Self-esteem – what it is and how to develop a healthy one

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The word self-esteem is often used in different ways and means different things to people. It is a compound word we hear around us every day. Self-Esteem is a feeling of self-worth, a sense of personal value or self-respect, etc.

This definition boils down to how we appreciate ourselves, our beliefs, emotions, and behaviors. It is an integral part of our life that cannot be neglected or overemphasized as it helps in determining our success, our relationship with others, and even with ourselves.

Self-esteem can either be on the high side or the low side. Either way, we need to learn and understand how to strike an equal balance between the two ends.

You can achieve a lot when you are self-confident as it helps you in developing an assertive and motivating attitude towards achieving your goals. But low self-esteem would deprive you of succeeding.

The ability to treat others with respect and love is correlated to our self-esteem.

Types of Self-Esteem

1.High self-esteem

This is the feeling of having strong self-worth. People who have high self-esteem believe in themselves and motivate themselves towards succeeding. They care less about other people’s opinion on their beliefs and principles, and actively defend them when opposed.

They trust their decisions and do not care what others feel or think about it, and they spend less time reminiscing or worrying about the future.

2.Low self-esteem

This results from a lot of factors surrounding an individual. It may be peer pressure, health issues, physical appearance, bullying, etc.

People with low self-esteem are self critics. They criticize themselves for every single thing not done right, wanting to do everything correctly for fear of being criticized or judged by others. They also dwell on past mistakes instead of finding ways to ensure they don’t repeat the same mistakes.

3.Defensive self-esteem

This set of people have high self-esteem, but their self-doubts and insecurities make them react negatively to criticisms of which criticisms are parts of our life. They always seek validation from others, want to be praised at all times, and get aggressive at those who question their self-worth.

Signs of Healthy Self-Esteem

1. You Feel Confident

Healthy self-esteem leaves you feeling confident, bold, and comfortable. You are able to make decisions and face setbacks without self-criticism. You are always motivated to achieve your goals.

 2. Avoid dwelling on the past/negative experiences

You don’t dwell on your past mistakes or negative experience, but instead, you take bold steps not to repeat the same mistakes. You also look at the brighter sides and the lessons learned from those mistakes.

 3. Have a positive outlook on life

You are always optimistic and not pessimistic. You look at life from a positive angle instead of dwelling on the negative part. And, you always believe good things would happen no matter the circumstances.

 4. You Say no when you want to

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With positive self-esteem, you won’t live your life to please anyone or be scared of what other people say or think about you. You are not scared of saying “NO” to anyone when you are asked to do or say things that are against your principles or that are not in line with your beliefs.

 5. Learn to accept your strength and weakness

Knowing your self-worth would enable you to accept and maximize your strengths and, at the same time, take note of your weakness, accept constructive criticisms for you to make corrections.

Ways we can develop healthy Self-Esteem

1. Build positive relationships

If you are always surrounded by people whose actions and words tend to bring down your morale, you either change your circle, or you talk to them about it. Learn to surround yourself with people who are always positive about everything.

 2. Be kind to yourself

Learn to be gentle with the self-criticism. Learn to talk to yourself like you would do to a friend in similar situations. Ensure you treat yourself with respect just like you do to others. Although this would take some time and patience, you just have to challenge yourself to it. Once you start to develop a healthy lifestyle of loving yourself, you will feel encouraged.

 3.  Stop making comparison

Comparing yourself to others would make you develop very low self-esteem because you may feel they are far better than you. The only person that should be a yardstick for improving your self-esteem is you and no one else.

Let your achievement and all the progress you have made so far be your self boost and not the accomplishment of others because there would always be people who are doing better than you and also others you are doing better than.

 4. Recognize what you are good at

We are all good at doing one thing or the other. Try to find out what you are good at and love doing most. It will help elevate your mood and build your self-esteem.

 5. Learn to be assertive:

If you want your opinions to be respected, you need to cultivate the habit of respecting other people’s views. This doesn’t change who you are, but rather it helps to prevent low self-esteem (i.e., where you start feeling your opinions are not right or not needed)

 6. Start saying, “NO.”

In developing healthy self-esteem, you need to learn to say No when necessary. You owe no one the obligations of saying yes all the time even when you don’t want to, that’s a characteristic of someone with low self-esteem.

You saying no to someone does not make you a bad person, but rather it shows the other person that you have the self-worth to say yes to what pleases you and no to the things that doesn’t.

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