Naturally, all human beings are endowed with a special ability- the ability to evaluate or judge. It is this special ability that enables one to evaluate himself or herself. So in the process of determining your value, you end up determining your self-esteem level.
Self-esteem can thus be defined as a person’s overall sense or feeling of self-worth or the personal value that an individual attaches himself or herself.
FACTS ABOUT SELF ESTEEM
- Self-esteem is stable and enduring thus it can be easily confused with an individual’s personality traits.
- Every person’s self -esteem is highly vulnerable– it can be easily injured or hurt, yours included.
- The greatest and most venomous threat to your self-esteem is yourself that is, the critical inner voice within you. Not what people say or think about you.
- Both high and low self-esteem lead to misunderstandings and other social problems.
- A moderate self -esteem is commendable/good.
- High levels of self- worth are better than high levels of self-esteem
- High self-esteem is associated with narcissism. Narcissism refers to when a person has got too much interest and admiration in his or her physical appearance and/or abilities.
THE BASIS OF SELF ESTEEM
Self-esteem highly depends on the home, school or workplace environment.
At home: it is crucial to note that the compliments or rebuking and demonizing statements that you receive from your relatives (especially those who matter for example parents or guardians) play a key role in building or lowering your esteem. While compliments boost self-esteem, unnecessary criticism lowers and destroys it.
At school: the school environment also plays a major role in the development of self-esteem. The remarks that pupils or students get from teachers can build or destroy them. These comments can be linked to their performance- achievement during examinations. Therefore, a learner who performs very well is likely to have higher self-esteem compared to one who performs dismally.
Workplace: an employee who easily gets favors, acknowledgment or promotions from the boss is likely to feel good about himself or herself as opposed to one who is always getting blamed for incompetence.
CHARACTERISTICS OF PEOPLE WITH A HIGH SELF ESTEEM
- People with high self-esteem:
- Feel liked or accepted
- Feel proud of their achievements
- Believe in themselves and their abilities
- Are comfortable among crowds
- Feel good about themselves
- Carry themselves with dignity
CHARACTERISTICS OF PEOPLE WITH A LOW SELF ESTEEM
People with low self-esteem:
- Expose themselves to public ridicule
- Behave in a contemptible way
- Experience unnecessary social anxiety
- Tend to experience depression sometimes
- Believe that other people dislike them
- Judge themselves harshly
- Feel bad about themselves
- Are extremely hypersensitive i.e. they are easily wounded and tend to overreact even on trivial matters
FACTORS THAT LOWER ONE’S SELF ESTEEM
Individuals who get constantly bullied based on their physical appearance are likely to experience low self-esteem since this greatly hurts their feeling of self-worth.
- When adults tend to scold one more often than they praise
If one receives negative comments for making a mistake, s/he may end up despising himself or herself hence feeling bad, unlike an individual who is constantly praised. It is therefore advisable for adults to practice patience when children make mistakes.
- Mean teasing emanating from peers and/or siblings
Apart from parents, our peers play a major role in determining how we feel about ourselves.
- A strong inner critical voice
The main factor that boosts or lowers our self-esteem is what we tell or feel about ourselves. If you feel that you are a loser or you can never come through; then you are likely to experience low self-esteem. On the contrary; if you strongly believe and keep on reassuring yourself that you are up to the task, you are likely to experience moderate self-esteem.
Moderate self-esteem is experienced when an individual values his or her inherent worth without comparing himself/herself to others.
HOW TO OVERCOME A LOW SELF ESTEEM
- Practice self-compassion- stop being too harsh on yourself. Instead, be kind and acknowledge that you are a perfect imperfection.
- Stop comparing yourself to others – remember that you are wonderfully and uniquely made. There is no single day you will ever be like someone else. Thus, instead of worrying about how you measure up to your cohorts set your own goals that are at par with your values.
- Engage in meaningful and helpful activities. This is because it feels good when you help someone. These activities may encompass cleaning the church, donating, volunteering, walking for a good cause, etc.
- Tune your inner voice towards supporting and acknowledging the positive aspects of life. Many of us tend to focus on the failures and unfortunately, we forget about the goodies that life has already presented. Therefore, when you are experiencing any negative thoughts, you should make a list of all positive things in your life.
- Keep the company of people who treat you well, not those who shred your heart into pieces at the slightest opportunity.