February is International Boost Self-Esteem Month. In the midst of pandemics, politics, and personal woes, your self-esteem may not be where you want it to be…That’s why we’re here to answer some important questions about self-esteem. Keep reading to learn what self-esteem is, why it’s important, and how you can increase it.

What is Self-Esteem?

So we hear this word all the time, but what does it actually mean? 

Here are some definitions to get us started.

“A confidence and satisfaction in oneself.” – Merriam Webster

“How much you appreciate and like yourself. It involves a variety of beliefs about yourself, such as the appraisal of your own appearance, beliefs, emotions, and behaviors.” – Verywell Mind

“A precious psychological resource and generally a highly positive factor in life; it is correlated with achievement, good relationships, and satisfaction.” – Psychology Today

Basically, self-esteem is how you feel about yourself; it’s what you believe about your own identity. Self-esteem is the confidence you have in who you are and your ability to succeed. It’s a sense of purpose and an understanding that you have something to contribute to the world.

Why is Self-Esteem important? 

Self-esteem is important because it affects an individual’s quality of life. When a person has high self-esteem, she is more likely to succeed. However, when a person has low self-esteem, it can negatively impact her ability to become self-reliant, to make choices, to meet goals, and to find motivation (Why Self-Esteem, 2020). 

Self-esteem specifically plays a dominant role in the development of children and adolescents. When teenagers have low self-esteem, they are more likely to have problems with substance abuse, self-harm, promiscuity, and other negative practices (Mentors, 2021). Low self-esteem can affect a girl’s performance in school, as well as her perception of her role in the family (Low Self Esteem, n.d.). Furthermore, low self-esteem increases the likelihood of mental health problems such as eating disorders and depression (Silverstone and Salsali, 2003).

How can I boost my self esteem?

Now that we’ve figured out why it matters, we can talk about how to build our self-esteem. Here are some ways to start. 

  1. Recognize the problem – Understanding what lowers our self-esteem and learning to be aware of harmful thoughts is the first step to positive change.
  1. Challenge your negative thoughts – After recognizing our negative thoughts, we can begin to replace them with positive ideas. This will take time, but with repetition, we can develop a habit of constantly finding the good in each situation.
  1. Compliment yourself – Identify all of the great qualities you have, celebrate small successes, and give yourself a pat on the back every now and then.
  1. Be okay with failure – Learning to get back up after mistakes and setbacks is so important when working to increase self-esteem. Acknowledge that failure does not define who you are or what you’re capable of.
  1. Exercise – Exercise boosts endorphins which make us happier! Finding small ways to exercise every day will give you more energy and more confidence.  
  1. Eat healthy – Eating healthy goes hand in hand with exercise. As you take good care of your body, you will feel lighter, more capable, and more focused.
  1. Ask family and friends what they love about you – Sometimes it’s difficult to identify our own talents and abilities. It’s okay to ask for help! Your family and friends may see wonderful qualities in you that you never even knew about.
  1. Surround yourself with people who lift you up – The people around you may be contributing to your low self-esteem. Make sure your friends are people who help you to feel good about yourself and do not attack you or criticize you.
  1. Start a new hobby – Sometimes we need a kick-start to feel more confident. Try something new! Developing a new hobby will help you to explore new abilities and apply current skills. 
  1. Do something that you love – Find something that makes you happy and confident and make time for it! Whether it’s reading a book, spending time outside, or taking a bubble bath, make self-care a priority!

CITATIONS

Cherry, K. (2019, September 30). Why Self-Esteem Is Important for Success. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.verywellmind.com/what-is-self-esteem-2795868

Low Self Esteem: Facts and Stats – Building Self Esteem. (n.d.). Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://sites.google.com/site/buildingselfesteem82/low-self-esteem-facts-and-stats

Mentors: Image & Self Esteem • CADA. (2021). Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://cadasb.org/mentors-image-self-esteem/

Self-esteem. (2021). Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/self-esteem

Self-Esteem. (2021). Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/basics/self-esteem

Silverstone, P. H., & Salsali, M. (2003). Low self-esteem and psychiatric patients: Part I – The relationship between low self-esteem and psychiatric diagnosis [Abstract]. Annals of General Hospital Psychiatry, 2(1), 2. Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC151271/.

Why Self-Esteem is Important and Its Dimensions. (2020). Retrieved January 26, 2021, from https://www.mentalhelp.net/self-esteem/why-its-important/#:~:text=Self-esteem is important because,and explore their full potential.