We all have a sense of self, an idea of who we are, and an impression of how others see us. This personal assessment of ourselves will influence how popular and lovable we think we are to people around us, and in turn, what value we place on ourselves. This will affect how confident we feel about our personal skills, abilities and how secure we feel in our ability to be loved by others.
Self-esteem is an outward reflection of how much value we place on ourselves that others can see, self-respect, personal pride in one’s achievements, how we dress, self-assurance, self-confidence, self-importance and body language are all directly affected by our level of self-esteem, and this, in turn, affects how we interact with others around us.
Generally, any experience in childhood or adulthood that is hurtful belittling personally disfranchising, such as bullying and any physically, sexually, and verbally abusive situation, will usually affect someone’s self-esteem. Especially if it has come from a person or persons in a position of trust, such as a partner, family or friends, mental health issues like eating disorders, depression, self-harm, sexual issues and problems with anxiety, as well as many others will be related to low levels of self-esteem.
People can have a wide range of reactions to changing self-esteem levels that will impact their beliefs about self. For instance, a person can be confident in their ability to work and be successful. Still, at the same time, they can have real difficulties in other areas, such as dating or not being able to express themselves to their partner or family.
A low level of self-esteem will generally affect a person’s ability to get what they need in life by not saying no to people, limiting their ability to keep their time for their own needs. Having low self-worth or a low opinion of themselves compared to others can lead to them believing that they are unlovable or unworthy of love, and in some cases will actively push people away, they may also sacrifice their needs for another’s benefit, trying to give their life a worthy meaning and fulfilling purpose while sacrificing their own needs.
When beliefs and opinions become facts
Low self-esteem can lead to self-doubt and negative self-talk
If we place a reduced value on ourselves as people, we will usually accept our place in life and not try to better ourselves. People with little self-respect due to a low level of self-esteem will often put up with people or situations that are detrimental to their lives, leading to feelings of helplessness and experiencing higher levels of anxiety and depression.
Changing your self-esteem, can it be done?
People can and do change their misguided beliefs about their sense of personal value, and over time people start to build confidence and gain more self-respect and confidence in their abilities.
Some ideas and activities that can help build self-esteem
Challenging and changing their old negative beliefs with therapy will improve their self-respect and inner confidence and gain a healthier perspective about themselves. People who believe that they do have real value will automatically modify all kinds of personal behaviours. In time, by continuing to discover that they do have something to offer of value, their self-esteem will improve and inevitably start to positively impact their daily lives.
If a person’s level of self-esteem recovers sufficiently, this change will probably end up making the person more disagreeable, augmentative assertive and more confident. They may also change their attitudes and opinions, feel less anxious and stressed, more relaxed about themselves. They will, in all probability, be able to more readily appreciate that they can live life without always sacrificing their personal needs, values and beliefs. This can change how they dress and even change jobs and find new relationships that are not one-sided and more beneficial for them.
How long change will take depends on the person’s ability to change. And the length of time the person has had to cope with the problem, and the ongoing circumstances involved. Some people take years and some only a few weeks or months before seeing some personal change in how they feel.