Self-esteem is your estimate of your own self-worth. It’s the confidence you have in yourself and your own abilities and the amount of respect you treat yourself with.
Your self-esteem has a huge impact on the quality of your life.
What does healthy self-esteem look like?
If you have healthy self-esteem, you have a solid sense of who you are and you’re confident in your own skin.
Fundamentally, you believe you can overcome life’s challenges and deserve love and respect – from yourself and other people.
As a result, you have a generally positive outlook on life. While negative events like the loss of a loved one, a redundancy or relationship issues affect you, they don’t knock your overall perspective on life.
When people criticise you, you use their feedback to improve without taking it to heart, and you’re confident enough in yourself to simply ignore comments that don’t ring true to your own opinion of yourself.
You’ve got also got a clear idea of your personal strengths and weaknesses, and you’re happy to accept them for what they are and work towards improving them.
You also have no problem voicing your opinion, even if it isn’t well received.
What does low-self esteem look like?
If you have low self-esteem, you have a very low opinion of yourself. You often don’t feel comfortable in your skin, and you believe other people are better than you. You might even feel like you’re flawed in some way that can’t be changed and don’t deserve to be happy.
You constantly doubt yourself and your abilities, berating yourself for your weaknesses while failing to see your strengths.
Because you don’t have confidence in your ability to succeed at the things you apply yourself to, you shrink away from opportunities for personal growth. This can trigger a self-fulfilling cycle that leads to even lower self-esteem.
People’s criticisms, no matter how unfounded, can get under your skin and make you doubt yourself. You also struggle to accept praise, as you don’t think you deserve it.
You might have an intense fear of failure too, which leads you to avoid trying new things that could improve your life. You’re also scared of voicing your opinions, which often means going along with what other people want from you rather than living the life you want to live.
Low self-esteem is often accompanied by feelings of shame, depression and anxiety.
What affects your self-esteem?
There are many factors that make up your sense of self-worth, many of which stem from childhood. Being bullied or abused during your formative years can have lasting impact on your self-esteem, as can messages from friends, family, teachers, and the media that we’re not good enough.
You might also set impossible standards for yourself, or feel like you can’t meet the expectations set for you by others.
And some people are simply predisposed to negative thinking, which can lead to low self-esteem.
Life events can also have a big impact on your sense of worth – a break up or a difficult period at work can leave you doubting yourself and feeling at a loss.
However, your self-esteem isn’t set in stone – it can be improved by changing your mentality and taking action.
If you feel like you’re suffering from low self-esteem, we can give you the tools you need to improve your sense of worth through private counselling. If you’d like to know more about how we can help you improve your self-esteem, get in touch with us today.