The fear of low self-esteem has fed many well-meaning but misguided efforts in improving self-esteem. After all, many people fear that some acts of violence, like bullying, result from low self-esteem, or from an exploitation of other people’s low opinion of their own worth.
This doesn’t mean, however, that all efforts to improve self-esteem are worthless. With enough effort and support from other people, something as enduring as a person’s conception of their worth as people can be slowly changed and improved. It is important to recognize the process of trying to improve self-esteem is one that will take time and effort, and that any haphazard or half-hearted effort towards that effect can even worsen a person’s self-perception.
It is important to recognize that self-esteem, to begin with, is not the same as self-confidence. While self-confidence is more forward-looking, like a consideration of a person’s ability to do well in a future activity, self-esteem is a person’s long-term opinion of their worth. Integral to good self-esteem is self-love, self-appreciation, and recognition of both one’s flaws and gifts. Low self-esteem can contribute to one’s low levels of confidence.
This means that someone who thinks he or she will be unable to fulfil a particular task does not necessarily have low self-esteem. This is because low self-esteem is a wholly conceived personality and self-perception. There are a couple of symptoms of low self-esteem, not limited to taking one’s self for granted, thinking one does not deserve the love and affection showered on them, having terrible self-image, and imposing impossible standards on one’s self and then punishing one’s self heavily for not meeting them.
To improve self-esteem successfully, recognize that you may need help in the process, and that seeking help is not a sign of failure. In fact, psychiatrists are trained specifically to help move you away from your negative feelings and opinions about yourself. With their help, you will be able to re-evaluate how you view yourself for your daily activities and your social interactions.
Do not succumb to the temptation to eat too little or eat too much because of poor self-image. Recognize that by taking care of yourself, you’ll begin to understand better how you look, and that, your opinion on how you look is the only one that matters. Eat healthier, work out more, and sleep in once in a while.
Work hard, and take credit for the good work that you do. You do not need other people to appreciate the hard work you’ve put in; realize that with or without recognizing other people, you deserve a pat on the back for the work you know you’ve put in.
Put your needs before other people’s needs. This does not mean that you are thinking only of yourself as though you were selfish. Rather, by satisfying your own needs first, you are able to better help other people out. This is because you recognize that you are worth as much trouble as they are, too. This will also help prevent other people from taking advantage of you, because you know that you respect yourself as well.
At the end of the day, improving self-esteem need not be a losing battle. It all begins by recognizing that you can improve your esteem, that you can get help, and that you can make conscious decisions daily to make you realize your own worth as a person.