A healthy self-esteem can be good for your relationships and your overall well-being, and you can do a lot to improve your perception of yourself and your abilities.

How do you feel about yourself? What do you think of your qualities, your characteristics and your identity? If you have a positive perception of yourself, you can say that you have high self-esteem. Simply put, self-esteem refers to how you feel about yourself.

Self-esteem differs from self-confidence and self-esteem.

Self-esteem: It describes the lasting perception you have of your qualities, abilities and characteristics.

Self-Confidence: This is the belief in your own abilities or knowing that you have the skills to perform a particular task or situation.

Self-worth: This is your perception of your own worth and usefulness as a person. Generally speaking, a high personal value means that you consider yourself a person of value, worthy of respect, love and belonging.

Feeling less confident in certain circumstances does not automatically affect your self-esteem. For example, you may not be very confident when you start painting lessons, but you are still sure to learn quickly. After all, you’ve done well in all the art classes you’ve taken before, and you know you’re pretty good at art in general. When someone cruelly insults your art, you may feel comfortable setting boundaries with them and brushing off their comment, because your self-esteem tells you that you deserve respect. However, a lack of self-esteem can affect both your confidence in your abilities and your sense of self-worth.

The good news ? If you don’t have high self-esteem, you can take effective steps to cultivate it.

The benefits of good self-esteem

Positive self-esteem can be integral to a sense of well-being and good mental health.

Indeed, there is evidence linking high self-esteem to better mental health outcomes and overall quality of life. According to 2022 research looking at the various benefits of self-esteem, higher self-esteem can lead to improvements in the following:

– Social connections: Improved self-esteem can encourage you to seek relationships with people who value you as much as you value yourself, which can lead to greater satisfaction in your relationships. Additionally, high self-esteem can also make you better able to deal with rejection in your relationships.

– Academic performance: The natural consequence of good self-esteem is that you feel more motivated and more engaged, which can encourage you to invest in your studies and do your homework.

– Performance at work: High self-esteem can improve your relationships with your colleagues and encourage you to persevere in the face of challenges, which will allow you to be more satisfied with your work and to be more successful.

– Mental health: Better self-esteem can reduce the risk of suffering from mental disorders like depression or anxiety, in part because you are less likely to ruminate. This habit of staring at the same dark, unwanted, or upsetting thoughts can contribute to anxiety and depression.

– Physical health: High self-esteem can indirectly improve your physical health, as it often translates into strong and supportive social ties. That said, the study authors stress the need for further research.

– Antisocial behaviors: Good self-esteem can also reduce the risk of antisocial behaviors, such as bullying, violence or manipulation. People with low self-esteem may be more likely to use aggressive tactics to gain attention or social power, the study authors say, but stress the need for more research.

How to cultivate self-esteem

Childhood experiences: love and care, rules and expectations, rewards and praise, shape self-esteem in adulthood.

If you have low self-esteem, you are more likely to:

– doubt yourself
– have a negative talk about yourself
– comparing yourself to others and finding that you are not up to scratch
– have tendencies to please people and seek the approval of others
– find it difficult to set boundaries with others
– you experience difficulties in your interpersonal relationships.

But there are steps you can take to heal and help your self-esteem flourish. The following tips can help you:

1. Pay attention to how you see yourself

Self-esteem is related to the perception you have of yourself. So it can be helpful to think about how you feel about yourself. A deeper exploration of your self-perception can help you begin to build your self-esteem. For starters, you can take some time for deep reflection or journaling to dig deeper into this question. By delving into your beliefs about yourself, you can learn more about who you are and where your self-esteem needs a little attention. Maybe you feel extremely good when you succeed at work and extremely bad when you fail. From there, you may wonder why your perception of yourself depends on your job performance. What beliefs about work have you held over the years? Does the evidence back them up?

2. Build healthy relationships

Relationships, especially family relationships, play a major role in the development of self-esteem. Once you’re an adult, the people around you can either reinforce low self-esteem or help improve it. Making positive connections, with new people or people you already know, can go a long way in boosting your self-esteem. Improved self-esteem, in turn, can help you nurture those relationships.

Wondering what makes a relationship healthy? Generally:

you feel comfortable discussing your thoughts and feelings
you offer each other emotional support
handle conflict with kindness and respect

3. Practice a positive dialogue with yourself

Paying attention to how you talk to yourself can also make a difference. To check your personal speech, you can ask yourself if you use words that value you or devalue you. Would you feel comfortable if someone spoke to your best friend like you speak to yourself? Negative self-talk can distort your self-image, which can impact your mental health and your relationships with others.

To curb negative self-talk, you can:

Notice when this happens and name the thought: For example, “I suck because I messed up my presentation at work” or “That dinner was a total failure.” Why did I bother? I can’t do anything right.”

Challenge this thought with logic: For example, “Everyone makes mistakes – that doesn’t mean I’m a bad worker. Presentation may not be my strong point, but I have many other skills. Or: “I was a bit ambitious with my kitchen plans, but I can probably salvage that.” And if not, we can always laugh about it and order a pizza. »

Repeat: when the thought comes back, respond with the same logic.

Also pay attention to the importance of treating yourself with kindness, which may include acknowledging and noting one’s strengths and accomplishments. This is not about praising yourself excessively and with false enthusiasm, but simply about noting, in a journal or a free writing exercise, for example, what you are really good at.

4. Cultivate a growth mindset

If you have a fixed mindset, you may be reluctant to try new things. You may prefer to play it safe by sticking to what you know how to do, because you think trying and failing would mean you are a failure yourself. But when you have a growth mindset, you realize you can grow and learn, and you can feel more ready to take on new challenges. In short, when you focus on growth, you are looking to learn and do your best. This mindset can also help you avoid internalizing your mistakes or using them to reinforce negative self-perceptions. On the contrary, you are more than likely to develop your resilience and feel more comfortable with new experiences.

5. Therapy

Connecting with a mental health professional can have many benefits when it comes to improving self-esteem.

A therapist can help you

identify specific beliefs that fuel poor self-esteem
recognize and break patterns of negative self-talk
explore childhood experiences that shaped your self-esteem
identify the signs of healthy relationships

The bottom of the problem

Everyone questions their confidence and abilities from time to time, but if you generally feel good about yourself and your abilities, you probably have high self-esteem. If you constantly doubt yourself or find it hard to name one of your strengths or positive traits, you may have low self-esteem.
There are many things you can do to change these perceptions and cultivate higher self-esteem, which can make a difference in your overall well-being and your relationships – with others and with yourself.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.