Self esteem is knowing your worth. We were born with a high self-esteem but every moment of our lives can affect that. Self esteem will stay afloat and high when our surroundings keep us feeling valued, loved, secured and supported. Every time our care takers neglect us, shame us or hurt us, our self-esteem goes down. Every time other people say hurtful words, do hateful acts or disappoints us, our self-esteem is affected. When people we care about the most are overly critical and negative towards us, we recoil with our self-esteem and it can lead to depression, getting into bad relationships, inability to grow or thrive, addiction or suicide.
According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, self-esteem comes from other people and most importantly from within. When we have self-respect and we truly know our own value, we will not settle for less than we deserve. When we have self-worth we advocate for ourselves and we stand for what we believe is right for us. We do not do things that make us uncomfortable to make another person happy. We do things that makes us feel fulfilled.
As a humanistic counselor, I believe we have the desire to be self-actualized, and self actualization is being all that we can be. I believe that we can truly reach our full potential when we believe in ourselves. We need to value ourselves more and believe that we are worth it. It is sometimes easy to fall into the “impostor” syndrome trap but when we sincerely believe in ourselves, we can ignore the naysayers and focus on ourselves and goals in life.
How do we do this?
- We can start with challenging our negatives thoughts
2. Use the cognitive triangle to be more mindful and self-aware
3. Every day challenge yourself to do something that will build up your self-esteem and become more self-confident. For example: talk to a good looking person, give someone a genuine smile, ask for what you want, get out of your comfort zone, go to the movies by yourself, eat at a restaurant by yourself and people watch, go to a stranger and compliment them, do an activity you’ve always wanted to do but nobody can join you, speak-up when something or someone makes you uncomfortable, ask a question, etc.
4. Lastly, practice the 5 second rule by Mel Robbins. When you are having self doubts about doing something, take a deep breath in and count 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 and then do it! Push yourself to be more courageous and confident.