What is self-esteem? Anne Dickinson wrote: “Self esteem stems from a strong, rooted sense of self worth, which survives both failure and success: it survives mistakes, disappointment and most of all self esteem survives acceptance and rejection from others”.
Low self-esteem can be debilitating when it keeps individuals from realizing their full potential and realising their ambitions. A person with low self-esteem may not verbalise their feeling, but they may feel unworthy, less able and even incompetent.
Here are some signs of low self-esteem:
• Being Negative about issues
• Fear of failing and an over perfectionist attitude
• Mistrusting others – even those who are genuinely concerned
• Having a blaming attitude- unable to to move beyond blame to reflect on behaviour
• Fear of taking risks, doing new things, taking challenges
• Feelings of being unloved and unlovable, despite evidence to the contrary, overvaluing other people’s opinion
• Dependence – letting others make decisions, being pulled and pushed in all direction
• Fear of being ridiculed or looking silly
To develop good self-esteem think about how you can do so through consciousness, responsibility, learning and integrity instead of seeking it through popularity, prestige, material acquisitions. Value personal authenticity, compassion and empathy instead of physical appearance,think independently instead of blind loyalty to a particular group or system. The key to self-esteem is becoming aware of one’s personal strengths and
accepting oneself as a worthy person despite all your weaknesses that may exist. It is important to realise that you are are far more likely to judge yourself harsher than you judge others.
Low self-esteem is partly self-imposed, regardless of the origin or causes of it. A person maintains his or her own low self-esteem by misperceiving his or her basic worth relative to others. This is because when you are feeling low or have had a disappointment the harsher you are going to criticize yourself and the worse you will feel and the lower your self-esteem will be.
Think of yourself as a butterfly held gently in loving palms. Are you going to squash the butterfly or let it free to explore the world in the way it wants to? Once you have released the butterfly, think about how you can focus on something larger than the self, greater than what is within your palms, think about issues that of importance to the whole of humanity- peace, love, understanding, equality, compassion, put your sociological lens on and view the world in a different light. This builds self-esteem.