What Do We Mean by Self-Esteem?

Reviewed on 2/5/2021

The first step towards achieving a goal is knowing that you can do it.
The first step towards achieving a goal is knowing that you can do it.

The first step towards achieving a goal is knowing that you can do it. Self-esteem, also known as self-respect or self-worth, means being confident and satisfied with oneself. Healthy self-esteem is what makes a person feel good about themselves and live positively. Their self-belief helps them take various tasks with confidence and achieve success in life. People with healthy self-esteem are proud of what they do. They do not compare themselves negatively with others. However, low self-esteem or a lack of self-esteem makes a person doubt their worth. They tend to be under-achievers because they think they are not good enough for a particular task or person. They constantly feel bad about themselves and may even be unnecessarily strict or harsh towards themselves. Thus, it is crucial to inculcate healthy self-esteem in oneself for living happily and fully unfolding one’s capabilities. Often, self-esteem issues may stem from a troubled childhood and unhealthy coping mechanism that people develop as a response.

What are the different types of self-esteem?

There are mainly three types of self-esteem:

  1. High self-esteem: People with high self-esteem feel good about themselves and what they do. They know their worth and are happy about it. High self-esteem makes a person look after their health and wellbeing. They stay calm and do not indulge in unnecessary arguments or petty quarrels. They neither compare themselves with others nor do they look down on other people. They are not arrogant rather they are confident in their abilities.
  2. Low self-esteem: Low esteem means that the person does not trust their abilities. They have a feeling of self-doubt and worthlessness. They compare themselves with others and believe that they are of less value than others. They are often preoccupied with insecurities. They have a fear of failure preventing them from taking on challenging tasks. They are often easily influenced by other people’s opinions. They may have brief moments of heightened self-worth, but they return to a state of low self-esteem on facing challenges or difficulties.
  3. Inflated self-esteem: An inflated self-esteem means an exaggerated sense of confidence in oneself associated with the belief that others are inferior or unworthy. A person with inflated self-esteem underestimates other people. They think that their views and capabilities are far superior to anyone else. They tend to force their ideas on others and are difficult to work with. They do not listen to other people’s ideas and are difficult to convince. Their inflated self-esteem makes them lose friends and relations because they are overly critical of others.

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How can I raise my self-esteem?

If you think that you have low self-esteem, you can follow these tips to enhance it:

  • Read motivating literature: You can rise above self-doubt by reading about people who achieved great things in life despite all the odds against them. Read a page or two of motivational books, poetry, or quotes every day. You may write a motivational quote in your diary every day and read it several times a day to remind yourself that you can do it.
  • Keep good company: Be with people who build you up and encourage you. Be with people who let you be yourself.
  • Accept yourself the way you are: Every person has flaws. Some flaws may be visible or tangible whereas others may be concealed. Accept your shortcomings and work on overcoming them without being harsh to yourself. Leave what cannot be changed and work hard to be an improved version of yourself each day.
  • Do not compare yourself with others: You are unique and special just the way you are. Comparing yourself to others is a kind of insult to your versatility. In this age of social media and influencers, people showcase the best versions of themselves online. You do not know what hardships or failures they may be going through. You do not even know whether what they show is fake or real. Be content with yourself and strive to improve without making comparisons with others.
  • Spend time on self-care: Time invested in oneself gives the best returns. Focus on staying fit by regular physical activity and a healthy diet. Maintain good personal hygiene. Follow your hobbies and passions.
  • Assign goals to yourself: Make short-term and long-term goals. Know what you want to make yourself better or achieve in life. Be it learning a new skill or language or getting physically fit. Plan and manage your routine to achieve your goals.
  • Be helpful: Helping others makes one feel good about themselves. Share your knowledge and skills with others. Be kind to people and yourself.
  • Focus on the good things in life: No success is final, and no failure is fatal. Focus on the things that go well. You will always find something to be thankful for. No matter how bad a day goes, you will always get another chance. A bad day or incident does not mean a bad life.

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References
Teens Health. How Can I Improve My Self-Esteem? The Nemours Foundation. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/self-esteem.html

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