When you feel beautiful and strong inside, it shows on the outside.
Today we are going on a journey to discover the secrets of our inner strength – our self-esteem. Enjoy the journey with us 🙂
What is our self-esteem?
Self-esteem is one of the basic needs of man, which has an enormous influence on one’s life and without which it would not be possible to develop in a normal and healthy way. Self-esteem is, in other words, an evaluation of ourselves, which is expressed through the relationship we have with ourselves. It is important for a person to show a positive image of oneself, to respect oneself and to treat oneself and others equally. A more joyful and satisfying life is possible thanks to recognizing oneself, being aware of oneself and one’s own value.
Living in society means that we meet with different opinions about us, both good and bad. Every opinion is a somebody else’s subjective reality with which we can agree or disagree. We do not need to identify with it either. The only thing we should remember is to be able to respect them (opinions) and the people who express them. Above all, however, do your best to treat yourself well.
The truth is that the people you meet on your way will treat you in the same way as you treat yourself.
Self-esteem is often used interchangeably with terms such as self-evaluation, self-acceptance or self-image. Self-esteem is the best studied component of our own value.
In the system of human values there is nothing more important, more determining its psychological and motivational development than the respect we have for ourselves.
Self-esteem is also trust in one’s own skills and way of thinking, dealing with the challenges that life brings us. Belief in our right to happiness. It is also a feeling that you are a valuable person, deserving of love, entitled to fulfill your own needs and dreams and to derive satisfaction from the effects of your efforts.
The value of every human being should be infinite, constant and not affected by external values. No one has to prove his or her value, because we all share that value as human beings. Since value exists in every human being, we only need to see, respect and accept it.
You’ve been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t work. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.
[Louise L. Hay]
Any situation that gives the opportunity to increase your self-esteem is important and attractive. The level of self-esteem is most strongly influenced in childhood. That is why the positive influence of parents and loved ones is so important in the child’s development. For every child, the experience of being important is one of the most important experiences of the whole childhood.
It is also a set of judgments and opinions, which we refer to ourselves. These opinions and judgements may concern the current physical or mental properties of each of us, as well as potential opportunities.
We often evaluate ourselves from two points of view:
- meeting our own needs,
- meeting the expectations of the people around us.
We are social beings, the opinions of others affect us to various degrees, sometimes too much. To appreciate ourselves, we must learn to differentiate between who we are and who others think we are. A clear awareness of what we want and what others want for us can help us in this.
Someone’s opinion about you does not have to become your reality.
We do not all assess ourselves in the same way, both in terms of the level and stability of our judgments, and that is why we can speak of different types of self-assessment. Depending on the degree of approval or disapproval of other people and ourselves, self-esteem can be defined as: high, low or healthy.
Key self-esteem, that is the adequate one
When we have a healthy sense of self-esteem, we set ourselves adequate goals – which, if we manage to achieve, increase our self-esteem. The higher it is, the better we deal with problems and adversities, the faster we are able to pick up the pieces after a failure, we have more energy to start setting new goals.
People with healthy self-esteem also think that they are just human beings. They can easily see their defects and imperfections. Nevertheless, in their hearts they constantly feel the joy over who they are. They are like a good friend to themselves who knows, likes and accepts us, no matter what. They see in us the virtues, and the potential that coexist with our imperfections.
Treating oneself and others on an equal terms is another feature of a person with healthy self-esteem.
When a child knows that they are valuable, they experience peace and satisfaction. This results in their increased motivation to work. They want to express their exceptional character and begin to act creatively.
You yourself, as much as nobody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.
A few words about… factors influencing the degree of self-esteem
The most important factors affecting the development of an adequate self-esteem can include:
- Aware life, i.e. the ability to see one’s thoughts, feelings and actions. It is also the ability to separate facts from interpretations.
- Self-acceptance, in other words, acceptance of reality, without denying or negating it. Acceptance does not mean agreeing to something or loving everything. It is seeing and understanding certain things. Self-acceptance is getting to know yourself with your strengths and weaknesses.
- Self-responsibility is another factor shaping self-esteem. It is connected with responsibility for yourself, your actions and emotions. Taking responsibility for onerself means that the quality of our lives depends on us. It is us who plan, make choices and initiate personal relationships. It is also choosing life principles and living in harmony with them.
- The fourth factor is assertiveness, which means awareness and respect for your own rights and the ability to enforce them without neglecting the thoughts, feelings and rights of other people. It is the skill of setting borders without having to fight for them. In other words, it is about being yourself – authentic and true. An assertive attitude makes it easier to refuse without feeling guilty, especially when something is not in line with our values or beliefs.
- A purposeful life is the fifth factor that helps to turn dreams, thoughts and plans into reality. It is an intentional, targeted and conscious activity, not dependent on external stimuli. It is important to be aware of your desires, dreams and the goal you want to achieve.
- Another element is personal integrity. When a person has coherent ideals, values, beliefs with their behaviour and acting – they feel inner peace. It is also about keeping promises, meeting obligations and acting honestly and kindly towards other people.
Authenticity is a collection of choices that we have to make every day. It’s about a choice to show up and be real. The choice to be honest. The choice to let our true selves be seen.
- Our looks, physique, fitness, type of nerves, body functioning are also factors which influence our life as elements of “beautiful and healthy body” culture. The ability to accept yourself, together with your imperfections, is the next step towards achieving a healthy sense of self-esteem.
- Living under the influence of persistent strong stress is a life of constant insecurity. The power and duration of stimuli influence shape the image of ourselves. Under the influence of long-term stress, a person is not able to perform the tasks entrusted to them at their optimum level. They cannot enjoy life or what they have.
- Opinions and social assessments – let’s go back to opinions and assessments for a moment. They are among the most important factors shaping our personality. The most important sources are the opinions and assessments of our parents, peers and teachers (for children) and superiors (for adults). Each of these sources may contribute to the development of a healthy self-esteem or reduce it through negative impacts.
- Another of the most important factors determining the process of forming a healthy self-esteem is comparing yourself with other people, who are often our personal role models. Role models are e.g. the ones taken from other people and the imaginary picture containing all the features of an ideal personality. We may adopt role models from other people by way of, for example: direct contacts with them and observation of their behaviour, or through the mass media, etc. Everyone can also create their own role model by borrowing qualities from different people who are particularly pleasing to us and in line with our values. They serve as a moral paradigm according to which we can strive to form ourselves, to evaluate our own and others’ actions, and at the same time they can become a reference for certain life situations and desires.
- One of the last factors shaping our self-esteem is the family and upbringing environment in which we grew up. These environments are essential for the proper formation of each person’s self-esteem. You will learn more about this factor in the next edition of our blog. Of course, from the point of view of us, parents – what can we do to make our children aware of their self-esteem 🙂
Too many people overvalue what they are not and undervalue what they are.
[Malcolm S. Forbes]
Check the upcoming edition of our blog next week. It will be more practical – how to help our children feel happy with themselves, or how to build their self-esteem.