Self-Esteem: Is it Elusive?

Most people have heard of self-esteem; how we feel about ‘who we are’.  It is more than being confident, as confidence can relate to specific qualities rather than our thoughts about our value as a human.  There is little doubt that self-esteem is an essential factor in our happiness; positive self-esteem helps us to achieve, to take life’s knocks on our chin, and to engage in satisfying relationships and friendships. Research suggests that self-esteem increases over time, depending on our experiences in childhood and early adulthood, before stabilising and then falling in old age.  It is reasonable to want to improve self-esteem – here are some ways:

  • Listen to your self-talk.  Treat yourself kindly by being encouraging, supportive, and kind to yourself.  Rationalise negative thoughts so you have a balanced and honest self-view.  Remember your positives.
  • Don’t allow anyone to mistreat you either – check your relationships and friendships are not one-sided or even abusive.
  • Take time for fun and enjoyable activities; this might be exercise, a hobby, or social events (everyone enjoys different things). 
  • Learn new skills. Set short and appropriate goals as achievement can raise self-esteem.
  • Take good self-care; this might be by making good lifestyle choices, perhaps by cutting down or stopping drinking alcohol, eating well, or getting a massage.
  • Use assertive communication.  You are more likely to get your needs met.  People who are passive in their communication often get walked all over.
  • Experience feelings.  Learn to ‘sit with’ uncomfortable feelings and consider what you might need to support yourself at the time; remembering that difficult feelings come and go. 
  • Accept compliments!  This can be difficult but merely saying “thank you” is useful.
  • Avoid comparing yourself to others.  Everyone has different strengths, weaknesses, and qualities, you included.  
  • Learn to value and appreciate your own qualities – write them down to remind yourself, especially in a low moment.  You might ask a friend to help you with this.
  • Use positive affirmations or mantras.  Try to embrace the affirmation and live with these good values.  
  • Try to stop worrying – accepting what you cannot change or control.  Acceptance of ourselves and our future is fantastic for self-esteem.

A Psychologist can help you to achieve positive and increased self-esteem using evidence-based therapy.  Reach out if you need support or encouragement. 

Sources: Psychology Today, Psych Central

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Sharon Connell

Sharon Connell

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