Self esteem implies being confident in one’s own worth or abilities. It means respecting yourself. Self esteem reflects an individual’s overall subjective emotional, physical and mental evaluation of his/her own worth. Healthy self esteem exists when we believe that we are being valued, being listened to, being acknowledged, loved and accepted. It stems from honouring each others’ uniqueness, having attainable expectations or having a purpose in life. Low self esteem comes from rejection, self hate, lack of attention from others’, feeling less validated, prejudice or discrimination, self-resentment, abuse or the idea of perfectionism.
DEVELOP AND ENHANCE HEALTHY SELF ESTEEM–
William James is widely regarded as the Father of American Psychology. He was one of the leading thinkers of the late nineteenth century and is appraised as one of the most influential philosopher’s of the modern times. He developed a theory of self consciousness in his work Principles Of Psychology which was published in 1890. His theory also details self esteem describing it as the ratio of an individuals’ actual behaviour in contrast to their pretensions. James described self esteem as how an individual views their image — positively or negatively. He gave a brilliant insight into the psychology of man. His idea was that self esteem is equated to one’s success divided by one’s expectation of success.
To increase your self esteem you need to lower your pretensions and increase your success. Now someone might argue that high expectations mean high rate of achieving success. To that I say- to each his own. Not everything that you expect to achieve can be achievable. And that’s OK. We all need to adjust our inner greed at times and sit back and think. Success is just a relative term. It can mean many things. To some it means happiness, positivity, appreciation, confidence, empowerment or freedom. To each his own. We need to first adjust the size of our expectation and make it achievable. Only then can you be realistically aware of what self esteem or self worth is. If we manage to balance our success with our pretensions can we achieve the perfect formula of self esteem.
In the path breaking book — The Psychology Of Self Esteem by Nathaniel Branden (1969), he said –
“There is no value — judgement more important to man — no factor more decisive in his psychological development and motivation — than the estimate he passes on himself”
(Chapter 7: The Meaning Of Self Esteem)
HOW TO IMPROVE SELF ESTEEM –
· Identify your strengths and weaknesses — There is no point in blaming yourself for the things you cannot control. But you can always improve yourself though constant questioning and checks on yourself. Remove your weaknesses and focus more on your strengths and build up on them.
· Surround yourself with positive people — It is very commonly said that misery loves company and so does productivity. Now this does not mean that you surround yourself with yes man but rather some people who inspire you to always achieve more and more. Surround yourself with these five types of people — the inspired, the passionate, the motivated, the grateful and the open minded.
· Positive self talk — When something bad or negative happens positive self talk often helps us to see the positive out of the negative. This practice often energizes and allows discovering the obscured optimism, hoping and joying in any given situation.
· Set realistic goals — Often times we hope to achieve so much in one day that we end up not even doing half of what we imagined to do. So let’s be realistic in our everyday goal settings. Make a daily planner and write down what you would like to achieve that day and try to do everything that you had planned in a way that brings out the helps increase your productivity without you feeling over whelmed.
· Move on from your past — We lie in our bed late at night hoping to get good night’s sleep and soon as our head hits the pillow we start thinking all the embarrassing things we did at a party two years ago or said something stupid. We put so much thought and energy in these things that frankly don’t even matter anymore. No one would remember what happened years ago and hold it against you and neither should you. The past is the past and the present is the present. Live in the moment without wasting precious moments dwelling on what happened in the past.
· Be humble — True humility doesn’t mean thinking less of yourself, it means thinking of yourself less. A great man is always willing to be little.
· Identify the source of your emotions — Do not keep your emotions hidden deep within yourself. They will rot you from the inside. Express it openly. Learn to express your emotions like fear, guilt, anger, happiness or sadness. Learn where they stem from.
· Set your own standards — If you care what other people think, you will always be there prisoner.
· No self doubt — J.M. Barrie — the creator of our beloved Peter Pan said “The moment you doubt whether you can fly, you cease forever to able to do it.”
“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn’t need others approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her. “ -Lao Tzu