What do you feel when you look at yourself in the mirror? Is it a feeling of satisfaction and acceptance? Or is it a feeling of judgment and self-criticism?
In psychology, the term self-esteem is used to describe a person's overall subjective sense of personal worth or value. In other words, self-esteem may be defined as how much you appreciate and like yourself .
Some other indications that you may have a problem with low self esteem are:
You say negative things to yourself such as "I'm fat or ugly or stupid."
You usually defer to others; " whatever you want, I don't care..."
Pessimistic attitude "It will never work out", or "I can't change for the better"
You are overly critical of yourself
Even though you have lots of good qualities, you tend to ignore, or overlook them
You see yourself as inferior to others
Here Are 10 Ways to Create a Healthier View of Yourself
Be aware of your thoughts - The battle for self esteem is waged in your own mind. Most of the time, we are not even aware of the things we say to ourselves. We would shudder to overhear the dirt we fling at ourselves directed towards another person. Take a moment to listen to your self talk. Becoming aware is the first step on the continuum of change.
Make an effort to engage in excellent self care - Nourish your body with healthy food, work at keeping your body in shape through exercise, get enough rest and relaxation, and try to look your best. Taking care of your mind and body sends the message to your brain that you are worthy of esteem.
Look at Yourself Through the Eyes of a Friend/Co-worker/Family Member - As mentioned above, if you have low self esteem you tend to see yourself as inferior to others, whereas the people around you may actually admire and look up to you. Learn to accept compliments at face value - This is closely related to the previous point. It is difficult to gracefully acknowledge a sincere compliment when your opinion of yourself is very low. Next time you receive a compliment, accept it with a simple thank you rather than trying to minimize or neutralize it with a negative response.
Do something fun and enjoyable - When your opinion of yourself is low, you may not feel you deserve to have fun or enjoy yourself. Closely related to good self care as mentioned earlier, doing something you enjoy helps you to relax and feel better about yourself. Try watching a comedy program and engage in some healthy laughter.
Do something kind to help someone else - Reaching out to others and offering kindness has been shown to benefit the giver as much as the recipient. The act of giving your time, gifts or energy to a person in need has very positive effects on your own self worth.
Stop comparing yourself to others - We can always find someone who seems to "have it all together", especially when we spend time scrolling through social media. Everyone presents themselves at their peak moments, looking like they just stepped out of a beauty parlor. It is helpful to remember that everybody has their issues and problems; they are just not revealing them to anyone.
Avoid perfectionism - Placing an unachievable standard of perfectionism on ourselves is a trap for negative self talk and low self esteems. Nobody is perfect. It's great to have high standards, but when you are constantly falling short of your mark, you cannot help but feel self-critical. "Good enough" is the antidote to perfect. Loosen up. See mistakes as a stepping stone to growth and learning.
Cultivate self compassion - Developing a softhearted and empathic view of ourselves could well be the most important strategy of all. Kristin Neff is the guru for teaching self compassion. Learn to treat yourself with gentle kindness, just like you would treat a young child or trusting pet. Remember, you are doing the best that you can.
Learn assertiveness skills - Assertiveness involves saying what you mean and speaking up for what you believe in. Being assertive shows that you respect yourself enough to set boundaries that protect yourself while not shutting others out.
One of the best resources I've seen on the topic of developing better self esteem is Nathanial Branden's book, The 6 Pillars of Self Esteem. An excellent you tube video summarizes the book for you.
By developing a healthier image of yourself, you will reap the benefits of improved relationships, greater success in life and most importantly, a deeper sense of happiness and self satisfaction.