Self-esteem refers to a person’s beliefs about their own worth and value. It is how we value and perceive ourselves; a feeling, a lifestyle that heavily influences our choices and decisions, one that has been sadly underrated.
“Many of us spend considerable mental energy evaluating whether or not we are “good” people, pointing out all the good things we’ve accomplished each week, and why we therefore can feel good about ourselves. The problem is that since these good feelings are performance-based, any moment of “slacking” provides fodder for negative self-judgment that is ever-lurking just beneath the surface.” – Julia Flood
We are stubborn to the claim that we’ve ‘bagged it’, a healthy self-esteem; acting worthy, with a sad, conscious effort to remind ourselves that we can’t feel unworthy, because we have appearances to uphold.
There is not one place that lacks a street of trauma we are often exposed to. Not one place that doesn’t threaten to drag us into an unhealthy feeling, pulling us by the tails of self-belief.
What affects our self-esteem differs for everyone.
Your confidence may have been lowered after a difficult experience, or series of negative life events. Perhaps you were bullied or abused as a child or an adult, you lost your job, or you have difficulty finding employment. It could be that you are going through a lot of stress, or dealing with a physical illness, or mental health problems, a difficult relationship, separation/divorce? Or it could be something else.
People lose jobs, romantic relationships, families, friends, ideas, moments, time, and energy because of the effect of low self-esteem. What’s worse? They are unaware that their negative actions today are a result of not dealing with what they’ve been through in the past, however empty or full.
Some people with low self-esteem tend to see the world as a hostile place and themselves as its victim. As a result, they are reluctant to express and assert themselves, miss out on experiences and opportunities, and feel powerless to change things. Others pretend to be okay, and become something they are not. All this lowers their self-esteem still further, sucking them into a downward spiral.
Having little self-belief can stop you from living the life you want to live. You either cower and not live life freely, or pretend to be someone you’re not, to satisfy that desperate need to belong. When you’re already here.
You may have had low self-esteem for as long as you can remember. Hence, it can be hard to recognise how you feel and make changes to challenge your low self-belief.
But whatever the cause, it can be helpful to remind yourself that you have the right to feel good about who you are. It can be difficult to break habits but there are steps you can take to feel better about yourself, bit by bit.
If you have low self-esteem you may feel like you hate or dislike yourself. You may feel worthless or not good enough, unable to make decisions or assert yourself. You may feel that no one likes you, and you blame yourself for things that aren’t your fault. You feel guilt for spending time or money on yourself, and you are unable to recognise your strengths. You feel undeserving of happiness and low in confidence.
If you think your low self-esteem is impacting on your life, here’s how you can improve on that, and become happier:
1. Think about what is affecting your self-esteem
2. Avoid negative self-talk
3. Connect with people who love you
4. Learn to be assertive
5. Set yourself a challenge
6. Focus on your positives
7. Take care of yourself
8. Get support if things get too much
Get the help you need, by accepting who you are and filling yourself with love, that even happiness runs to share in that love with you. “Happiness is not something you propose for the future, it is something you design for the present.” – Jim Rohn.
Be the artist of your life, and let real happiness overflow.
You deserve to be happy.
You deserve love.
Pay attention to mental health and happiness. To succeed, you need the confidence to face and overcome your fears.