You can’t see it, but it’s there when you look into the mirror. What is it? Answer: Your self-esteem!
What is self-esteem?
In simple words, self-esteem refers to your opinion of self. High self-esteem means you hold yourself in high regard, whereas low self-esteem means you do not have a good opinion about yourself and can be the cause of depression and a host of other problems.
Therefore, self-esteem refers to how much you value yourself and how important you think you are. It’s a measure of how you see yourself and how you feel about your life and your achievements.
Self-esteem is not about bragging about yourself, it’s actually knowing within, that you are worthy of the best. It is about loving and accepting yourself just the way you are – not about thinking you are perfect (nobody is).
Why is self-esteem important?
Every individual needs to have self-esteem, quite simply because it affects every aspect of one’s life. Having a good self-esteem is essential, because:
- It helps you feel good about yourself and everything you do.
- It translates into belief in yourself, giving you the courage to try new things.
- It allows you to respect and honour yourself, even when you make mistakes. And when you respect yourself, others will respect you too.
- When you have a good self-esteem, you will know that you’re smart enough to make your own decisions.
- When you honour yourself, you will make choices that nourish your mind and body.
- You will value your safety, your feelings and health. Therefore, you will choose to make healthier eating choices, exercising, or taking time off to do something you like (without feeling guilty about not doing something for somebody else).
All this does not mean that a person with good self-esteem discounts others, but that — a person with a good self-esteem values oneself and ensures that his/her feelings or needs are not discounted.
What affects self-esteem?
When you were a baby, you did not worry about how you looked in your diapers, or feel embarrassed when you burped after your meal.
A baby just does not care. It values itself – it howls and cries if it needs something and smiles with its eyes when it is happy. We were all born this way, with a good self-esteem.
So in the initial years, it’s the people around the child – who help him/her develop self-esteem. If they encourage the child, as he/she begins to learn new things – the child feels appreciated and valued.
As time progresses, children have a bigger role in developing self-esteem. Achievements such as getting good grades, or getting a place in the school cricket team – gives the child a sense of pride – helping him/her feel loved and valued.
In addition, other people in the child’s life continue to play a role. How parents, siblings, peers, teachers, grandparents speak of the child also influences the kid’s opinion of him/herself.
Sometimes, one may have a good self-esteem to begin with, but some event in life may put a dent in it along the way.
If you do not have a good self-esteem, then it’s time you worked on having a better image of yourself – thereby improving the overall quality of your life.
Photograph courtesy sxc.hu
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