It is not uncommon to have moments when you might feel less than adequate or not as valuable as other people you interact with. Everyone feels like that sometimes. But when those feelings are persistent, when you continuously feel worthless or inadequate, then you are experiencing low self-esteem.
Low self-esteem can stem from depression, anxiety, stress or other physical and mental health issues. Low self esteem can also be the result of past events or situations when you were treated badly or made to feel less than others. Constant insults or abuse can contribute to feeling badly about who you are. You can even cause self esteem issues for yourself by constant harsh judgments or negative thoughts about your own looks, behaviors or situation.
The people who are important in our lives as we grow and develop are the people who impact our self esteem the most. Those people may be parents, siblings, instructors, or others we looked up to and whose opinions we respected. Negative messages from people you admire can haunt you and cause you to feel worthless, unloved, unlovely, not good enough, and on and on.
Self esteem can be increased or rebuilt but it will require that you have a desire to feel better about youself. If you are suffering from low self esteem, there are some steps that you can take that can yield results over time.
First, begin to identify the negative thoughts and feelings that you have about yourself. Take an honest look at who you are. There may be things you want to change but make sure that what you believe about yourself is not just someone else’s negative opinion. Identify what you like and admire about yourself—things you are proud of like your accomplishments, successes or challenges you have faced. Make a list of those things in a journal or notebook that you can look at from time to time.
Take an inventory of the people in your life. Who gives you support and encouragement and who are those that drain your energy and enthusiasm? You may need to make some hard decisions about the people around you. Understand that someone else’s negativity does not have to become yours. Surround yourself with people who are positive, productive and have their own healthy self esteem. You can do without people in your life who constantly put you down.
Be kind to yourself and treat yourself well. Don’t fall into the habit of putting yourself down. Practice saying thank you when someone pays you a compliment. Make it a habit to compliment yourself at least once a day. Be aware of the times that you speak negatively to and about yourself. Work on becoming aware of the things that you are good at and the strengths that you have. Develop and memorize 3-5 positive self statements about yourself. For example: “I have a good head for numbers” or “I have a great smile.”
Lastly, understand that you are a work in progress. You do not need to be the best at everything nor do you have to be liked by everyone. You do need to believe that you are a valuable person with talents, skills, and positive qualities. Focus on the positive and celebrate who