Self-Esteem: Knowing your worth
So what do you think of yourself? Could you convince another of your value if you tried?
We generally know the value of our home—the value of our cars—the value of all things substantial and important to us. Most of the time we recognize our family and good friends as “priceless”; but do we apply that same value to ourselves? Not usually. Frequently we tend to be our worst critic.
Origins of self-esteem
As infants we begin to realize our value, simply by what is reflected back to us. As children we learn whether we are “good” or “bad” depending on the messages received from primary caregivers, as well as messages from siblings, teachers and other important people in our lives. What’s important is not necessarily the intention of the messages but the interpretation of those messages by a child. And as we may have personally experienced, the intention of the message is not always the same as how it is interpreted, which can seriously impact how we feel about ourselves.
Why do we need self esteem?
First of all, self-esteem does not mean we’re full of ourselves. It means thinking favorably of ourselves, but not more favorably than we think of others. “The higher our self-esteem, the better equipped we are to cope with life’s adversities; the more resilient we are, the more we resist pressure to succumb to despair or defeat” (Nathaniel Branden). Without self-esteem we are more anxious and vulnerable. We are more fearful, feel less safe and secure. “The higher our self-esteem the more likely we are to form nourishing rather than destructive relationships” (Nathaniel Branden). We attract people to be in our company, who are like us. When we treat ourselves with respect, we announce to the world…”THIS IS HOW I WANT TO BE TREATED!”, and that is a powerful statement, indeed.
How to increase our self-esteem:
1) Do esteemed acts; In other words, be of service to others without the intention of being recognized, praised or wishing for a returned favor. Be sure your motives are ‘clean’.
2) Be with others who value your worth. Those who appreciate you for who you are, not just for what you do or for your professional/economic status.
3) Avoid criticizing. Be kind to yourself, which means no name-calling—either to others or to yourself. Philosopher and motivational speaker, Deepak Chopra, states, “Your cells are eavesdropping on your every thought.”
4) Be kind and good to yourself. Be a friend and ask, “Would I allow a friend to talk to me or treat me this way?” Treat your body well.
5) Affirm your positives. This means not just knowing what is good about you, but taking the time to recognize the characteristics that you value.
6) Assert yourself. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Ask for what you need, express your thoughts and feelings. In other words stand up for yourself. If you don’t who will?
“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.”
If you have concerns about or want to improve your self-esteem, call Alegent Health EAP at
(402) 398-5566 or (888) 847-4975. You deserve to feel good about you!