Mastering Your Own Self-Esteem

Disclaimer: The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

Self-esteem is a complex and dynamic aspect of our mental landscape. It ebbs and flows, influenced by everything from our upbringing to our social environment. At times, it can feel like a rollercoaster ride, with highs and lows that seem to shift from moment to moment. 

However, mastering your self-esteem is not only possible but essential for your overall well-being. 

At times, low self-esteem can be like a shadow, following you everywhere you go, casting doubt and negativity over every aspect of your life. It can chip away at your relationships, hinder your performance at work or school, and even affect your physical health. But here’s the good news: just as self-esteem can be damaged, it can also be nurtured and strengthened

Let’s take a look at some practical steps to help you master your own self-esteem.

Understanding Self-Esteem
Self-esteem revolves around our evaluation of ourselves. It encompasses how much we value ourselves and is often influenced by comparisons with others.

In today’s digital age, where social media can amplify feelings of inadequacy, self-esteem can take a hit with every scroll. And the way we talk to ourselves, known as self-talk, plays a significant role in shaping our self-esteem. In fact, negative self-talk can erode our confidence and hinder our ability to thrive.

Read more about self-esteem from online therapy service BetterHelp.

The Impact of Low Self-Esteem
Low self-esteem can have profound effects on our mental health and overall well-being. Negative self-talk and self-criticism can lead to feelings of inadequacy and contribute to conditions such as depression and anxiety. People with low self-esteem may struggle to navigate challenges and may isolate themselves to protect their fragile sense of worth.

Moreover, external factors such as abusive relationships, unrealistic social standards and unattainable goals can further diminish self-esteem. Recognizing these factors is the first step toward developing strategies to mitigate their impact.

Strategies for Building Self-Esteem
While building self-esteem is a journey that takes a lot of time and effort, there are several practical strategies that can help you cultivate a healthier sense of self-worth. Here are just a few:

Recognize Situations that Influence Self-Esteem
The first step in mastering your self-esteem is to identify the situations that trigger negative feelings. These triggers could range from a challenging work presentation to a personal crisis or even a change in life circumstances like a job loss or a child leaving home. 

Become Aware of Thoughts and Beliefs
Once you’ve pinpointed the situations that impact your self-esteem, it’s time to pay attention to your thoughts and beliefs surrounding them. Are your thoughts mostly positive, negative, or neutral? Do you find yourself stuck in irrational thinking patterns? 

Instead of getting tangled up in negative thoughts, practice stepping back and observing those thoughts from a distance. Recognize that your thoughts are just that – thoughts – and don’t necessarily reflect reality. Also, instead of trying to control or suppress negative thoughts and feelings, try practicing acceptance. Allow yourself to experience these feelings without judgment or resistance. 

Remember, you don’t have to like your feelings; you just have to acknowledge them.

Challenge Negative Thinking
Negative thinking patterns can be insidious, undermining your self-esteem without your even realizing it. Be on the lookout for common cognitive distortions like all-or-nothing thinking, mental filtering and jumping to conclusions. Challenge these thoughts by examining the evidence and considering alternative perspectives.

Acknowledge your strengths: Take time to reflect on your accomplishments and admirable traits. A practice like keeping a gratitude journal can help shift your focus toward the positive aspects of yourself and your life.

Set boundaries: Learn to assertively communicate your needs and establish boundaries in your relationships. Setting boundaries protects your self-esteem by preventing others from taking advantage of you or undermining your worth.

Step outside your comfort zone: Embrace challenges and new opportunities, even if they seem daunting. Successes, no matter how small, can bolster your confidence and demonstrate your resilience.

Surround yourself with positivity: Evaluate people and influences in your life – and distance yourself from negativity. Surrounding yourself with supportive and encouraging people can uplift your spirits and reinforce positive self-talk.

Celebrate your wins: Acknowledge and celebrate your accomplishments, no matter how small. Recognizing your victories fosters a sense of pride and reinforces your belief in your abilities.

Avoid social comparison: Resist the urge to compare yourself to others, especially on social media. Remember that people often present a curated version of their lives online, and your worth is not determined by external validation.

Seek support: Building self-esteem is a journey that may take some support from others. Whether through therapy, coaching or support groups, don’t hesitate to seek help when you need it.

Take Care of Yourself
Finally, remember to prioritize your own self-care. Nurture your physical and emotional well-being by following healthy habits, engaging in activities you enjoy, and surrounding yourself with supportive individuals who uplift you. 

Forgive yourself for past mistakes and practice self-compassion in your journey toward self-improvement. Accepting yourself fully is essential for building a solid foundation of self-esteem.

Mastering your self-esteem is an ongoing process that requires self-awareness, resilience and compassion. By understanding the factors that influence our self-esteem and putting in place practical strategies for improvement, we can cultivate a healthier relationship with ourselves and lead more fulfilling lives. Remember, progress may not always be linear, but every step toward greater self-esteem is a victory worth celebrating. 

You are worthy of love, respect, and happiness—never forget that.

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