“You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You, yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” ― Gautama Buddha
What is self-esteem and where does it come from? Self-esteem really has two elements self-efficacy and self-respect. Self-efficacy refers to confidence in our ability to make decisions and judgments, and meet the challenges of life.
Self-respect refers to our perception of ourselves as being worthy of happiness, success, and love. Both of these elements are essential to healthy levels of self-esteem. A lack of either and a person’s self-esteem will suffer.
In nearly every situation in life, whether consciously or subconsciously, human beings perform a quick self-appraisal. Before initiating any activity, a self-assessment is performed to determine:
- Am I good enough?
- Am I competent?
- Can I trust myself?
- Do I deserve?
If the answers to these are “YES”, then the person moves forward. If, however, one fails this self-appraisal then they will often choose not to act and therefore miss important opportunities for happiness, growth, and success.
Therefore, self-esteem is an indispensable part of being human. In order to be productive, successful, and happy we need adequate levels of self-esteem. Our self-esteem affects every aspect of our existence including our social interactions, career, relationships, and future aspirations. Without healthy self-esteem, people become paralyzed with doubt, fear, and indecision.
Like so many other things, self-esteem has its roots in our childhood. If a child grows up in an environment where he is valued, encouraged, praised, and loved, then he will develop healthy self-esteem. If however, one’s environment is lacking in these elements or a child is made to feel inferior or inadequate then the child’s self-esteem will fail to develop.
Why does self-esteem matter?
- Self-esteem can be the difference between success and failure
- Self-esteem can affect our thinking, causing our outlook to be positive or negative
- Self-esteem affects our confidence
- Self-esteem affects our self-image
- Self-esteem enables us to have the right attitude in order to succeed.
- Self-esteem affects our happiness.
Ideally, self-esteem is developed during childhood however it is possible for adults who are lacking in this essential human resource to begin to acquire and build it so that they may begin moving forward with a sense of happiness and purpose. Here are nine tips for building one’s self esteem:
1. Be true to yourself. Live your life doing what feels right to you, not what someone else thinks you should do. While it is OK to listen to advice from others, in the end, make the decision that feels best for you. Being a people-pleaser is a frustrating way to live. Get in the habit of pleasing yourself. You are responsible for your own happiness. Your feelings are important.
2. Be aware of what your inner voice is saying. Listen to your thoughts. If a particular, thought is not kind or is not serving you, take note of this and redirect your focus to something positive. This can be difficult and time-consuming. Remember to be kind to yourself as you are gaining awareness and strengthening your will.
3. Stop comparing yourself to others. You are not supposed to be like anyone else. You are the only one who can be you. Your perspectives, gifts and values are exclusively yours. If you want something to measure yourself by, compare how you are today to an earlier version of you.
4. Celebrate your successes, even the smallest ones.
5. Be grateful. We all have much to be grateful for. Gratitude alone can elevate our self-esteem.
6. Create a list of personal accomplishments and review it often. We tend to get overwhelmed looking at what’s left to be done and forget to give ourselves credit for how far we’ve already come.
7. Learn something new. Get curious and learn all there is to learn about what interests you. Learning is growing and growing your knowledge will increase your self-esteem.
8. Do something nice for someone else. Serving others without expectation of reward is a very effective way of making ourselves feel good. In fact, several studies have shown that doing for others is one of the quickest ways to build self-esteem.
9. Spend more time doing things that you enjoy. Whatever it is that makes you happy do more of it. Remember happiness is not a selfish act; happiness is an essential part of being human.
Self-esteem ultimately comes down to one’s belief that they are worthy, unique, and that they matter regardless of what anyone else may think.
“Everything that happens to you is a reflection of what you believe about yourself. We cannot outperform our level of self-esteem. We cannot draw to ourselves more than we think we are worth.” — Iyanla Vanzant
Source Material: “The Elusive Here & Now”, Dan Coppersmith, “The Power of Self Esteem”, Nathaniel Brandon, Wikipedia