What is self-esteem (and how to change it for a happy life)

we all look at ourselves differently. Some of us are self-confident and perceive ourselves as highly capable, while others may be less self-confident and confident in our abilities. Some people look in the mirror and see positive things while others may see less positive things. All of these interacting factors that make up how we feel make up what is called our self-esteem. Our self-esteem is the personal point of view we take to ourselves which describes characteristics such as intelligence, attractiveness, talents, kindness and many other character traits. In this article, we'll take a deeper look at what self-esteem is and how you can change it for a happy life.

What do I mean by self-esteem?

Simply put, your self-esteem refers to how you see yourself both internally and externally. This idea is expounded on by the "Random House" dictionary, which defines self-esteem as:

"an idea, concept, or mental image of one's self".

So why is self-image important? Well, self-esteem affects how we see ourselves, how we interact with others, and even how we relate to our surroundings. Thus, it has a fairly wide impact on our lives. A positive self-image has the ability and potential to develop our physical, mental, social, emotional and spiritual well-being. On the other hand, negative self-perceptions can decrease our well-being in each of these areas, as well as overall life satisfaction and functioning.

Self-esteem and self-concept

Many people tend to get self-esteem confused with the self-concept. The two terms are very similar, so the confusion is understandable. However, there is an important difference: Self-concept is a much broader term regarding how you see, think, and feel about yourself. Thus, self-esteem is part of what makes up our much broader self-concepts. Self-esteem is strictly our idea of ​​ourselves, not how we think and feel about ourselves.

Self-esteem and self-identity

Again, as with the self-concept, self-esteem of the individual is a broader and more complex concept than self-esteem. The best way to distinguish between these two closely related terms is to say that self-esteem is specific. It refers to various aspects of our conception of ourselves. All these different shots that you feel when you look in the mirror then come together to produce your self-identity.((Positive psychology: What is self-esteem and how can we improve it?)) Our self-awareness is a holistic image of who we think we are, and how we might describe ourselves to other people who are around us.

Examples of self-assessment

Just to make sure we're on the same page, we should run some quick self-assessment examples. As I have already hinted, you can have both positive and negative images. You can even have both types, and they can vary due to different aspects of your self-image. What it often boils down to is that with positive self-esteem, we recognize our assets, qualities, and overall potential. In addition, positive self-esteem allows us to be comfortable and accept our weaknesses, shortcomings and limitations. In contrast, with negative self-image, we tend to place much more heavily on our shortcomings and weaknesses; we have accepted them less, and we distort these shortcomings as well as our failures. So, let's start by running through a few negative self-evaluation examples, and then ourselves towards more positive examples.

Negative examples of self-esteem

Generally, negative self-perception refers to when you have a bad opinion of yourself. For example, people may feel as if they are unattractive, unwanted, unintelligent, or unhappy. Negative self-perception refers to our belief that we are somehow far from the ideal version of ourselves. This usually happens in us negative feelings towards ourselves when we see our reflection in the mirror. This can be problematic, as low self-esteem can lead to illnesses such as depression.

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Positive examples of self-esteem

Now, a positive self-image should be pretty easy for you to imagine. A positive image would just be the opposite examples that I have provided to you above. So looking around as an extremely attractive, intelligent, or happy person will all indicate that you are not embodying positive self-image. Even if somehow, you feel that you are not far from the ideal version of yourself, you don't feel overly negative because you have all these positive feelings about yourself. Simply put, when you look in the mirror at your reflection, you experience positive feelings.

How do we develop self-esteem?

Our view of ourselves is like us in the sense that it is by no means fixed. It adapts and develops as we grow as individuals and through our interactions with others. For example, as we practice certain skills and abilities, and as we learn and grow, we are much more likely to view ourselves as capable and competent people. Our self-esteem is constantly evaluating this kind of information and the views that we hold in relation to ourselves. Another example may be related to our appearance. Imagine that you put on a few pounds over the winter. I'm willing to bet that can negatively impact your self-esteem. By contrast, now imagine being stuck in your regular gym routine and sitting in the best physical shape of your life! This is a good example of our self-perception, most likely changing in a positive way as a result of our commitment. However, it's not just the things we do for ourselves that affect our self-esteem. It can also influence our relationships and relationships with other people. For example, if you regularly interact with people who are supportive and reassuring towards you, then you are much more likely to develop a positive self-image than if you regularly interact with people who are negative and unfavorable. These relationships can reinforce what we see when we look in the mirror, whether we're already completely misrepresented or not.

How to create a positive image

So, now we know that our self-esteem is not fixed, and depends on many different aspects of our lives, let's talk about how we can work on creating a positive image. Like many changes we try to ensure that in our lives there is no quick fix that will work for everyone and help them improve their self-esteem. The first step is always learn to accept and love yourself. You can start by making a list of your good qualities and posting that somewhere you can watch it regularly and remember them. From here, you can identify the things you want to improve by making reasonable and useful goals, and then aim to achieve them. As you develop these strengths, you will provide yourself with a ton of positive affirmations. Focus on good things. Throughout this process, one must refrain from comparing oneself with others. ((Cleveland Clinic: the formation of positive self-perception)) Remember that learning to love yourself is a long process. You are a unique individual with unique strengths and weaknesses. You have come a long way from where you started. Appreciate it and use it to motivate you to go even further! Once you're on this path, you may feel as if you want to invest more in improving your self-esteem. If you are at this stage there are exercises that you can do to boost your self-esteem.

Excises to help you improve your self-esteem

Use these exercises to boost your self-esteem!

1. Make a list of the things you wanted about yourself

This is a simple but effective exercise that you can do. You may find it difficult at first, but as you get into the flow of things, it will become easier and simpler. This list of things you love about yourself may include some of your favorite qualities. Maybe you think you're smart or attractive or funny! It can be expanded also for your qualities. Maybe you want to include some of your favorite personal skills. Some examples might include things like sports or art. Making this list of positive qualities and skills will help you focus more on the positive aspects of your self-image. Learning to focus and appreciate these things more will help you improve your self-esteem.

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2. List the moments of life you are most

This is another great exercise for you to practice to help you focus on the things you have been able to achieve in your life. Sometimes, we forget how amazing we are as individuals. This list will help you remember these things. This list might include things that are as big as winning contests, getting recognized for making great contributions, or achieving a high level of accomplishment that you've worked so hard for a long time. They can also be smaller things like learning to be more social or completing a task. You might also want to consider how you solve problems and obstacles in your life and how your skills allow you to overcome those things. Notice how you worked to achieve your goal against this scourge, and then were rewarded for the fruits of your labor. Just make sure these achievements and proud moments of life remind you what you have to offer this world and what you are capable of doing when you have set your mind to it!

3. Life-gratitude Bank

This is the last exercise I want to share with you. And this is good. You'll see a lot of similar exercises out there now in things like gratitude journals that you reflect on a few things each day that you're grateful for. Basically, in this exercise you will be creating a list again. But this list will be much longer than the last two. So make sure you have some time to complete this exercise. Your goal here is to create a comprehensive and exhaustive list of all the things that you are grateful for in your life right now. Everyone will be able to create a unique list because everyone has different lives and different things they are grateful for. Once you've completed the list, cut each item and place them in a container of some sort. Now, whenever you feel like you need a little self-esteem boost, you can pick up and read one of those things in your life - Appreciation Bank. You can choose how the rules work. Maybe after reading an element from the bank, you will remove it or maybe you prefer to throw it back into the mix. Maybe you want to read one or two things a day. Or maybe you would just reach out and grab one as required. The rules are flexible and it's up to you to create them. This is your bank after all! The thing is, you end up with a pool of gratitude-bites that can help give you a little self-esteem boost the way you want.

Final Thoughts

It's been a pretty long self-assessment talk, so I'm going to wind down. If you only take one main message from this article, this is what I want it to be: Your self-esteem is not permanent. It's a dynamic concept that will change as you grow, develop, and how you view yourself changes. So don't let yourself get stuck living with negative self-image. Now you have the tools to change your look for the better! You owe it to yourself!

More about self-esteem

  • How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life
  • 30 Ways To Practice Self Love And Be Good To Yourself
  • How to Build Self-Respect (Guides to Realize Your Hidden Powers)
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