Self-esteem is a very wide term and possibly everyone knows or can tell us something about it. For this reason, it has often been underestimated, and even the subject is discussed without the importance it has in our professional projects. We talk about it in the offices, in romantic relationships, and on the street, ignoring the practical aspects that make this concept a very important tool to apply it in many areas of our lives, including the professional one.
Unfortunately, some psychologists have built a fence limiting it only to the clinical field, but its application in different contexts makes it a very important tool. We could consider that healthy self-esteem is the main pillar of a successful entrepreneur, the essential point from which your reputation starts.
Society needs to approach “Low self esteem” less mockingly, it shouldn’t be some sort of insult, it is a valid and hurtful mental challenge often caused by years of physical and emotional trauma.
— Imabong. (@The_Florentyna) August 5, 2020
Definition of Self-Esteem
When we start talking about self-esteem, we can resort to the generalized or etymological concept with which this concept is understood, and there is nothing better than dividing the word to understand its etymological origins.
- Auto: means oneself. What we do to ourselves or by ourselves
- Esteem: value something or someone and respect or admire it.
As you can see, self-esteem is the ability to recognize our value, accept and love ourselves, satisfied with who we are and what we do. A person with healthy self-esteem recognizes the value that each person has for himself or herself, regardless of their appearance, abilities or disabilities, strengths or weaknesses, good choices or mistakes that they have made in life.
In the same way, a person with healthy self-esteem also has and shows those values for himself or herself. This type of person believes in themselves, in their abilities, and they accept both the good and bad that they have. Since language and thought are very close, the way we see and direct ourselves is also the way we do it towards the others, and vice versa. That’s why everybody should know that a person who acts with envy, in bad ways, and with aggressiveness, usually also communicates herself in that way, and faces her challenges with the same attitude.
Look, an important fact of healthy self-esteem is feeling independent of what others think about you. We value ourselves without letting other people’s opinions make us change our happiness and our goals. If we direct ourselves with a positive attitude, surely, we will also do it with other people and that is something that others notice. A good tone of voice, looking into the eyes, and doing active listening will make us seem as balanced people and confident in our decisions, something that for our reputation is pretty good.
The key is learning more about who we are
As human beings, we have the unique ability to value ourselves by generating our own beliefs, something that animals cannot do (scientifically proven, at least until now). Therefore, the beliefs that come from our experiences and the assessment of our capacities are fundamental to be able to work on us effectively.
On the other hand, it is of little use to cling to any belief about us if it is not linked to helping us reach a version of ourselves as efficient and successful people. Surely you have already heard many times that the barriers of life are more inside us than outside, that we are responsible for our happiness. Well, that phrase would be essential for us to understand to become persons capable of changing our present and future. The judgment we make about who we are will determine the value we also have towards others, and this is very important, because a good social relationship with other people, a wide circle of friends, makes our self-esteem rich and vigorous.
Let’s start by understanding that what we first see about ourselves and the first thing others see about us is our physical appearance, our image. Since we live in a stressful, impatient, and appearance-dominated world, most people are not happy with their bodies. Material things have a tremendous value in today’s world, and it turns out that the image is something material. This self-demand is typical of poor-quality self-esteem. It seems that this rhythm of life makes us behave like this, always wanting what we do not have.
Psychologists do not mean that it is unimportant to have a good appearance, the real problem is that unfortunately we give too much importance to this aspect and neglect the others. An attitude of acceptance of our physique begins to change the way we see ourselves; it is the first step to develop healthy self-esteem.
In this way, when you begin to accept yourself as you are, the change in you begins to work. Instead of starting desperately to change your image, analyze who you are, how you are, and what you want to improve. Many successful people end up wearing or combing as they please, wearing a hat or an earring in the ear, and they still seem serious people at work, showing their charisma and authenticity with their image. Two important characteristics of any personal brand. That is why if you do not like your body, it means that you do not accept it, but you are your body and if you do not accept it, you are rejecting an important part of yourself that characterizes and defines you.
Think of some ugly and bad-looking politician, despite this unflattering image we feel that he is a self-assured person, with character and capable of leading and making serious decisions.
Most people assume self-esteem has to do with positive self-talk. But that approach can lead to endless thinking. From a meditation point of view, we're looking to let go of self-talk and rumination to access a place of deep confidence that exists beyond the thinking mind
— Andy Puddicombe (@andypuddicombe) August 5, 2020
Start by accepting your image, there will be time to improve it in the future
One way to work on our self-image is to draw the following table dividing what we want to change from what we do not, analyzing the results, and acting accordingly on the results recorded.
I can change it
I cannot change it
I want to change it
I do not want to change it
Sometimes when we want to change something in our life it is important to distinguish what is within our reach from what is not. In this way, we will focus on what depends on our attitude and our decisions, proposing resolution strategies adapted to clear objectives. Avoid wasting energy on something you cannot change.
At this point, we already know that self-esteem is a set of beliefs, values, and perceptions that we have about ourselves and our capacities. Well, these beliefs are built from relationships with others, finding their critical period in childhood. Around the age of 4 or 5, we are very vulnerable and that is the point when we begin to create our concept about ourselves.
We base those beliefs on the way we relate to each other both at home and at school. Parents and teachers have a very important role at this young age. We realize what they think of us, how they act with us, and what consequence that behavior has in our lives. That is why it is very important to receive a correct affection, not overrated, neither with an emotional nor an affective deficit. Any alteration in the development of a child can affect his self-esteem and consequently his future life, his way of behaving, seeing the world, and the others.
For these reasons, emotional education is recommended in schools, since this would not only help children but also their parents. Undoubtedly, it is possible to affirm that a bad education, based for example on guilt, threats, criticism, excess or lack of protection, has unknown consequences in the adult life of the child.
If, on the contrary, we grow in an environment where we are rewarded for our efforts, adults use a communication based on empathy, there is respect, affection, and dedication, we will grow with greater skills and resources to be a successful person in the future. We will have an idea of ourselves much closer to success.
Why some people succeed in their self-esteem and others don’t?
Every day we receive news on television and in magazines, about how wonderful and great soccer players, actors, musicians, and anyone else we consider to be “success” are.
Why then do some celebrities commit suicide or end up using drugs if it turns out that they “have it all”?
They are not happy. They have problems and concerns like us. Healthy self-esteem does not understand money or celebrities, we must all be careful.
Celebrities have been given an example because most people believe that they are better and happier, we do nothing but compare ourselves with them, and this evaluation of ourselves is poorly conducted. We tend to look at disabilities, imperfections, or mistakes because we simply do not run like a footballer or we are not as beautiful as that actress.
It is about being happy, we should not compare ourselves with others. We must put our wishes, our authenticity, and our interests above others.
We focus too much on “struggling” to look like what we are not, to achieve our IDEAL SELF.
When your daily efforts are aimed at pursuing an image that you have created of who you would like to become, and you put your happiness before that idea, I am sorry to tell you that something is wrong in your way of acting. We do not say that you do not have to fight to be a better person, to achieve your goals, but do it from the love of what you want to achieve, and from the fact that the very path you are going to travel already makes you happy. If you seek perfection in all things, it may not be the path that will make you grow.
In this process, the words with which we refer to the world, to our dreams, and ourselves have special importance.
For example, “should” phrases are part of self-demanding phrases that deal with something that has already happened or is about to come. If you use these words a lot, it is that you must improve your self-esteem, since you do not address yourself with a positive, conciliatory attitude, but rather one of recrimination and criticism.
The past is important if we learn from it, it does not help at all if we remember it to suffer. It is enough to change these phrases that you have been saying to yourself for years to write down more positive, constructive, and practical ones.
Positive body-image and high self-esteem are protective factors against the development of an eating disorder. Let's support our children and help them develop a positive relationship with food and their bodies pic.twitter.com/nN7lSKQJZ4
— Eating Disorders Association (N.I.) (@EDAbelfast) August 7, 2020
Tell me if you feel identified with some of these phrases:
- I should have to try harder
- I should have answered something
- I should do as “such and such person” does
- I should look like …
- I should get up earlier still
Note that all sentences begin with that verb tense: should.
This verb should cease to exist.
Since we are children (you know that is where our self-esteem is forged) we have already heard too many phrases with “you should”, and as adults, we address ourselves using the same verb:
- I should be slimmer, stronger, have a nicer ass, huge breasts …
- I should have studied more, speak two languages, etc. …
These types of phrases lead us to dissatisfaction, which is nothing more than trying to achieve objectives by resorting to a extrinsic motivation. When we are adults we have a “backpack” full of “failures” and “you shoulds” because I am not the person I wanted to be, the person I dreamed of, the model I imagined in my head. Someone unreachable, a fantasy.
The conflict arises when we realize that more and more we are further from our REAL SELF. The one who is more human, imperfect, and close. This instability generates tension and anxiety. Some people buy impulsively, who compulsively go to the gym and buy countless products to satisfy that need in a couple of days and the worst thing is that they fail. Their frustration increases, and overall, they feel worse than at first.
That’s why initiatives like this blog are so important to reproduce, to get to more people and, maybe, help them to improve their self-image on the way.