What exactly is self-esteem? It is the attitude one has towards oneself, one’s abilities, talents and potential. It is your inner opinion of yourself and how worthy you are of certain achievements and rewards. A healthy self-image is important in order to achieve success and happiness in all aspects of life. Self-confidence and self-esteem are essential in interpersonal interactions, careers, friendships, love relationships, and in every aspect of daily life.
When we say ‘healthy self-esteem,’ it is comprised of three key components: positive self-talk, a positive outlook and a positive mental state. Self-talk is where you talk to yourself about yourself and what you have accomplished so far. Your positive self-talk should inspire you to new heights of greatness. Your positive self-talk, positive attitude and healthy sense of self-confidence will strengthen your self-confidence and self-esteem.
Positive self-talk and positive attitude will help you build your self-confidence and self-esteem often through positive experiences that leave a lasting impression on you. For example, if you have a good, supportive and loving relationship with your family and friends, you will experience a sense of self-respect and self-confidence. This is due to the positive image you have of them and because they represent the experiences that you cherish and look forward to in the future. Similarly, positive social experiences leave a lasting impression on us. We see and hear about great people who achieve great things and make major contributions to society and we emulate them.
These experiences may lead you to believe that you are worthless or underachieved. To avoid these negative feelings and to develop higher self-esteem, it is important to eliminate the destructive inner critic or the self- sabotaging critical mind set. The self- sabotaging thoughts and beliefs are what lower self-esteem and lower self-confidence.
Many factors influence self-esteem and self-confidence including, but not limited to, the physical appearance we may have, our achievements, the social status and esteem we may have and the way we perceive ourselves and others. Our inner critics and our inner ‘fear’ about ourselves can be very strong and can prevent us from achieving our full potential. Self-blame and the need to place responsibility on other people can also weaken our self-esteem. Negative self-talk can also have an effect on our self-image and our sense of self-worth.
The good news is that having a healthy self-esteem and self-confidence does not depend on how successful we appear to be or how much we earn. In fact, having too high a self-image or overly critical attitude will have the opposite effect. It can make us feel worthless and inferior and in turn we will try to avoid any situations that will give us the opportunity to prove how worthless we are. People with negative self-talk tend to have unrealistic expectations of themselves and often judge themselves by their past experiences rather than basing their opinions on their present behaviour and knowledge. This negative self-talk and the corresponding lack of self-confidence can be fertile grounds for negative experiences in our relationships and in many aspects of our lives.
If you were to look at the various positive aspects of having a healthy self-image and self-confidence, you may well find that the most beneficial aspect of these traits are your relationships with others. People with positive self-talk and realistic expectations about themselves and their capabilities will be more willing to try and learn from other people and situations. They will also be more assertive in facing challenges and dealing with issues with others. Having healthy self-confidence and self-esteem means accepting that all people have different strengths and weaknesses and that there is no one single solution that will apply universally to all of the problems we face in our lives. Instead, we should be able to use our individual talents and ability in a way that best meets the needs of the person in question. This may mean that they need to change certain aspects of their behaviour in order to meet your needs.
Positive thinking and a healthy self-image can often go hand-in-hand. If you consistently tell yourself that you are worthless and insignificant, this may lead to negative behaviour. It may lead to saying hurtful things to those who you perceive to be treating you unfairly. Instead of trying to shut down your emotions when you experience these kinds of feelings, you should respond with kindness, compassion and respect. Over time, these positive thoughts will build up and over time, your self-esteem may lead to positive experiences and outcomes in your life.