Self esteem

Self esteem is a very important part of who we are. If we don't feel good about ourselves, we are more likely to believe any negative thoughts we have about ourselves. We will also tend to believe the negative comments of others. Unfortunately, if we allow others to determine our self image, we may find ourselves being manipulated by them. And abandoning our hopes, dreams and goals, in favor of theirs can lead to the loss of our sense of identity. If we do not define who we are, others will do it for us.

Some people would define self esteem as "feeling good about yourself." Although important, this should not be considered the only element in self esteem. Simply believing we are one of the greatest people on earth rarely translates into enduring success or personal fulfillment. We actually have to show our greatness - to ourselves and to others – for it to be believable. And this requires action.

Healthy self-esteem includes three important character traits: Self respect, self confidence and achievement. Nurturing these attributes will undoubtedly result in a more positive self image, or self-concept. And since positive tends to attract positive, it will also result in better relationships and increased success in the future. Self esteem is therefore a very important personal strength / skill.

Building or improving self esteem definitely starts with that feeling of greatness. We all have greatness within us, and we need to start believing it. We all have equal value as a human being, and we all have potential. We can build a more satisfying future for ourselves. Therefore, healthy self esteem could be considered a pre-requisite for successful skill-building.

And luckily, it doesn't matter how we see ourselves at this point in time. We all have the power to change our self image.


Three Dynamic and Inter-related Components of Healthy Self esteem:

1 - Self-respect

If we do not respect ourselves, we cannot expect others to respect us as competent individuals. We may be respected as a human being, but we will probably not be respected as a strong and competent individual.

Self respect means not intentionally hurting or demeaning ourselves. We all do things that are not good for us from time-to-time. Continually doing so, however, can result in far more negative thoughts about who we are - in our minds as well as in the minds of others. (Of the two, our mind is more important because we are the ones responsible for our self image, not other people. Others may influence, but they cannot dictate how we feel about ourselves.)

How can I start building self respect?

I will start by focusing on the fact that my value as a human being is equal to everyone else's value. I deserve a fundamental level of respect, just as others do. Therefore, I will stop deliberately trying to hurt or demean myself.

Increasing my self confidence and sense of achievement will also increase the respect I feel for myself.

2 - Self-confidence

Without self-confidence, fear of failure can hold us back from accomplishing the simplest of tasks. Believing we will probably fail can result in not even trying. Lack of Self-confidence can develop for a variety of reasons. A young child who receives no encouragement or isnever allowed to complete a task on their own may find it hard to develop self-confidence. And abusive relationships - whether as a child or in adult relationships - that include constant control and criticism, often result in a feeling of worthlessness and little to no self-confidence.

Self-confidence can definitely be affected by circumstances and other people. We decide, however, how much of an influence they will be. And we ultimately decide the level of our self-confidence.

How can I start building self-confidence?

I will start with the realizations that:

1) I alone am responsible for the level of my self-confidence.

2) I can control my actions, reactions, emotions and attitude. (AREA of Control)

3) I do have the power to change my self-image.

I will also focus on the fact that I have potential. With the proper skills, I can accomplish the goals I set for myself.

I will allow myself to dream about what my future could be. (Some of the best goals come from dreams.)

3 - Achievement

Without personal achievement, high levels of self respect and self confidence are very hard to achieve. On the other hand, every achievement - no matter how small - can increase the respect we have for ourselves as strong, competent individuals. It can also increase our self confidence by enforcing a belief that we can accomplish tasks and goals. Achievement can give us the courage needed to take on additional and more challenging tasks or goals. The more we achieve, the more we feel we are capable of achieving.

How can I start building a sense of achievement?

I will start small. Taking on a huge project and not being able to successfully complete it could have a negative affect on my self esteem.

I will recognize and acknowledge my achievements. Although I appreciate the recognition and acknowledgment of others, I know my sense of achievement does not depend on them.

As my skills and abilities increase, I will set and achieve more challenging goals that will take me closer to my vision of future success and personal fulfillment.