, anxiety, phobias, psychosis, delusional thinking, or who have an illness or a disability. If you are one of these people, you may go through life feeling bad about yourself needlessly. Low self-esteem keeps you from enjoying life, doing the things you want to do, and working toward personal goals.
Everyone has the right to feel good about themselves. But sometimes, it can be very difficult to feel good about oneself when one is under stress, and having situations that are hard to manage such as dealing with disability, having a difficult time financially, going through a bad relationship, or when others are treating you badly. At these times, it is easy to be drawn into a downward spiral of poor self-esteem.
Feeling good about oneself is the most important part of living a life full of joy and vitality. Self-esteem is based on how you see your abilities and your worth as a person. People with low self-esteem are often shy, anxious, and often battle depression. They are negative about themselves and their abilities. Because they don’t feel worthy, they are more likely to do things that are not good for their health, such as going on starvation diets and smoking.
People with high self-esteem tend to be secure and confident. They see themselves and their abilities positively. Because they know it is important to take care of themselves, they are more likely to eat well and to have a healthy lifestyle.
However, gaining self-esteem is not as hard as anyone thinks, so why not start doing something about it right now. All steps, big and small, towards gaining self-esteem fall into two main categories: Avoid the negative and accentuate the positive. Here are some steps to improve self-esteem:
Be positive about yourself and accept compliments that point out your strengths and abilities.
Be realistic about what you can do. Trying to be perfect and comparing yourself with other people can damage your self-esteem.
Recognize that everyone makes mistakes. When you make a mistake, do not put yourself down. Learn from your mistakes.
Listen carefully to others, without judging.
Respect people’s differences. Recognize their strengths and accomplishments. Acknowledge the things others do that help your family, your workplace and your community.
Support and encourage other people’s efforts to learn new things.
Give people in your family unconditional love.
Spend time with people who make you feel good. Do things that make you feel worthwhile.
But, most of all, exercise can be a practical choice to help one improve self-esteem. It’s hard to feel negative when all those endorphins are all pumped up. Plus, anytime you feel as though you are doing something positive for yourself —- you are actually building your self-esteem.