It is easy to overlook the importance of high self-esteem. Positive self-esteem can make the difference between feeling happy about yourself and feeling bad.
You’ve probably heard the advice to believe and value yourself, be your cheerleader, and to love yourself first before you can love others. What does this really mean in real-life? A happy, successful life is dependent on having high self-esteem.
How do you determine if your self-esteem levels are high enough? We’ll be discussing self-esteem, its importance, and ways to increase it.
We will also discuss the negative effects of low self-esteem. This includes the difference between being down on oneself and actually having poor self esteem.
What Is Self-Esteem?
It is important to know what self-esteem actually means in order to have self-esteem that is high. First, esteem is a feeling of admiration and respect.
Self-esteem refers to self-respect and admiration. According to the American Psychological Association, self-esteem is defined as “the extent to which one perceives positive qualities and characteristics in one’s self-concept.”
Self-esteem refers to not only liking yourself, but also giving yourself love, respect, dignity, and value. Positive self-esteem is also about believing in yourself (your ability to learn, achieve and contribute to the world). 2 This means that you believe your thoughts, feelings and opinions are valuable.
Self-esteem, in other words, is what you feel about yourself. It includes how you view yourself and how you relate with others. It also affects how others see, value, and treat you. As a result, those who are in abusive situations and have suffered trauma as children (especially as children) are more likely than others to experience low self-esteem in the future.
The only thing that can affect self-esteem is a set of thoughts or a single thing. Instead, self-esteem refers to how you see yourself and what you think others see of you.
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Every person will place a different emphasis on areas that affect self-esteem. For example you may be more concerned about your appearance, your relationship status, talents, and professional achievements (or lack thereof) when it comes to forming your self image and how you feel about this.
Self-Esteem vs. Depression
Also, low self-esteem does not necessarily mean depression. Low self-esteem can be a risk factor for depression, even though they overlap (more details below).
Depression refers to a mental condition that affects the mind, body and soul. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. 4
Keep in mind that your self-esteem can be affected by many factors. Some of these are within your control while others are out of your control.
What matters most is how you choose to focus from these many factors, and how much compassion and grace you show yourself for the things that you are less excited about.
Your self-esteem, whether you realize it, is what you see of yourself and the parts you focus on. As the famous naturalist philosopher Henry David Thoreau said, “The question not what you look at is what you see.”
A high self-esteem is a positive attitude that holds you in positive regard. However, this doesn’t mean that you should love all aspects of yourself or believe you are perfect. It’s not a good idea to have high self-esteem. However, you may be self-critical or find parts of yourself less appealing or happier than others.
Depending on the circumstances, high self-esteem may fluctuate.
If you are self-confident, the positive thoughts you have about yourself will outweigh any negatives. And the good news is that you don’t have to discount your worth as an individual.
High self-esteem, in essence, is a mindset that allows you to celebrate your strengths and challenge your weaknesses and feels good about yourself. You can put your daily ups and downs into perspective by having high self-esteem.
A high self-esteem helps you see the bigger picture and allows you to be flexible. A strong self-esteem allows you to see beyond yourself and feels confident about your place in the world.
It is interesting to note that having high self-esteem doesn’t always correlate with what you objectively believe should be associated with feeling good about oneself.
Some research has shown that physical attraction does not correlate with high self-esteem. One study found that teens who are more attractive than their peers scored lower in self-esteem ratings. The person who appears to have everything–great job and romantic partner, beautiful body, etc.–may not be seeing it that way.