What is self-esteem? Self-worth is the quality or state of being worthy of love, respect, and admiration. It involves an assessment of one’s worthiness to take on tasks and responsibilities and how one sees oneself as a potential leader, worker, or spouse. Many people believe that self-worth is what determines your level of success in everything from career and love to travel and romance. Others believe that self-worth is the foundation for a happy and successful life.
In essence, self-worth is your assessment of your worth as an individual. Self-worth encompasses many psychological states including confidence, motivation, power, competence, and self-image. It may also encompass experiences and events, including having an encouraging and supportive family, achieving personal success, making good relationships, earning a good salary, and experiencing various other important positive experiences. Your level of self-worth can be affected by your experiences, such as how you were treated in school or by other adults, your level of education, your marital or dating relationships, your level of physical attractiveness, your skill levels, and your achievements in your chosen profession. The self-worth you have of yourself will be impacted by the way you look at yourself, by your reactions to criticism, by the way you accept or reject criticism, and by your expectations of future success.
Developing and maintaining a healthy self-esteem requires you to have a strong self-image and positive outlook in life. Self-talk, your attitudes and beliefs about yourself and others, are all important aspects of your self-image and self-confidence. People who do not have a positive self-image and a positive outlook are those who give little thought to others or to life in general. Conversely, people with a positive self-image and high self-confidence are those who are easily able to evaluate themselves and their lives objectively. To develop and maintain a healthy sense of self-worth it is crucial that you learn to: Have a positive self-image and positive outlook about life.
Have realistic and accepting expectations about your ability and level of competence. People with unrealistic or overly critical expectations about their capabilities and abilities are typically characterized by an exaggerated self-image, negative self-talk, a low self-evaluation level, a poor self-image, and a negative outlook on life. When you have unrealistic and overly critical expectations about yourself and your abilities, you frequently believe that you cannot achieve certain goals or that you are somehow “not good enough.” Individuals who have realistic and accepting expectations about their capabilities and levels of competence are more likely to develop healthy self-esteem and positive self-talk.
Have realistic and accepting expectations about the way you will respond to stressful situations. Individuals with unrealistic expectations about how they will react to a situation are characterized by an exaggerated self-image, a negative self-image, a low self-evaluation level, and a negative attitude towards stressful situations. Individuals who have realistic and accepting expectations about how they will respond to stressful situations are more likely to develop healthy self-esteem and positive self-talk.
Influence your inner conversations about yourself and your ability to do something effectively, you can easily influence your self-esteem, and thus your self-confidence, through your inner talk. Self-talk, which is internal communication that you have with yourself about yourself and your capabilities and abilities, has many different factors influencing its accuracy, strength, and validity. However, if you are able to change your internal conversations, about your capabilities and abilities, to more positive and supportive messages about how you will do things, your self-esteem, and your self-confidence will improve.
Your life experiences may also lead to unhealthy self-esteem. Many of the self-help programs, as well as the counselors at the local mental health center or treatment center, are only helpful in the beginning. These individuals often have little to no experience with the stresses and challenges that most individuals face when attempting to change their lives and live healthier, successful lives. You may be at greater risk for developing unhealthy self-esteem if you grew up in poverty and were constantly belittled and criticized for the things you did. You may also be at greater risk of developing unhealthy self-esteem if you were sexually abused, experienced trauma as a child, or went through a difficult time in life. Changing your life and experiencing new experiences can be a tremendous challenge, and it can be very easy to put these things out of your mind and focus on them negatively in adulthood.
Lastly, you may develop unhealthy self-image and self-efficacy from your relationships with negative friends, co-workers, and siblings. People who continually belittle others, criticize other people, and have a negative self-image and self-efficacy are going to constantly be under pressure to find ways to improve their lives and lower their self-image and self-efficacy. As an adult, you may need to make a concerted effort to spend time with those who love you and want to help you achieve your goals. Spend time with positive friends who will give you positive feedback and praise you for your accomplishments. In addition to having supportive friends and positive encouragement, you should also make an effort to surround yourself with positive people who will reinforce your successes and discourage you from your failures.