What Is Self Esteem?

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Self-esteem involves a variety of beliefs about the self – one’s own appearance, thoughts, emotions, and behaviors.  But what is self esteem really?

Self-esteem is how you value yourself.

It’s how you perceive your worth as a person in world and the value you believe you bring to others. Self-esteem affects your ability to trust which touches nearly every part of your life, particularly relationships. It also informs how well you cope with adversity.

Why self esteem a big deal

Although low self-esteem is not categorized as a mental health disorder, there are clear links between the way you feel about yourself and your overall mental and emotional well-being.  Low self-esteem is a debilitating.  It keeps individuals from realizing their full amazing potential. A person with low self-esteem feels unworthy, incapable, and incompetent. This can negatively affect mental health, such as:

1. Relationships. Humans are social creatures and crave connection.  It’s those close relationships that help you define your sense of self.  If you don’t feel good about who you are and what you offer as a person, your relationships with others will suffer.

2. Addiction. Psychological studies indicate that low self-esteem in childhood and early adulthood can lead to addiction later in life.  Substances, like drugs and alcohol, provide an escape from negative feelings.  Over time this escape has greater detrimental effects and leads to even lower self-esteem levels.

3. Depression & Anxiety. Low self-esteem tends co-occur with mental health conditions like depression and anxiety.  It’s hard to say which comes first, but the combination is both common and troublesome.  Someone who already lives with a mental illness may find that low self-esteem develops due to the social stigma surrounding mental illness. That stigma can perpetuate the feeling that they’ve failed.

Developing a healthy self esteem is crucial.

The way you see yourself determines the kind of life you believe you deserve.  It makes the difference in the goals you chose (not) to pursue, the relationships you have (or don’t), and even the career/work you do. 

A healthy self esteem correlates with having a happy and fulfilling life.

When you have high self-esteem, you believe you’re a good person.  You’re able to perceive you good qualities and will strive for a happy and successful life. But if you experience low self-esteem, you’ll have negative feelings about yourself, including believing that you’re not worthy of love, happiness, or success. This is a potentially dangerous way to live as research links low self-esteem to mental health issues and poor quality-of-life.

You can improve your self esteem.

Therapy can help you get to the underlying negative thoughts about yourself, and adjust these negative thoughts into more positive ones.  Learning to value and care for your mind and body through a healthy lifestyle that includes a good diet, exercise, and medication are also important.

Connecting with others is key.

Feeling loved and supported (and being able to offer love and support in return) is a another great way to increase self-esteem. If you don’t have any immediate friends or family, consider joining a support group or volunteering. Helping others is a great way to help yourself.

If someone you know struggles with their self esteem, use the social media squares on the left to share this article with them.  And you’re the one struggling with low self esteem, please know that you don’t have to go it alone.  Call (305) 501-0133 or Click here to schedule a free 20-minute Clarity Consult if you want support developing a healthy self esteem.

Envision Wellness is a private practice that offers psychotherapy, psychological testing, and life coaching in Miami, FL.  Our team has a passion for helping others achieve happy, fulfilling, and change-making lives that make the world a better place.  Each therapist has their areas of expertise.  Not sure who you’d like to work with?  Click here to schedule a free 20-minute phone consult to help you decide.

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