What do you think of when you hear the word, self-esteem? Are your thoughts negative or positive? Personally, I imagine someone looking into a mirror. Self-esteem reflects a person’s overall evaluation of his or her own worth. It includes beliefs as well as emotions such as pride, despair, and shame. The question I ask when discussing self-esteem is simply, how much do you value yourself? Do you value your own thoughts, opinions, and feelings? Do you show it by expecting others to value these things as well?
Now you may not be waking up every morning, looking in the mirror immediately and reciting 10 different things you love about yourself with an award winning smile before hopping in the shower. In fact, I kind of hope you aren’t doing that every day. But all the same, having a healthy self-worth means that you should be able to name a few positive things about yourself and feel confident in doing so. Having a healthy self-esteem can be very beneficial to your overall mental health in the following ways:
- Strong relationships – when you are confident in yourself, you relate better to others and are more capable of contributing to healthy and loving relationships.
- Confidence – we are more confident in who we are which can improve job performance, our ability to meet others and initiate friendships, and even help us set and keep boundaries.
- Better stress management – those with a healthy self-perception are more likely to take time for themselves for and engage in relaxation and self-care activities.
- Freedom – free from the worries about judgment from others. Healthy self-esteem means your worth is found from you, not from the acceptance of others.
If you wonder where you fall in the spectrum of self-esteem ratings, here is a list of signs of low self-esteem:
- You do not accept compliments well.
- You have trouble making eye contact with others.
- You apologize and feel guilty very frequently.
- You use negative, hopeless language (especially about yourself).
- You feel depressed often.
- You take things personally.
If you struggle with low self-esteem, you are not alone. Many people, both men and women of a variety of ages struggle with this issue. If this is hindering your life, your relationships, or your career, considering talking with a counselor. You are worth it.