What Is Self-Esteem?
In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person's overall subjective sense of personal worth or value. In other words, self-esteem may be defined as how much you appreciate and like yourself regardless of the circumstances. Your self-esteem is defined by many factors including:
- Feeling of security
- Sense of belonging
- Feeling of competence
Other terms that are often used interchangeably with self-esteem include self-worth, self-regard, and self-respect.
Why Self-Esteem Is Important
Self-esteem impacts your decision-making process, your relationships, your emotional health, and your overall well-being. It also influences motivation, as people with a healthy, positive view of themselves understand their potential and may feel inspired to take on new challenges. People with healthy self-esteem:
- Have a firm understanding of their skills
- Experience healthy relationships with others because they have a healthy relationship with themselves
- Have realistic and appropriate expectations of themselves and their abilities
- Understand their needs and are able to express them
People with low self-esteem tend to feel less sure of their abilities and may doubt their decision-making process. They may not feel motivated to try new things because they don’t believe they're capable of reaching their goals. Those with low self-esteem may have issues with relationships and expressing their needs. They may also experience low levels of confidence and unworthy.
There are some simple ways to tell if you have healthy self-esteem. The below list outlines these.
- Avoid dwelling on past negative experiences
- Believe you are equal to everyone else, no better and no worse
- Express your needs
- Feel confident
- Have a positive outlook on life
- Say no when you want to
- See your overall strengths and weaknesses and accept them
Having healthy self-esteem can help motivate you to reach your goals, because you are able to navigate life knowing that you can accomplish what you set your mind to. Additionally, when you have healthy self-esteem, you are able to set appropriate boundaries in relationships and maintain a healthy relationship with yourself and others.
How to Improve Self-Esteem
There are simple steps that you can take to address problems with self-esteem. Some actions of these actions are described below
- Become more aware of negative thoughts. Learn to identify the thoughts that are impacting your self-worth.
- Challenge negative thinking patterns. When you find yourself engaging in negative thinking, try countering those thoughts with more realistic and/or positive ones.
- Use positive self-talk. Practice reciting positive affirmations to yourself.
- Practice self-compassion. Practice forgiving yourself for past mistakes and move forward by accepting all parts of yourself.