Having confidence can make you feel like you are on top of the world, but feeling low about yourself is hard and can affect your quality of life. Sometimes self-esteem dips so low it can feel hard to start a conversation or apply for a job.
The mindset of someone having low self-esteem or high self-esteem can vary from one to another, but the main cause that may have ignited this could be a childhood experience, or how your parents or family made you feel growing up. It may seem like self-esteem is concrete and can’t be changed, but you absolutely do have power over improving the way you feel about yourself. Before we discuss how, let’s talk about what self-esteem is.
In psychology, self-esteem is referred to as someone’s self-worth, how they perceive themselves and reflect on their lives. Having the right amount to self-esteem is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance in all aspects of your life. Self-esteem affects one’s academic, professional and personal life.
The Theory of Maslow:
Abraham Maslow introduced a psychological theory in 1943. It details human needs, from the most basic need of life to more emotional, cognitive needs. It’s called “Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.”
Self-esteem is listed as one of the needs. Maslow noted two versions of esteem needs: a “lower” version and a “higher” version. The “lower” version of esteem is the need for respect from others. This may include a need for status, recognition, fame, prestige, and attention. The “higher” version manifests itself as the need for self-respect. For example, a person may have a need for strength, self-confidence, independence, and freedom.
Where does self-esteem come from?
A lot of factors shape self-esteem. Genetics can play a role, but not significantly. Usually, our personal experiences and situations define our self-worth. Bullying or getting teased can make a person feel bad about themselves, or if as a child if you were scolded more than praised. When people often point out mistakes, it can make you afraid of trying. Inner thoughts, any illness or physical limitations, and the nature of your job can affect your self-esteem, too.
Signs of low self-esteem
Not feeling confident in social situations: You feel discomfort, always checking your phone to pass time or not initiating a conversation.
How you see your body: Body image is a huge factor in self-esteem and if a person is not comfortable with the way they look, perhaps constantly feeling the need to put makeup on or hide their body, that might be a sign.
Afraid of doing seminars or presentations at work or school: The mere thought of presenting in front of others or socializing may feel terrifying because they are afraid of being judged.
Not feeling confident in making decisions: Even decisions like picking a restaurant or an activity to do with a friend feels daunting.
Taking criticism personally.
Being too hard on yourself.
Afraid to take on challenges.
Constant anxiety and emotional distress.
Can self-esteem change?
Absolutely! As Heraclitus who was a Greek philosopher once said, “Change is the only constant in life.”
Here are some ways to work on improving self-esteem :
- Learn to do new things: Gaining a new hobby or starting a new habit makes you try stuff you normally won’t do, which over time can make you feel more confident in yourself. When you can see what you have accomplished, it boosts positive self-thoughts.
- Be with supportive people: Hang around with people who don’t tear you apart and make you question yourself or your actions. There are a lot of people who can boost and lift you up.
- Change the way you look at yourself: Affirmation is a very good thing to do here. Start your morning by saying positive things such as, “I am beautiful,” “I am successful,” “I got this,” and, “Today’s going to be a good day.” Repetitive positive affirmations, even if they don’t sink in right away, will eventually lead to an increase in self-esteem.
- Accept “flaws”: No one’s perfect, and that’s completely okay. In fact, our flaws make us the unique human beings we are!