“The strongest single factor in prosperity consciousness is self-esteem: believing you can do it, believing you deserve it, believing you will get it.” -Jerry Gillies
Self-esteem refers to how you think and feel about yourself. These are thoughts and feelings a person may have, may it be positive, negative, or mixed about one’s self. The more positive these thoughts and feelings are, the higher your self-esteem will be and conversely, the more negative these thoughts and feelings are, the lower your self-esteem will become.
Feeling good about yourself is important as it gives you a sense of control over your life. It can also help make a person feel satisfied in a relationship. With a positive self-identity, a person is able to set realistic expectations for oneself and pursue goals. Having a negative self-perception, on the other hand, results in a distorted view of one’s self, which leads to a further lack of self-confidence, poor performance, and depression.
In recent times, low self-esteem has been one of the most popular and frequently invoked psychological explanations for behavioral and social problems. Taking their cue from social commentators and media opinion leaders, people have been willing to accept that a limited sense of self-worth lies behind just about every social and personal ill from drug abuse and delinquency to poverty and business failures. The result has been a huge market for self-help manuals and educational programs.
People who have low self-esteem rely heavily on their day-to-day performances. The positive external experience and encouragement help them to battle the negative feelings that they have about themselves. These negative feelings very often trouble people with low self-esteem. In some situations, feelings of inadequacy torture those who do not have enough confidence in themselves and about what they can do.
There are many known ways to improve one’s self-esteem. To boost one’s confidence, it may be helpful to practice the following self-improvement techniques and strategies:
Rebutting the inner critic that keeps on sending self-defeating messages;
Practicing the art of self-nurturing; and
Getting much-needed help and support from people who are close to you.
The first and the most important step to increase self-esteem is to tell the inner voice to shut up. The inner voice might say negatively about you. In such a situation, you must praise yourself. Rebutting the inner voice that keeps on criticizing you should be done on a regular basis. However, this step is not enough to develop self-esteem.
The second step that one must initiate on a way to healthy self-esteem is that a person should nurture himself. The most important part of this step is to start treating yourself as a worthwhile person.
Seek out people who make you feel good. Remember that you get to choose your friends so why not choose people who think you’re great?
Moreover, both individual and group counseling can help improve self-esteem and self-confidence. Such therapy might include assertiveness training, communication skills, and learning to recognize and understand one’s own emotional responses in relation to others.
Therapy may also explore early and later experiences that contributed to your low self-esteem. Group therapy is particularly effective that it helps to foster trust and build relationships, and encourages a sense of belonging-components that are important for building self-esteem and self-confidence.