My teenage daughter recently discovered that she needed braces. The disappointment on her face spoke volumes as she started protesting, “I already have glasses now I’m going to have BRACES?” Sadly, she has had many moments of self-doubt and damaged self-esteem as she tries to navigate her way through her adolescent years. These days, technology and social media create a platform for skewed personal views and lower self-esteem. We all go through moments where confidence can waiver but what is the true difference between self-confidence and self-esteem?
Self-confidence is feeling confident and assured that we can accomplish a goal whereas self-esteem describes our internal value system – how we feel about ourselves and see our own worth. Think about a professional pianist. Playing the piano well takes great practice, hard work and determination. This person may have a high confidence level in their ability to play the piano but may continuously question their own worthiness, level of attractiveness and second guess their decisions. They simply do not see themselves as a worthy human being. Unfortunately, this is common feeling. It has been suggested that 85% of the population struggles with some degree of low self-esteem.
It’s no secret that low self-esteem can affect various areas of your life such as personal growth, relationships, career satisfaction, and even sleep habits. Where does this come from? This is a tricky question because the truth is our view of self can come from our childhood, difficult transitions in life or day to day failures. Understanding where it comes from is the first step but then what? How can someone build themselves up and have a higher level of self-esteem?
YOU are a priority. This means exercising regularly, eating balanced nutritional meals and getting enough sleep. This may seem impossible in today’s society where everything seems to be of high importance but you can’t help others do a good job at work or be a pleasurable companion if you aren’t taking care of yourself first. Self care also includes doing activities you find relaxing – read a book, plant a garden, go for a walk or watch a funny movie. You need to take time to recharge so you can be your best self.
Push yourself out of your comfort zone. Maybe that means doing a new yoga class or pursuing a new interest. Start off with a small challenge and continue to increase these challenges as they become successes. These triumphs will start to make you feel good and you may also meet new friends along the way, which also helps us improve self-esteem. The possibilities for building self-esteem are endless; sometimes we just need a few ideas to get started.
No More Negatives
Negative self-talk can be very defeating so these thoughts need to be transformed into positive outcomes. This can be tough to do and may seem awkward at first but don’t give up. Negative situations can have a silver lining. Think about the last time you experienced something negative and what you learned. Maybe you coped well in a difficult situation or learned something valuable. At the end of the day, you can be encouraged by knowing you are making positive efforts towards growth.
Surrounding yourself with positive people can be very contagious. Interacting with positive, helpful people can breed more positivity therefore adding a bigger boost to your self-esteem. Socializing by volunteering, school, work or even saying “hello” to someone in the line at the grocery store can uplift your spirits. Most importantly, being able to confide in a trusting friend who can lend support will help you pull through some of life’s inevitable challenges.
Low self-esteem can affect many aspects of a person’s life. You don’t have to go through it alone. Contact Family Therapy Associates to schedule your appointment today. Our therapists can help you find clarity and design a collaborative plan to work toward improving your self-esteem.