What is self-esteem? It is a person’s opinion of his or her self-worth. It differs from the way others see him or her. Self-evaluation encompasses different emotions, including self-confidence, self-image, self-efficacy, and self-respect. Self-evaluation is a way of knowing about one’s own self-worth; how you assess your ability and performance relative to others, where you stand in relation to society, what your career goals are, what your true nature is, how much you know about yourself, etc.
According to Amy Waterman, PhD, people with a healthy sense of self-esteem are happier and more fulfilled in their lives than those with low self-esteem. A healthy sense of self-esteem helps prevent depression, substance abuse, and anxiety. A healthy sense of self-esteem also leads to higher achievement in academic settings, a stronger sense of self and personal identity, higher job performance and promotion, greater earning power, better health, and greater social networking. A healthy sense of self-esteem can help address many of the challenges that we face in our day-to-day lives.
What is self-esteem if it does not involve improving self-compassionately? Self-evaluation are two very different processes. Whereas the inner critic serves as a negative voice in your head that suggests that you aren’t meeting enough of your goals, telling you that you’re not good enough for this job or that you won’t make it in this business, the inner critic can be a positive voice in your head that gives you encouraging words and ideas to help you get moving in the right direction.
If your inner critic makes you feel worthless, inadequate, incompetent, unmotivated, or stupid, it can lower self-esteem and prevent you from taking the actions that you need to take to improve your life and the lives of others. You may not be aware that your inner critic makes you think and say these things, but you believe them. And when you believe something bad enough, it becomes reality, which may lead to negative outcomes like putting yourself down or continually sabotaging your efforts to succeed.
Low self-esteem includes a distorted version of your own reality. It’s possible that you don’t feel good about your abilities and opportunities. Your low self-image and unhealthy view of yourself could mean that you perceive yourself to be less than what you really are. This may lead to negative behaviors like procrastination, inability to concentrate, chronic irritability, and unrealistic expectations about your ability to do something.
Low self-esteem may also cause you to make inappropriate choices, which may lead to bad outcomes. For instance, if you choose to buy things that you know you shouldn’t buy based on your own internal voice, you might spend too much money or get ripped off. Or, if you choose to purchase a product that your inner voice criticizes, you may have unrealistic expectations about the product or experience a lack of benefits. A distorted version of your inner voice is the main reason why you have low self esteem.
It’s important to recognize the difference between healthy self-image and the negative self-image. Healthy self-image is rooted in real knowledge of your strengths and weaknesses, your gifts and talents, and your true potential. Positive self-image is based on the capacity to change, adapt, and grow. It takes work to improve your inner voice and develop positive behaviors, but having a healthy self-image is worth the effort. People who have healthy self-image are more confident, happier, healthier, and more well-rounded. As you work on changing your negative behaviors and making positive changes to your inner voice, your self-image will gradually improve.
How do you know if you have a healthy self-image? You’ll know if you’re self-confident (and to a certain extent, arrogant), if you accept compliments with a smile, and if you have faith in your talents and potential. If you can say “Yes” to yourself at every question without dismissing the answer as insignificant or trivial, you are self-confident. When you can confidently say, “Yes,” to your own inner voice, you have high self esteem.