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?
You probably 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. Even negative life events don’t knock your overall perspective on life.
You use criticism as an opportunity to improve - if required. You don't take it personally, believing that everyone has a right to an opinion.
You’ve got also got a clear idea of your personal strengths and weaknesses. 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?
In essence it's the opposite of all of the points above.
The big problem though is that your low self-esteem can get worse because of your view of yourself.
If you believe you can't do things, you will avoid challenges. So leading you to believe you are no good because you can expand what you do.
You will be ready to believe the negative things people say about you. The positive things people say won't even register with you.
You can improve your self-esteem but it takes time.
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.
Can I improve my self-esteem?
Your self-esteem isn’t set in stone. – it can be improved but you need to take action.
There is a lot of information on the internet - here are some useful ones from trusted colleagues.
If you have tried these techniques and they don't seem to be working, then speaking to a counsellor can help. They can help you to identify the negative thoughts that cause the low self-esteem and help you change them. We offer counselling face to face in the North East and by Zoom or telephone across the country.