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What is Self Esteem?

How you feel about yourself
Includes your opinions, thoughts, beliefs and images you
have about yourself
These messages are sent to yourself from your own self and
many exist at the subconscious level
The term self-esteem comes from a Greek word meaning
"reverence for self." The "self" part of self-esteem pertains to the
beliefs and
attitudes that we hold about ourselves.
The "esteem" part of self-esteem describes the value and worth
that one gives oneself. Simplistically self-esteem is the
acceptance of ourselves for who and what we are at any given
time in our lives.
Self esteem means loving and feeling good about yourself
unconditionally. The meaning of high self esteem is critical in your
Self esteem is that feeling at the center of your being of
and self-respect.
High self esteem means that you feel good about yourself.Having
high Self esteem is crucial to experiencing love and success in

life.When your self esteem is high, you have a sense of self-worth;

you value yourself as a person.
Unfortunately many of us have a hard time experiencing high self
Familys Role
The amount of self esteem you have depends a lot on how you
were treated as a child. If you received sufficient praise and
encouragement from your family in your younger years, you are
very apt to have high levels of self esteem.
For instance, a child who grew up with all the right kind of support
would have a lot of self esteem, which may however be shattered
if his or her parents underwent a divorce or separation.
A child who was chubby in childhood may have been seen as
cute by his or her immediate family, and thus received a lot of
positive strokes. However, this chubbiness would become a
matter of embarrassment and shame in adulthood, leading to
reduced self esteem. Constant criticism in early childhood can
also lead to low self esteem levels.
Low self esteem is curable, but the healing is an uphill task.

Characteristics Of High Self Esteem

People who struggle with their self-esteem are often advised to
seek out people who are successful, confident and have high selfesteem. Of course its not as simple to just watch someone who is
outwardly comfortable and hope that will rub off and improve
your own self-esteem. It wont. If youre going to improve your
self-esteem you need to be committed to making some changes
and also putting in some practice. However, it is useful to spend
some time with people you know with high self-esteem and

observe some of the specific characteristic that are common with

people who are confident and comfortable in their own skin.
Listed below are 7 common traits.
1. Belief in themselves: People who have high self-esteem
have confidence in their own abilities. This isnt a case of
false self-confidence. They recognise what theyre good at,
are confident that they are able to improve where necessary
and unlike people with low self-esteem, believe that they
deserve to do better. The effect of this is that they are often
ambitious in their chosen field and do well in their careers as
they consistently strive for improvement and personal
success. They dont waste time indulging in negative selftalk.
2. Know what they want or need: People with high selfesteem generally have clear ideas about what they want or
need and are able to communicate these needs and wants to
3. Effective communication skills: Its common for people
with high self-esteem to be good communicators. This
includes having good listening skills which leave them open
to taking advice, being open to change and new ideas.
4. Drive to succeed: Not surprisingly people with high selfesteem have the drive to succeed. Some people withlow selfesteem have similar drive, but the difference is that people
with high self-esteem are generally more flexible and find it
easier to overcome challenges and disappointments along
the way. They dont worry about failure and even when they
do fail, they have the inner resources to learn from the
failure and then move on.
5. Comfortable with change: Because people with high selfesteem are comfortable with change, they enthusiastically
seek out new opportunities and are open to embracing new
ideas. They are also happy to learn new skills to support
them with any new challenges.

6. Enjoy healthy relationships: With their good

communication skills and their enthusiasm to succeed,
people with high self-esteem generally enjoy good healthy
relationships and are able to accept constructive criticism,
without letting it dent their confidence. Because of their
confidence they are rarely competitive with others because
they are comfortable with their own abilities.
7. Goal-orientated: The almost inbred confidence that
someone with high self-esteem has, means that they are
very focussed on self-improvement and success and are
often good at planning and setting goals in a methodical
way, as well as achieving them.

If you have low self-esteem its easy to envy those people who
exude confidence and have high self-esteem. Probably the best
thing that you can learn from people who have high self-esteem is
that they are comfortable with change and are prepared to have a
go. That may sound overly simplistic but if youre struggling with
low self-esteem its only you who can make the commitment to
change, reduce the negative and take a risk.
People with a high self esteem

Firmly believe in certain values and principles, and are ready

to defend them even when finding opposition, feeling secure
enough to modify them in light of experience.
Are able to act according to what they think to be the best
choice, trusting their own judgment, and not feeling guilty
when others don't like their choice.
Do not lose time worrying excessively about what happened
in the past, nor about what could happen in the future. They

learn from the past and plan for the future, but live in the
present intensely.

Fully trust in their capacity to solve problems, not hesitating

after failures and difficulties. They ask others for help when
they need it.
Consider themselves equal in dignity to others, rather than
inferior or superior, while accepting differences in certain
talents, personal prestige or financial standing.
Take for granted that they are an interesting and valuable
person for others, at least for those with whom they have a
Resist manipulation, collaborate with others only if it seems
appropriate and convenient.
Admit and accept different internal feelings and drives,
either positive or negative, revealing those drives to others
only when they choose.
Are able to enjoy a great variety of activities.
Are sensitive to feelings and needs of others; respect
generally accepted social rules, and claim no right or desire to
prosper at others' expense.

Characteristics Of Low Self Esteem

People with low self-confidence never ever live life to the fullest.
They maintain a distance from others and hence deny themselves
love and care from friends. Moreover, they never realize the full
potential of their abilities. Worse, they always think that life has
been unjust to them. These kind of people become a burden for
themselves, their families and society. Some of them get so
disillusioned that they become anti-social elements.

Even success frightens people with low self esteem. They feel
underserved to be successful and do know how to bask in the
warmth of success. Also for anything that goes wrong they think
themselves to be the culprit. They even proudly tell others that
they knew beforehand that things would go berserk. This is a
feature very common among low esteem people and needs
immediate correction.
Another characteristic of people with low self-esteem is
underestimating themselves. They constantly tell themselves that
they are not good and will fail in all endeavors. Over a period of
time, they start believing that they deserve nothing good. Their
negativity might even spread to people around them. For people
who face similar problems, they should be alert against them
because such people get attracted towards them. And then the
negativity multiplies even faster. This results in further
deterioration of their mental states and worsening of their life.
People with low self esteem are absolutely frustrated with their
life. They always crib about life. They can never see a positive
aspect in any issue. Their negative thinking erodes their self
confidence and self belief. On the other hand, people who are
confident about their abilities have high self esteem.
Also, low esteem people always keep lamenting about the past
and are anxious about the future. And in the mean time lose their
present too. They nether enjoy the present nor work for the
future. As a result, they are never happy with either their present,
past or future. This becomes a vicious cycle and they are never
able to break free from the negative thinking.
Relaxation is a concept they are unaware of. They always keep
switching jobs and work profiles. This is because they feel very
much uneasy at what they currently do. They create one crisis
after another and blame it on destiny.
To get a sense of false relief some resort to unethical means like
alcohol, sex and drugs. But this is even more harmful to them.
This doesnt give them mental peace and harmony.

People with low self esteem even have problems in the personal
and family life. They are not at ease with intimacy and love and
hence never allow anyone to be close to them. They dont like to
be close to them and never reveal their innermost thoughts. They
keep some very bad experiences and feelings buried inside them,
thereby giving rise to even more pain and despair. They keep on
plunging deeper and deeper in to their negative world. The
condition might go so bad that they can never be cured.
But this is not healthy for society. People with low self esteem
need assistance. They should be put through a proper treatment.
If needed they should be given guidance by a professional, if their
near and dear ones arent able to do much for them.
Typically, a person with low Self-Esteem

Is extremely critical of themselves

Downplays or ignores their positive qualities
Judges themselves to be inferior to their peers
Uses negative words to describe themselves such as stupid,
fat, ugly or unlovable
Has discussions with themselves (this is called self talk)
that are always negative, critical and self blaming
Assumes that luck plays a large role in all their achievements
and doesnt take the credit for them
Blames themselves when things go wrong instead of taking
into account other things over which they have no control such
as the actions of other people or economic forces
Doesnt believe a person who compliments them.

A low self-esteem can reduce the quality of a persons life

in many different ways; including:

Negative feelings the constant self-criticism can lead to

persistent feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger,
shame or guilt.
Relationship problems for example they may tolerate all
sorts of unreasonable behaviour from partners because they
believe they must earn love and friendship, cannot be loved or

are not loveable. Alternatively, a person with low self-esteem

may feel angry and bully other people.
Fear of trying the person may doubt their abilities or
worth and avoid challenges.
Perfectionism a person may push themselves and
become an over-achiever to atone for what they see as their
Fear of judgement they may avoid activities that involve
other people, like sports or social events, because they are
afraid they will be negatively judged. The person feels selfconscious and stressed around others and constantly looks for
signs that people dont like them.
Low resilience a person with low self-esteem finds it hard
to cope with a challenging life event because they already
believe themselves to be hopeless.
Lack of self-care the person may care so little that they
neglect or abuse themselves, for example, drink too much
Self-harming behaviours low self-esteem puts the
person at increased risk of self-harm, for example, eating
disorder, drug abuse or suicide

Causes of low self-esteem

Some of the many causes of low self-esteem

Unhappy childhood where parents (or other significant

people such as teachers) were extremely critical
Poor academic performance in school resulting in a lack of
Ongoing stressful life event such as relationship breakdown
or financial trouble
Poor treatment from a partner, parent or carer, for example,
being in an abusive relationship
Ongoing medical problem such as chronic pain, serious
illness or physical disability
Mental illness such as an anxiety disorder or depression.

Self-esteem building

Self-esteem is strongly related to how you view and react to the

things that happen in your life.
Suggestions for building self-esteem include:

Talk to yourself positively treat yourself as you would

your best friend. Be supportive, kind and understanding. Dont
be hard on yourself when you make a mistake.

Challenge negative self-talk every time you criticise

yourself, stop and look for objective evidence that the criticism
is true. (If you feel you cant be objective, then ask a trusted
friend for their opinion.) Youll realise that most of your
negative self-talk is unfounded.

Dont compare yourself to others recognise that

everyone is different and that every human life has value in its
own right. Make an effort to accept yourself, warts and all.

Acknowledge the positive for example, dont brush off

compliments, dismiss your achievements as dumb luck or
ignore your positive traits.

Appreciate your special qualities remind yourself of

your good points every day. Write a list and refer to it often. (If
you feel you cant think of anything good about yourself, ask a
trusted friend to help you write the list.)

Forget the past concentrate on living in the here-andnow rather than reliving old hurts and disappointments.

Tell yourself a positive message everyday buy a set of

inspirational cards and start each day reading out a new card
and carrying the cards message with you all day.

Stop worrying worry is simply fretting about the future.

Accept that you cant see or change the future and try to keep
your thoughts in the here-and-now.

Have fun schedule enjoyable events and activities into

every week.

Exercise it is such a good boost to the brain for all kinds of

things but especially in combatting depression and helping you
to feel good. Targets need to be step by step, such as starting
with a walk round the block once a day, enrolling at a local
gym class or going for a swim.

Be assertive communicate your needs, wants, feelings,

beliefs and opinions to others in a direct and honest manner.

Practise the above suggestions every day it takes

effort and vigilance to replace unhelpful thoughts and
behaviours with healthier versions. Give yourself time to
establish the new habits. Keep a diary or journal to chart your
Further ways to build Self-Esteem

Talk to a trusted friend or loved one about your self-esteem

Browse the Better Health Channel for further information.
See your doctor for information, advice and possible referral.
Read books on self-development.
Take a course in personal development.
Discuss your issues and get advice from a trained therapist.

Ways to Improve Your Self-Esteem

1. Change your negative self-talk. Everyone has a voice
inside her/his mind that is continually commenting. The negative,
critical, hurtful comments need to be changed. Begin listening to
what you say to yourself and then talk back to your negative selftalk with the truth. Speed up the process by saying positive
statements or affirmations; such as, I like myself and am a
worthwhile person, I forgive myself for not knowing/being/doing,
I deserve love, inner peace, and fulfillment.
Make a cassette tape, in your voice, of affirmations and listen to it
daily or make a list of affirmations and read out loud to yourself
2. Visualize what you want to create in your life. Picture
what you want to create, whether it is a new dress or feeling
confident in new situations. When you combine an affirmation,
with deep feeling, and with a positive mental picture you add
power to what you want to create. Look for pictures in magazines
that picture what you want to create and glue them into your

3. Nurture yourself. Take care of yourself physically,

emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. Enjoy the times when
others are able to nurture you or meet your needs; watch the
tendency to set yourself up for disappointment with unreal
4. Build a support system. You deserve to have at least one
person to talk to who accepts you without judging you. Consider
joining a group to meet new people.
5. Take time to be alone daily. Spending quality time alone
allows you to listen to your inner self. It is time to think, read,
write, pray, meditate, or listen to your intuition.
6. Use your talents. Develop your interests. Take classes,
find a teacher to begin. Volunteer to share your talents with
7. Keep a journal. Writing is a good way to get to know yourself,
solve your problems, lower your stress level, and balance yourself
emotionally. If you have never written before, begin by writing for
20 minutes a day. Include your thoughts, feelings, and emotional
reactions to people and situations that have upset or hurt you.
Eventually, insights and wisdom, that under normal circumstances
are hidden from you, flow onto the paper. Do not worry about
spelling or grammar. Consider using different colored inks. Writing
clarifies your thoughts, feelings, needs, wants, visions, values,
goals, and priorities and helps you communicate better with
others. Following are questions to get you started.
Where to get help

Your doctor

Your local community health centre

Find a GP near you who specialises in mental health issues

through the beyondblue website

Things to remember

Self-esteem is your opinion of yourself.

Everyone lacks confidence occasionally but people with low

self-esteem are unhappy or unsatisfied with themselves most
of the time.

It takes attention and daily practice to boost a low selfesteem.

Importance Of Self-Esteem
It Helps:
It translates into belief in yourself, giving you the courage to
try new things.
It allows you to respect and honour yourself, even when you
make mistakes.
When you have a good self-esteem, you will know that
youre smart enough to make your own decisions.
When you honour yourself, you will make choices that
nourish your mind and body.

Self Esteem In The Workplace

The group you work with has a level of self-esteem based on the
composite self-esteem levels of the individuals in the group. We

each take to the workplace (works the same in families) our level
of awareness, which includes such things as our understanding of
ourselves and others, our communication skills, our ability to have
realistic expectations for ourselves and others, our degree of
maintaining a positive attitude, and our ability to stay in presenttime and not let past hurts be projected onto others. It also
depends on taking responsibility for our own life, managing our
feelings, our biases, and prejudices, and our ability to release and
forgive immature behavior and responses in others. One of the
most important things we do is model and reflect to others how
we value ourselves. To positively impact your work (or home)
environment take a look your own self-esteem awareness level
and see where you might make some improvements. It will
improve your own life, as well as that of the workplace.

The group you work with has a level of self-esteem based on the
composite self-esteem levels of the individuals in the group. We
each take to the workplace (works the same in families) our level
of awareness, which includes such things as our understanding of
ourselves and others, our communication skills, our ability to have
realistic expectations for ourselves and others, our degree of
maintaining a positive attitude, and our ability to stay in presenttime and not let past hurts be projected onto others. It also
depends on taking responsibility for our own life, managing our
feelings, our biases, and prejudices, and our ability to release and
forgive immature behavior and responses in others. One of the
most important things we do is model and reflect to others how
we value ourselves. To positively impact your work (or home)
environment take a look your own self-esteem awareness level
and see where you might make some improvements. It will
improve your own life, as well as that of the workplace.