With more time to reflect over the past year, maybe you have been finding that you have become increasingly critical of yourself. Perhaps you feel insecure about your body, or your current stage of life compared to your peers. All of these factors are linked with our self-esteem.
Throughout this article we will look at what shapes our self-esteem, the potential negative consequences of low self-esteem, and simple steps we can take to move towards feeling better about ourselves.
For more information and advice regarding self-esteem, visit BetterHelp.
What is Self-Esteem?
Simply put, self-esteem is the view we have of ourselves. It involves the deep-seated beliefs we carry about our own value, and has a significant impact on how we relate to others and the world around us.
Many factors shape our self-esteem, positively or negatively. From a young age, we begin receiving messages about our worth, and whether or not we are ‘good enough’ as we are- and these core beliefs can stay with us for years.
Stressful life events can significantly impact one’s self-esteem throughout their life. Being abused or bullied, experiencing unemployment, physical health issues, and body image concerns have the potential to lower one’s self-esteem. For some individuals, low self-esteem is not attributed to a specific event or circumstance, and is more tied with personality type and the tendency to hold themselves to unrealistic standards.
Effects of Low Self-Esteem
Individuals with low self-esteem are often less likely to seek out new opportunities and connections, assert themselves, and feel confident navigating life’s challenges.
Over time, low self-esteem can also lead to mental health problems such as depression and anxiety.
If you recognize that you have low self-esteem, there are steps you can take to move towards developing a healthier view of yourself.
5 Strategies for Boosting Self-Esteem
Acknowledge your negative core beliefs. The first step in boosting your self-esteem is to get curious about what has shaped your self-perception over the years. Take some time to reflect on what specific people, events, or attitudes may have contributed to your self-esteem. It may be helpful to write in a journal as you process.
Identify your strengths. You might consider making a list of 5-10 positive qualities that you like about yourself, for example being an excellent artist or a loyal friend. Ask friends and family members what they appreciate the most about you as well. That way, whenever you are sliding back into negative self-talk, you can reference the list and remind yourself of the positive qualities you possess and the impact you have on others.
Surround yourself with positive people. In building healthy self-esteem, it is crucial to be selective about the people we allow into our inner circle. Notice how the people you spend time with make you feel about yourself. Distance yourself from any people who bring you down, and focus your time and energy on the relationships that lift you up.
Practice assertiveness skills. It may feel very unnatural to assert yourself, especially if you are not used to doing so. However, developing assertiveness skills and setting healthy boundaries with others are important aspects of embodying your worth. Practice saying ‘no’ more often and honoring your own needs by not committing to more than you can handle.
Seek out professional support. If you continue to experience challenges around self-esteem that are negatively affecting your life, you might consider seeking out further support. A licensed therapist can help you to explore what has contributed to your low self-esteem and develop strategies for building a healthier view of yourself.