Self-esteem refers to an individual’s sense of his or her value or worth or the extent to which a person values, approves of, appreciates, prizes, or likes himself or herself (Blascovich & Tomaka, 1991). According to Rosenberg’s (1965), it is a favourable or unfavourable attitude toward the self. In other words, self-esteem means how individuals perceive their worth and value. It is important for our well-being, formation of a relationship with others and self, voicing our opinions, dealing with setbacks, setting boundaries and accepting ourselves. It is vital to our development, ability to take on challenges and ability to make new relationships. There are three types of self-esteem:-
- Inflated self-esteem – In this, people think they are better than others, are unable to listen to others, blame others, have difficulty in forming relations with others, undervalue others and see everyone else as a competition. This self-esteem makes people hostile, aggressive and not taking steps towards accepting and changing oneself.
- High self-esteem – These people accept and value themselves, set boundaries, voice their opinions, deal with the conflict, have the ability to handle setbacks and failures and take feedback from others. They know the difference between confidence and arrogance. They can form and maintain a healthy relationship.
- Low self-esteem – These people are opposite to high self-esteem people as they don’t value, trust and accept themselves. They face inability in voicing their opinions, dealing with failures, setbacks and forming a relationship.
The self-esteem of the person is not rigid or fixed; it can be improved. These are the 5 ways by which we can improve our self-esteem. These are as follows –
- Building strengths and competencies – Identify your strengths, competencies and work towards building them. Try to acknowledge the things you are good at and don’t hesitate to take challenges. The identification and acknowledgement can be done through reflection, journaling and self-introspection. It can also come from the compliments and feedback of others.
- Acceptance, forgiveness, kindness and unconditional love – Accept yourself and shower yourself with unconditional love. You are important and you matter. You can do this by using positive affirmations, celebrating your small wins, taking a self-compassion break, accepting your failures and setbacks, and by being forgiving and kind towards self. Don’t hesitate to say no, voicing your opinion and needs. It could be difficult at first but with time you will understand how important this is for you.
- Negative self-talk and weakness – Identify your weaknesses and negative self-talk. We can work towards improving our weaknesses or accepting some of them. Negative self-talk or self-criticism can be handled by asking yourself what you will say to your loved ones in that situation, considering that your thoughts are not facts, with reasoning or journaling countering your negative self-talk. Shifting your negative self-talk towards self-compassion.
- Lifestyle – To adopt certain lifestyle changes in terms of taking care of your diet, sleep, and body. It can be done by taking a healthy and nutritious meal, proper sleep schedule, staying hydrated and exercising regularly thereby maintaining a healthy lifestyle and relation with your body, by respecting it, accepting it, and acknowledging its needs.
- Self- compassion, self-confidence and challenges – To be confident about your decisions, opinions and needs. To be able to take up challenges and face the setbacks and failures of life. Life is not a linear journey, it is full of ups and downs and is unpredictable. Sometimes decisions can fail and things can’t always go as planned. In such times, we don’t need to be hard on ourselves. We can accept the reality; give ourselves space, time and the love it deserves in order to deal with it.
These are the 5 ways by which you can boost your self-esteem. The journey of change, improvement, identification, acceptance and exploration of self are not easy. It will come up with certain obstacles, hard decisions, and experiences. This requires self-work, but in the end, it is worth it for your emotional and psychological well-being.
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