What is self-esteem? Action solutions to improve self-esteem
Self-Esteem has a complicated and more intangible concept. In compare with self-confidence.
So I think we better mention one of the best resources about self-esteem: six pillars of self-esteem by Nathaniel Brandon.
In his book, he brings several other definitions related to self-esteem but we explain them briefly and go straight to self-esteem which is the real topic of this article.
Nathaniel Brandon in the first page of his book defines self-esteem as mental health and this is indeed the best definition.
I hope this article can give you a good perception about self-esteem and the best ways to improve it.
Some definitions of self-esteem
1- Self-esteem is believing in your abilities and respecting them.
2- Feel that you are valuable.
But now, let me define self-esteem in my way because I believe we have to try to make a better world to live.
Self-esteem: I am capable and valuable, so as all the creatures in the world. We all deserve to try for a better life.
What are the pillars of self-esteem?
Nathaniel Brandon says in his book that there are six pillars including:
1- Living consciously
5- Living purposefully
We all know about overconfidence and it’s practically one of the bad attributes we can have (it may also cause a lack of self-esteem) but what about self-esteem? Is there such a thing as over self-esteem?
As we said before, Nathaniel Brandon defines self-esteem as mental health. The more health we have, the better so it will never come to over health. We don’t need to worry about it as we worry about overconfidence.
How can we understand we have self-esteem?
Self-esteem is an inner compartment. We can’t precisely measure it but most of our behaviors which explain inner attributes.
For example, according to the self-esteem definition, if someone only tries to improve himself and have the courage to dismiss others, it shows that he doesn’t have self-confidence. If someone is always criticizing others when it’s not fair, he doesn’t feel he and others are valuable.
So we can figure out how much self-esteem we have by knowing some outer behaviors of others. In this circle, our behavior is the one which creates self-esteem. Hence, if you improve your self-esteem, you’ll behave better. If you improve your behaviors, you have developed your self-esteem.
These two actions create a powerful circle. If this circle works positively, that would be great and if not, it’s horrible. (I hope you always work positively.)
Why is self-esteem essential?
The fact is that if we think we are not valuable enough, we are an evil that we should be running from. Because people with no self-worth for themselves and others have some misbehavior:
1- They make us feel unworthy.
2- They have wrong standards for decision making.
3- They make us feel terrible.
4- They are not interested in our progress.
Now imagine this person is yourself… it would be catastrophic.
Internal factors or external factors?
The one-million-dollar question about self-esteem is: does self-esteem originate from internal factors or external ones?
The answer is both. Internal factors mean they originated from inside of us and we make them. for example, opinions, perspectives, believes, actions and behaviors. Outside elements are environmental factors which transfer verbally and non-verbally. They are experiences made by parents, teachers, media. So we have to be careful about these two topics.
Why do we have low self-esteem?
It depends on many things. Let me tell you some examples.
1- It’s enough to be humiliated by teachers or others in childhood or see others being humiliated to have low self-esteem and self-worth.
2- If we have grown somewhere that people always criticized and judged us, it lowers our self-esteem.
3- If we feel we are not one of the vital pieces of the world puzzle, we have reduced our self-esteem.
If we want to bring more example, you should be reading this article for four days. It’s not essential to look back and search for its cause. We have to look forward and search for our mental health.
Ways to improve self-esteem
1- Searching for good
It means we have to look for good features in others and tell them. We have to give compliments. By complimenting others, we can improve our self-esteem and we can see others worthy too.
2- Managing criticism
We all know about criticism. We know constructive criticism is a good thing. If we pay more attention, we see that not only the criticism isn’t helpful but it’s damaging too. So I suggest you read “how to criticize.”
When we criticize others so much, it shows we don’t feel self-worthy (we try to feel better about ourselves by criticizing others). Or we don’t think others around us are worthy. Both of them shows low self-esteem. So we have to avoid criticizing more than it’s necessary.
3- manage your judgment
Judging is one of the other behaviors that lowers self-esteem. People who judge and say it out loud suffer the lack of self-esteem.
4- be more self-assertive
Another important skill to improve self-esteem is self-assertion. It means we have to be able to express our abilities. Of course, most people are afraid to do so because they think it might be confused with self-praise. In this case, I have to say that self-assertion is about expressing your abilities enough for others to know you are capable. Self-praise is expressing yourself more.
5- avoid perfectionism
Perfectionism is one of the troubles that overwhelms people. It’s inevitable that we want everything to be complete and perfect, but it can never be true. Perfectionism is one of the reasons for laziness and negligence. Maybe this question occurs to you that why lack of self-esteem and perfectionism are related? People who unintentionally thinks everything must be perfect to be valuable are the opposite of our definition of self-esteem.
6- find the source of your motivation
One of the biggest problem which causes a lack of self-esteem is the fact that we don’t know how to find motivation. We need to search for the factors that will lead us to find our motivation. Those factors are mostly the ones that improve self-esteem.