I’ve been been working on some projects around self-esteem for my Psychology Masters, along with some students in my work. It’s something I’ve been passionate about for a while, but it’s got me thinking about the importance of self-esteem, where it comes from, and what we can do to improve it.
Why do we even need self-esteem? Why does it matter? Well it’s proven to be linked to depression and anxiety. We know it can be protective against mental health issues, and it underpins just about everything we do.
We all know how much better we feel in general when we feel good about ourselves. But where is this coming from?
Sometimes we feel good because we’re getting validation from others. We all want and enjoy this, but it can provide a false sense of self-esteem. We think we feel good about ourselves, and we do, but as soon as the external validation or outer accomplishments are removed, our self worth crumbles.
So how do we build our self-esteem up from the inside? How do we develop a true confidence and self-belief, that isn’t dependent on anything outside of us?
This isn’t an overnight fix but we need to remember what’s great about us. We need to remember what we really genuinely like about ourselves. We need to remember how much fun we can have just with ourselves!
We need to think about what we’re good at, and about what we enjoy doing just for the sake of it, rather than for any particular outcome.
We need to appreciate ourselves just the way we are. Our bodies, our personalities, our quirks and qualities.
We need to remember all of the things we value about ourselves and the contribution we make, whether anyone else is there to notice it or not. We need to learn to truly love ourselves, for who we really are. For what we bring to our relationships, our work and how well we look after ourselves.
When we elevate our self-care to the level of realising and remembering just how important we are, to us, we automatically feel better about ourselves. We feel more valuable. When we take the time to stop and appreciate that we really deserve that level of care and attention; so that we can fill ourselves up and have more to offer others, without needing that from them.
When we set boundaries and speak our truth, our self respect and self-esteem improves. When we realise that our standards aren’t high, just reasonable; and what we deserve. When we know that we can meet our own needs, and we remember just how resourceful we really are. When we remember our own strength and resilience.
It can be so easy to doubt ourselves, especially when entering into anything new or challenging. We focus on our perceived flaws, and areas of weakness so much more readily than we do on our strengths.
At these times we need to remember all of our past successes. We need to remember how capable we are. We need to remember that we are all here for a reason.
And we need to follow joy. The more we can follow joy, and what is most personally meaningful to us, the more alive, inspired and like ourselves we’ll feel. The more we’ll remember what makes us unique. The more we’ll remember our passions, and the more grateful we’ll feel to be us, in this body, right here, right now.