How Self-esteem Affects Your Life | Build Healthy Self-esteem
Do you ever wonder how self-esteem affects your life?
From your morning smiles to your good night sleep, self-esteem affects you. From your first day at college to your first day at work, self-esteem affects your life. You take a run to the nearby store, or you hit the gym there’s self-esteem, always at play.
What is Self-esteem?
In laymen terms, self-esteem is the way a person feels about their personality. It determines how individuals perform and behave within a given physical and/or emotional space.
According to psychologists and mental health professionals, self-esteem is the critical determinant of a healthy personality. It is a learned and mostly subconscious belief system.
In a nutshell, self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. It shows how we value ourselves and has an overarching presence in our lives.
Most importantly, when we have healthy and high self-esteem, we have a positive attitude about ourselves and life in general. We feel motivated to do things and feel able to tackle life challenges better.
On the other hand, low self-esteem makes us see ourselves and life negatively. We become too critical and have a difficult time befriending our inner critic to excel in life.
Self-esteem in Children
Children rely on the external feedback from their primary circle of parents, teachers, peers and caregivers as they build their self-esteem and self-worth.
Childhood is when we develop our belief systems and schemas about how the world works and what is right and wrong and our role in it.
The big picture of enabling self-esteem in our children is about finding ways to improve the following areas of their lives:
Supporting children in building meaningful relationships with diverse people to feel a sense of belonging.
Guiding our children to embrace learning and gradually develop mastery with tasks. The child realises he/she/they can accomplish many things if they persevere (but not everything). And that failure is often a necessary stepping stone to doing something well.
Encourage them to make decisions that reflect their personal values. That allows them to learn that their actions have consequences, which gives them a sense of empowerment (essential for self-worth).
A person’s childhood significantly affects and shapes a person’s self-esteem. Moreover, parents, (childhood) friends, and teachers all substantially impact an individual’s self-esteem.
Although self-esteem is usually talked about in the context of childhood, adults also need to keep a constant check-in with their self-esteem.
Self-esteem in Adults
Self-esteem is one of the best predictors of adult happiness, success, positive relationships and wellbeing.
In adults, self-esteem will depend on whether they consider living life according to their own values, whether they have or are accomplishing the important things in life and how valuable they feel towards others.
In early adulthood, self-esteem depends on the person’s perception of whether they can accomplish what is meaningful for them in life. Later adulthood SE relies on how the person feels they have achieved important things.
Mid-life crisis often occurs as the consequence of the person realising they hadn’t achieved what they wanted or when completed, it didn’t bring them the fulfilment they anticipated.
Pillars of Building Healthy and High Self-esteem
We saw how self-esteem affects our lives and our behaviours and capabilities to deal with life’s situations. Now let’s discover the pillars that’ll help you build strong self-esteem and worth.
According to Nathaniel Branden, an American psychologist, famous for his work clarifying how we build healthy self -esteem. He explains there are six pillars we need to practice to attain high self-worth:
- To live consciously: being aware of our behaviours, thoughts, words, feelings and intentions. Most important is that we are honest with ourselves in that awareness.
- Self-acceptance: being friendly and compassionate with ourselves.
- Self-responsibility: accepting that we chose what we say and do and accepting the consequences.
- Assertiveness: respecting our own needs, desires and values and not deviating from them to please or for fear of others.
- Living purposefully: to have goals and aspirations that motivate us and with which we engage in our lives.
- Integrity: cultivating coherence between our behaviour and our values, between what we believe, what we say and what we do.
Also, to help you understand how self-esteem affects our lives, here’s a small encounter from my life!
I was walking by the boulevard
And the mirrors huge and large
They tricked into peeking, I stopped for a while, gazed at my smile
God, I look happy!
And slowly scanned down
I flipped through my flaws
The happy smile now struggling to remain
Quaint on my lips, as if I saw a stranger
Glad that I was still fighting
But one had to lose
Who would it be?
The news is that good wins over, always
But this time it was difficult
I could feel the social stigmas against my skin
Crawling all over me
Drawing-out lines of what was good flesh and what was not
One had to win
Who would it be?
I was still there, fighting,
Million thoughts in one-millionth of a second
I was about to give up that a memory appeared
My mother had said in the morning that I look happy!
We all have bad days when we don’t feel confident and don’t feel good about ourselves. If this is a short-term issue, it’s okay and natural. Low self-esteem affects your life if it becomes a long-term problem. It can hamper your ability to feel happy. It can badly affect your day-to-day functioning and emotional space.
If you feel you or someone you know and care about needs to build their self-esteem, consult a therapist and start today. You must not miss a wonderful day on account of low self-esteem. You can do it. Take your power back and trust me on this because I have had my share of experience and I can vouch that asking for help helps.