Human beings can resonate with others only when they can resonate with themselves. Human beings are granted with an extraordinary gift of exchanging a verbal interaction. The two basic needs and central part of the human survival we are going to cover are – the need to form a self-concept and the need to communicate. Our self-concept is developed by the way we organize our belief system, thinking, processing self-relevant information and guiding social behavior. Self-concept is made up of our social self, self-esteem, physical self, emotional self and self-knowledge. The more aware we are the better for our health. Self-concept is the reason we are so different and yet so same from one another. Language is the soul expression of our sense of self. We communicate to develop identities, establish and build relationships, coordinate efforts with others, have an impact on issues that matter to us, and work out problems and possibilities.
At the most basic level, humans survive on being interdependent upon the sense of self and communication. Communication is the primary way we figure out who we are and who we can be. We gain our first sense of self from others who communicate how they see us. This process continues throughout life as we see ourselves reflected in others eyes. Now let’s understand the central core of the self-concept system which is self-esteem.
Self-esteem refers to our overall self-evaluation- the sum total of our self-schema and possible selves. It refers to our sense of self-worth that is you understand and accept your competencies, shortcomings, strengths and have the courage to celebrate your strengths and recognize your weak spots to improve. Our self-esteem is determined by multiple influences, including roles we play, the comparisons we make, our social identities, how we perceive others appraising us, and our experiences of success and failure
There are two types of self-esteem – balanced self-esteem vs imbalanced.
Balanced self-esteem fosters initiative, resilience and pleasant feelings about oneself and even others. It values both individual achievement and relationships with others. Secure self-esteem, one rooted more in feeling good about who one is than in grades, looks, money or others approval, is conducive to long term well being. To focus less on one’s self-image on developing one’s talents and relationships, eventually, lead to greater well being. The way you feel about yourself today has partly to do with messages you receive from yourself, these messages help you feel good and bad about yourself. When you identify, explore and evaluate these messages, you can decide which you want to keep and which you don’t. You can learn new ways to talk to yourself that help you develop healthy self-esteem.
Only when we try to be our own best selves we can find healthy self-esteem. We are genetically programmed to be yourself and only yourself. This means you can be successful only by following your own path and becoming the best possible you. One human being can no more become another than an eagle can become a flamingo or a towering evergreen can become an oak. There are different shapes, sizes and colors of human beings and it exists for a purpose to value your own worth and our own uniqueness.
Imbalanced self-esteem, on the other hand, refers to either your sense of worth is too high which is often seen in narcissistic personalities or it’s too low and it can be influenced by a lot of factors. People with low self-esteem often have problems in life, they make less money, indulge in substance abuse, and are more likely to be depressed. Self-esteem feelings are like a fuel gauge. Relationships enable thriving and striving, thus, the self-esteem gauge alerts us to threatened social rejection, motivating us to act with greater sensitivity to others expectations. Studies confirm that social rejection lowers our self-esteem and makes us more eager for approval. Those whose self-worth is more fragile, more contingent on external sources, experience more stress, anger, relationship problems, drug and alcohol abuse, eating disorders than those whose self-worth was rooted more in internal sources such as personal virtues. At the same time, people who have unreasonably high self-esteem are less open to criticism, focus more materialistic gains and are less likely to be empathetic, are more pressured to succeed at activities rather than enjoy them. People with high self-esteem are often over-ambitious, have inflated expectations. High self-esteem becomes problematic when it crosses into narcissism or having an inflated sense of self which is unhealthy because they consider themselves superior and others inferior to them, they lack emotional sensitivity when it comes to others and often have difficulties in interpersonal relationships.
Over the past decade, self-esteem has been recognized and focused upon as an important aspect of our development and communication. There are various communication techniques that actively try to control the mental state and emotional state of an individual thereby bringing out a balanced self-esteem. In our opinion, imbalanced self-esteem is becoming a second leading major health crisis globally. Self worth, self-efficacy, self-control, these are impressive predicaments for one’s success in life and healthier lifestyle. Communication is the building block of every behavior we put out. The relationship between communication and self-esteem is interwoven. Much of our communication involves “seeming” in which we are preoccupied with our image and careful to manage how we present ourselves through which we reveal who we really are and how we really feel.
Guidelines of effective communication to enhance secure self-esteem
Communication is essential to our survival and happiness and so is our self-concept. Communication with others allows us to meet basic needs for survival and safety as well as more abstract human needs for inclusion, self-esteem, self-actualization and effective participation in a socially diverse world. The ability to communicate and express ourselves effectively and appropriately boosts our self-confidence and makes us feel good about ourselves, eventually enhancing our self- esteem .
Develop a range of skills –
No single style of communication is best in all circumstances, with all people or for pursuing all goals because what is effective varies, we need to have a broad repertoire of communication behaviors. For example – to comfort someone we need to be soothing and comforting. To negotiate a good deal on a car we need to be assertive and firm. To engage constructively in a conflict, we need to listen and build supportive climates. No single set of skills composes communication competence, we need to learn a range of communicative abilities. In addition, we also need to know the kinds of communication to use in specific interactions.
For instance, knowing how to be both assertive and differential isn’t useful unless we can figure out when each style of communication is appropriate. Your goals for communication are a primary guideline for selecting appropriate behaviour. If your purpose in a conversation is to give emotional support to someone, then it isn’t effective to talk at length about your own experiences. Appropriately adapted communication, then, is sensitive to goals, contexts and other people can boost our sense of self-worth and it helps us value our true self more, not only ours but also others. So this is a very important step in building healthy self-esteem.
Internal dialogue –
When we study the structure of our subjective experience and have a belief that all behavior has a structure, it helps in assisting effective communication, personal growth, change and learning. The internal dialogue here means the intra-personal communication – the self-talk that we have 24/7 probably is so important and has a huge influence on our self-esteem. The way we talk to ourselves determines how we perceive the world and the way we even feel about ourselves. Our brains are amazing and complex organs. They are the computer centers of our bodies. They regulate and maintain everything our bodies do, including influencing our self-esteem. It influences our ability to see things in a positive or negative light. So the way you feel about yourself today has partly to do with the messages you received from yourself. These messages help you feel good or bad about yourself. When you identify, explore and evaluate the internal dialogue, you decide which you want to keep and which you don’t. You can always learn new ways to talk to yourself that help you develop healthy self-esteem.
There is a running dialogue inside your head, an inner voice sending you messages that affect how you feel. When you have negative self messages, it tends to reduce your self-worth. What you can do is, over the next few days, listen for your own messages and narratives if you haven’t been paying attention. Notice the responses you give yourself to situations that occur during the day. Record your messages in a chart or like a self-talk diary, keeping track of how many times you use them, and circle whether they make your self-esteem go up, go down or stay the same. You could also try writing 5 messages which you could send yourself to help create healthy self- esteem. You can say these 5 messages out loud in front of the mirror or put these messages on sticky notes where you frequently see it. So for example – “ I am improving day by day”, “I can achieve today’s target goals”, “I am stronger than I think I am” etc. You choose intra-personal dialogue that helps you create a better positive sense of self-worth and value.
Engaging in dual perspective –
Every human being who ever lived, came into this world with value and worth. There has never been an exception. This includes you. There may be times when you believe that other people have more value and worth and for some reason you don’t. It is important to understand that this belief is false. The ability to engage in dual perspective, which is understanding both our own thoughts and feelings and that of others’. When we adopt dual perspective, we understand how someone else thinks and feels about issues. To meet another person in genuine dialogue, we must be able to realize how that person views himself or herself, the situation, and his or her own thoughts and feelings. We may personally see things much differently and we may want to express our perceptions. Yet we also need to understand and respect the other person’s perspective. People who can not take others’ perspective are egocentric. They impose their perceptions on others and interpret others’ experiences through their own eyes. This is imbalanced self-esteem. People who have extremely high self-esteem and see their point of views as superior and others inferior are not able to communicate effectively either.
So, if we try to be accepting of the beliefs of the other, opinions even if we do not agree with them, we must begin by acknowledging them and trying to communicate in an efficient way as it also helps us have a secure self-esteem. Engaging in dual perspective isn’t easy yet we can improve our ability through these few steps such as firstly, be aware of the tendency to see things only from your own perspective and resist that inclination. Secondly, listen closely to how others express their thoughts and feelings, so you can gain clues about what things mean to them and how they feel about the same. Thirdly, ask others to explain how they feel, what something means to them, or how they view a situation. Asking questions and probing for details, communicates on the relationship level that you are interested and that you want to understand. Making a commitment to engage in different perspectives and practicing the three guidelines will enhance the ability to see yourself as a valuable and emotionally intelligent person.
This means communication about communication. It can be verbal or nonverbal. Meta-communication can increase understanding. For instance, teachers sometimes say, “the next point is really important.” This comment signals students to pay special attention to the following. Clarity of the message conveyed is an important factor in better communicating. Effective metacommunication also helps friends and romantic partners express how they feel about their interactions. We can also metacommunicate to check on understanding:- “Was I clear”?, ”Do you see why I feel like I do?” Questions such as these allow you to find out whether another person understands what you intend to communicate. You may also metacommunicate to find out whether you understand what another person expresses to you, ”what I think you meant is that you are worried, is that right?” Metacommunication helps in preventing conflicts , internal and external. It helps in forming sound relationships with oneself and others. Every little detail contributes in forming bigger social networks.
Insights into communication are the primary way we build, refine and transform relationships. It is regarded as important micro-skills, it is all about utterances about the interaction itself. It is a powerful way to solve problems and it helps in academic achievements and career success; helps in being more assertive and improves oratory skills which eventually bolsters our subjective confidence and competency. It reduces performance anxiety and social anxiety and increases intrinsic satisfaction. Metacommunication has several benefits along with uplifting healthy self-esteem feelings, it is essential for successful social interaction.
Communication can be learned –
It is a mistake to think that effective communicators are born, that some people have a natural talent and others don’t. Although some people have extraordinary talent in athletics or writing, those who don’t can learn to be competent athletes and writers. Likewise, some people have an aptitude for communicating, but all of us can become competent communicators. People who get bullied or even teased or who have stage fright or any situation that involves public and makes individual uneasy and uncomfortable, or people who have poor social skills, who have language barriers, people who are unable to be emotionally intelligent all these factors block their personal growth and reduce s efficiency to communicate and interact and sabotaged their self-concept – for all those, communication is an art and a skill just like other skills which can be learnt. The ability that affects communication competence is monitoring it, the capacity to observe and regulate your way of expressing verbally and non-verbally. Monitoring occurs both before and during an interaction. During communication, we stay alert and edit our thoughts before expressing them. This, in turn, helps protect us from our fears and dangers, it makes us feel safe and comfortable and gives us a purpose and meaning.
These were the few tools that are extremely crucial and helpful to boost our healthy, balanced and secure positive self-esteem through the use of communication pedagogy. After all it is the master key to development.
Find a BUDDY to share all your problems with (even anonymously, if you want) on the FeelJoy Mobile App available for all Android users.