What is self-esteem

Self-esteem is how you feel about or value yourself. It’s the overall opinion you have of yourself. This is how you judge yourself worth as a person. Some people have negative feelings about themselves, they don’t value their ideas. How can you improve your self-esteem?

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How do we develop self-esteem?

It starts early life. It’s the believes you developed about yourself from messages you received from others…if you received positive feedback from personal relationships such as parents, siblings, peers, and teachers,  you will more likely see yourself as worthwhile. If you received negative feedback and are repeatedly criticized by others, you will struggle with low self-esteem…

Other factors such as work, illness, culture or religion can also affect your self-esteem.

No matter what the cause of your self-esteem is, how can you develop healthy self-esteem.

It starts with changing your thoughts

Changing the way you think of yourself is paramount to boosting your self-acceptance. Thoughts affect the way you feel and react to situations. So adjusting your thoughts would change the way you react to situations.

You might need to seek professional help. Cognitive behavioral therapy techniques are usually good at helping you evaluate your beliefs. It’s based on how your feelings and behavior affect how you think about yourself and your life.

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How can you change your thoughts

Here are some techniques to get you started with.

Below is a list of techniques to healthy self-esteem

  • Identify troubling situations. What aspect of your personality do you wish to change? For instance, you are always expecting the worst of everything.
  • Awareness of beliefs and thoughts. What are your thoughts about the above situation? These are your interpretation of the situation, beliefs about yourself, self-talk. They may be rational, irrational, positive or negative. Write them in your daily journal.
  • Identify negative thinking. Your thoughts about a situation affect your reaction to it. Negative thoughts about something can cause unwanted physical, emotional and behavioral responses. To help determine if distorted thinking contribute to your problems, jot down, in your daily journal, what your reactions are troubling situations.
  • Challenge negative thinking. This may not be easy, but it’s doable.  Check the accuracy of your thoughts, is it consistent with the facts of the situation? Moreover, your initial thoughts may not be the only possible way to view a situation.
  • Avoid all or nothing thinking. You see things as either all good or all bad. As a result of it, you end up with more negative. Your unsuccess in one thing does not make you a failure.
  • Stop converting positives into negatives. No achievement is small or big. Start counting them so you have a visual fact and celebrate them.
  • Anticipating worst. You expect the worst and tell yourself that if it happens you won’t be able to handle it. Consequently, this leads to a tragedy.
  • Jumping to a negative conclusion. You reach this conclusion with little to no evidence to support it. For example, ”My friend canceled our girls’ night out because I’m really boring to be around.” Because of this thought, you may avoid social interactions which can lead to depression.
  • Mistaking feelings for facts. You confuse feelings with facts. For example, ”I feel like a failure, so I must be a failure.” Yes, this feeling can be strong, but it’s a feeling and not fact. Most importantly, there is something you are good at and you need to believe in yourself to see it. After all, we are all unsuccessful at something at some point in our life.

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In other words, you need to give yourself the time and patience to work through things to get to where you need to be. Remember, these feelings did not develop overnight, so it will take time and effort to overcome them. Speed is not the goal here, but progress is.


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Raina is a psychology student who understands the importance of caring for mental health. She blogs about depression, anxiety, fibromyalgia, men and mental health and parenting kids with ADHD.


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