Self Esteem

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Healthy Self EsteemHealthy self esteem is vital for happiness. To be happy, we need to feel good about ourselves, to feel worthy as persons. Low self esteem is very common and not much fun! The key to healthy self esteem is becoming aware of our personal strengths and accepting ourselves as worthy persons despite any real weaknesses we have. 

It is a matter of cultivating the right attitude, regardless of our personal circumstances. Not easy, but possible with constant effort.

This also means learning that low self esteem is partly self-imposed regardless of original causes - we maintain our own low self esteem by discounting our basic worth relative to others. This is because the more we criticize ourselves the worse we feel. Finding fault with everything around us is not helpful except in providing a bit of immediate relief.

The good news is that we can change how we view ourselves, our attitudes - without changing our basic personalities. A vital point to realize is that all people have a tendency to discount their strengths and good qualities because what they find easy to do, what comes natural to them, seems like nothing special. Yet, the reality is that what we like doing, what we find easy to do and what comes natural to us are personal strengths and admirable qualities. To build self esteem, it is essential to recognize our strengths and good traits. 

We can also spend more time doing useful things and less time sitting around thinking about ourselves. This builds self esteem. Talking to other people helps us see that we are not the only ones with problems. This means focusing on them, not dwelling on ourselves, a good diversion. We all have something we don't like about ourselves or feel bad about. The trick is to avoid over generalizing: - "I have some undesirable traits, therefore I am undesirable in general." Or: "I have some unattractive qualities, therefore I am unattractive." 

The key is to stop letting our negative points overwhelm our good ones and poisoning our self-image. Helping others and being a good listener are good ways to develop a sense of being good at something and a greater sense of self worth. Listening and being nice to others is one of the easiest things to change about ourselves, something everyone can do and it is one of the best ways of starting to feel better about ourselves.

The key point is to do things that get in the way of dwelling on ourselves - being busy gets us out of ourselves, especially if what we are doing gives us a sense of achievement. Everyone wants to be liked, but we deceive ourselves by thinking we have to BE different in the way we look or behave in ourselves. The truth is that the most attractive trait is to show interest in, and be nice to, others. People will like you for this regardless of whatever other faults you may have.

It is also vitally important to recognize that no one is happy, confident or has high self esteem all the time. These things are MOODS and, like the weather, they vary from day to day, up and down. The goal is not to feel on top of the world all the time, but just more often happy and confident than sad and lacking in confidence, to have more good days than bad days.

We defeat ourselves, however, by dwelling on the bad days and overlooking the good ones. We take the good days for granted because we are too busy enjoying those days to think about ourselves. It is only when we feel bad that we turn inwards and focus on ourselves. So, the key thing is to think about what you do on your good days to make them good days and try to have more of them, bearing in mind that everyone has to have some bad days. No one's life is heaven every day.

See the Self Esteem menu above for more on this topic, especially:  The Self Esteem Attitude and Boost Your Self Esteem 

Read the self esteem stories of other people here.