7 Ways to Developing Healthy Self-Esteem. Self-esteem is defined as how we feel about ourselves and has to do with how we value ourselves. It has to do with almost all of the choices we make in life.
Dr. Marsha Linehan, psychological researcher from the University of Washington, recommends building a sense of self-confidence, self-control and self-respect through the actions that you take every day. According to Linehan, by choosing behaviors that line up with your values and moral beliefs, and engaging in daily activities that foster a sense of accomplishment, it is possible to raise your self-esteem.
7 Ways to Developing Healthy Self-Esteem. As wonderful as it is to have higher self-esteem, it turns out that improving it is no easy task. Many depressions and anxiety problems stem from self-esteem issues.
Low self esteem is one of the heaviest pieces of emotional baggage that we can carry. Imagine carring a 100 pound baggage on your head from the time you are a child till you die. If you don’t have the confidence to design a life of your choosing you may be living a life that is not truly about you.
If you dislike yourself to the degree you feel unloveable you may be living alone when you would really would prefer a partner. You may not be socializing as you fear ridicule and rejection. You may feel so unworthy that you are chronically angry at the world.
That said, it is certainly possible to improve our self-esteem if we go about it the right way.
Here are 7 things to remember in beginning your journey to Developing Healthy Self-Esteem:
Recognize and respect your own resilience
We cannot control our backgrounds or families or the things that happen as we go through life, but we can control how we come out on the other end. Just having a healthy set of coping skills in place as well as a social support system can help you through tough times. Knowing you are a survivor already helps you to feel better about yourself.
Identify your competencies and develop them
Self-esteem is built by demonstrating real ability and achievement in areas of our lives that matter to us. If you pride yourself on being a good cook, throw more dinner parties. If you’re a good runner, sign up for races and train for them. In short, figure out your core competencies and find opportunities and careers that accentuate them.
See life as a process, not a one-time occurrence
Look at your life as a journey and not a destination. Your journey may have started slowly or unhappily, but luckily you aren’t stuck there forever. You have your future in front of you to control. All you need to do is some extra work to learn the emotional skills necessary.
Learn to accept your mistakes
Making mistakes is part of life and the journey. Mistakes can be corrected. If you suffer from poor self esteem you probably are afraid of making mistakes or you expect to make mistakes and therefore let others decide important things for you.
The problem with that is that they bring their own luggage to your decision making and may be making bigger mistakes with your life than you would ever make! Your life will never feel genuine to you until you call the shots, mistakes and all.
Often people with low self-esteem will dismiss their successes as luck or chance. Or they might focus on not being perfect rather than highlighting how far they have come.
People with high self-esteem take the time to celebrate their accomplishments. They say, “Thank you,” when people compliment them, rather than dismissing their praise. This doesn’t mean that people with high self-esteem are arrogant or narcissistic; they just have faith in their abilities and acknowledge successes when they do happen.
Face the fears
You may live in fear of many things. Decisions, as discussed above are usually a biggie. There is also the fear of being alone, being unloveable, doing things on your own, or just facing life in general.
You may be so afraid that you are completely overwhelmed. It is ok to have fear but you cannot allow it to run your life. We all have some degree of fear and that is healthy. Too much is not healthy. You can be afraid of something but do it anyway.
Ask yourself the right questions
Instead of asking yourself why you are depressed or how you came to be depressed or anxious, or why you are unloveable, ask yourself how you can eliminate these destructive emotions. Learning new emotional skills is what will help you turn the corner.
You deserve a place in the world and the world deserves to hear your true voice, unencumbered by fear and low self-esteem. Allowing dysfunctional thought patterns and behaviors to dictate and negate your life experience will never bring you joy.
Have a feeling of hope that whatever course you are on can be corrected. We are all in this boat of life together and we all have doubts about ourselves at some point.
It’s a matter of not letting the doubts win out. It is about learning emotional tools that allow you to feel as good as the next person.