How do you know if you have healthy self-esteem?
You can quickly tell whether or not you have good self-esteem by paying attention to the choices you make. If you are confident in your worth and value, you will choose relationships with people who treat you kindly. You will choose jobs that appreciate what you contribute. You will make choices for your body that enhance your wellbeing. You will be a good steward of the money and wealth you acquire. You will be able to accomplish your goals and acquire new skills as you progress through life.
If you have low self-esteem and do not feel confident about your abilities or who you are as a person, you will choose relationships where you are not valued or treated with respect. You will stay at jobs where you are not appreciated. You will make unhealthy choices for your body and wellbeing. You will make poor decisions with your money and assets. And you will sabotage your goals, so you do not feel you are progressing in life.
Having self-esteem is important because it influences the choices you make throughout your life, as well as impacts the way you think, feel and process your world.
Fortunately, our self -esteem is malleable. As a child, self- esteem is influenced by how we are treated by parents, care takers and peers. If we grew up with abuse or neglect, or in a home where we did not feel loved, accepted or valued then our self-esteem will be negatively impacted. It is important to note that low self- esteem can make us vulnerable to mental disorders such as depression, anxiety, mood disorders and substance use disorders.
When I counsel clients who are diagnosed with depression, anxiety, mood disorders or substance use disorders, I give them skills to build healthy self-esteem. As their self-esteem increases their symptoms of depression, anxiety, mood swings and substance use decrease significantly. Here are some of the self-esteem building skills that work.
- Saying daily positive affirmations such as, “I love and value who I am.”
- Taking good care of yourself every day, by getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, hydrating and having good hygiene.
- Not criticizing yourself or allowing others to criticize or devalue you.
- Making a list of ten things you like about yourself and reading it every day.
- Accepting your imperfections as part of being human.
- Forgiving yourself when you make mistakes.
- Encouraging yourself with challenges and difficulties.
- Being gentle with yourself when you are grieving a loss.
- Rewarding yourself as you meet realistic goals.
No matter where your self-esteem is today, it can always be repaired or enhanced by practicing the skills listed above. You are valuable and your life matters! So make choices that reflect your inherent worth.
Written by Elisabeth Davies, MC
Counselor and author of
Good Things Emotional Healing Journal for Addiction
Good Things Emotional Healing Journal for Couples