You might think of self-esteem 💪 as that little voice inside you that tells you whether you are good enough, whether you can do something or not, and it impacts all our decisions and actions.
However, that little voice actually comes from how we value ourselves! So, really, you are in control.
In this piece, we talk more about what self-esteem is and how you can develop it to feel more secure in yourself and your abilities!
What is self-esteem?
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself or the opinion you have about yourself. When we have a healthy sense of self-esteem, we feel positive about ourselves and life in general ✅.
Our self-esteem often comes about as a result of our whole lifetime of experience, though much of this is developed in childhood 🧒 in particular.
“When we have a healthy sense of self-esteem, we feel positive about ourselves and life in general.”
What’s important to note is that self-esteem isn’t actually about your abilities – it’s very possible to be really good at something and yet still have poor self-esteem 🙃! The opposite can also be true when someone has great self-esteem but struggles with a task. It really does come from within.
Why is self-esteem important?
Having good self-esteem and feeling good about yourself often makes you more resilient and able to cope with the changes and ups and downs of life. Having poor self-esteem can make you overly critical of yourself and make it hard to recover from setbacks.
Everyone has times when they feel a little low or aren’t able to believe in themselves as much. But if this goes on for too long, it can lead to issues like depression and anxiety 😰. Sometimes it can also be a symptom of depression and anxiety as well.
Living with low self-esteem can also lead you to develop unhelpful habits like smoking and drinking, or not taking care of yourself more generally, as a way of coping.
What causes low self-esteem?
There can be many reasons for feeling low self-esteem. Sometimes it starts in childhood, feeling unable to live up to expectations or having a difficult upbringing. Sometimes it can come from adult experiences, in relationships 💔 , or experiencing personal or career hardships 😩.
Stressful life events like divorce or bereavement can really impact your self-esteem, and it’s important to seek out support.
Victims of abuse also can have low self-esteem, and if you are concerned that you or someone you know is in this situation, seek out help from the National Domestic Violence Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
How can we improve self-esteem?
1. Identify the things that are positive about yourself 🤔
You’re good at lots of different things – it might be cooking a particular meal 🥘, listening, being a good friend or something else. What are they? Write them down and take notes. It’s time to start building on these positives. If you know you can cook a great meal, you might make a special event of it and cook for your whole family. Give yourself the opportunity to do the things you’re good at.
2. Challenge your negative beliefs 👀
Once you know what the negative thoughts are, you can start to challenge them
Once you’ve noted the positive, it’s time to give yourself the space to acknowledge the negative. What are the thoughts that come up when you need to do something new? Or challenging? Be specific. For instance, anytime you need to go for a run you might notice yourself thinking, “I am going to look ridiculous when I run.” Take note of that thought. Give yourself time with this, as it is a vulnerable process.
Once you know what the negative thoughts are, you can start to challenge them. So, for instance, if you’re worried about looking silly when you run, you might question that thought back with a simple, “So what?” Keep questioning this thought. What’s the worst that could happen if someone does think you look silly? Make a note of this too.
3. Use positive affirmations ✨
Once you’ve identified what you’re good at and also what negative beliefs are holding you back, think about how you can use more positive language towards yourself. Positive affirmation may be all the rage across Instagram, but they have to be declarations that really speak to you.
Sometimes, a really forceful or generic affirmation (like “I am a huge success!”) doesn’t work, because it feels way too far away from where you are at and what you feel about your life. A better version might be, “I persevere until I succeed!” Keep it positive and in the present tense, but also possible, so that you can imagine yourself getting there from where you’re currently at.
“Schedule in positive moments of self-kindness”
4. Be kind to yourself 😊
This starts with positive self-talk but can be built upon by accepting who you actually are. Focus on your own goals and achievements, not those of others – you might want to take a break from social media to help with this! Acknowledge that nobody is perfect, no matter how they present themselves, and take opportunities to celebrate the good moments in your own life.
Identify a list of things that make you happy and actually schedule in some time for these – even if it’s just for a few minutes a day. It might be a really good cup of tea that you drink slowly and calmly, it might be reading a particular book, or going for a walk. It’s always a good idea to do a few things to feel healthier – exercise, sleeping and eating well will all contribute to feeling better in your own skin. Schedule in positive moments of self-kindness.
5. Set yourself a challenge 💪
Set yourself a small and manageable goal, such as joining an exercise class or calling up a friend. It doesn’t have to be complex! But even achieving a small goal can help boost your self-esteem. Keep it realistic, and don’t overburden yourself – don’t make your goal a huge life change. Start small and build on it! And don’t forget to celebrate when you achieve your goals.
Loving yourself 💕 and thinking well of yourself is important for your whole approach to life, not just your health. Don’t forget to surround yourself with positive people – our very own Lorna can help too if you’re looking for a source of empowerment.
Give us a call and we can start talking about how you can develop a more powerful self of self to make big changes in your life and live more fully!