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Building Self-Esteem and Self-Worth: A Journey to Personal Empowerment

Written byDesiree Smith

Self-esteem and self-worth shape how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Whether you realize it or not, these factors affect many aspects of your daily life, from the decisions you make to the people you interact with.

Building self-esteem is essential in the pursuit of overall well-being. Not only will a healthy dose of self-esteem help you love yourself better, but it will help you love those around you better, too. From embracing imperfections to accepting challenges, there are countless ways to elevate your self-esteem so you can live your life to the fullest.

Understanding Self-Esteem and Its Importance

Self-esteem is the term used to describe how we perceive ourselves and determine our self-worth. It includes our confidence in our abilities and can influence our motivation, mental well-being, and quality of life. It also affects our decision-making and relationships.

Since it determines how we see ourselves in relation to those around us, self-esteem plays a significant role in our daily lives. It affects our perception of our strengths, impacting our willingness to try new things and make decisions. It also affects our attitude toward ourselves. The level of kindness you extend toward yourself is directly related to your self-esteem. Ultimately, the worse you view yourself, the worse you will treat yourself, and the worse your mental health will be. Fortunately, the converse is true — the more favorably you view yourself, the better your mental health can be. 

When we know our self-worth, our lives are better for it. Having positive self-worth means you view yourself as worthy of having your needs met by yourself and others. You can solve problems confidently and know the outcome does not determine your value. When you feel comfortable in your value no matter how things turn out, you’ll be more decisive. And when you feel confident in your worth, you feel comfortable with your limitations and can set realistic expectations for yourself. Positive self-worth means you love yourself well, which positively impacts your relationships with others.

Low vs. High Self-Esteem

A healthy level of self-esteem is key to our overall health and wellness. Self-esteem that’s too high or too low can be problematic. 

People with overly high self-esteem overestimate their skills and feel entitled to succeed, even if their abilities don’t align with their belief in themselves. They may see themselves as perfect, which hinders self-improvement and self-reflection. Overly high self-esteem can keep you from admitting when you’re wrong, which makes it difficult to maintain healthy relationships.

If your self-esteem is too high, you’ll likely lack empathy and dismiss the feelings of others. You might feel entitled to special treatment or privileges. Criticism of any kind is seen as a threat to your image of perfection and can evoke defensive or aggressive reactions.

Low self-esteem, on the other hand, results in a lack of confidence in your abilities. Without self-confidence, you’ll avoid challenging yourself, which will only reinforce your fears and worries. Your belief that you’re not enough will result in self-criticism, which can cause feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, shame, or guilt.

Persistent low self-esteem can lead to mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. It negatively affects your quality of life, which can cause feelings of hopelessness. Motivation goes out the window, and you only see the negative side of situations. You focus on your weaknesses and ignore your strengths, but you won’t recognize this as a problem because your beliefs about yourself are deeply ingrained.

Ultimately, the problem isn’t low self-esteem; it’s not having a healthy amount of self-esteem. When your self-esteem is too high or low, your actual abilities and worth don’t align with reality. With the ideal amount of self-esteem, you’ll feel confident enough to try new things while maintaining a realistic view of your limits.

How To Build Self-Esteem

Low self-esteem can and should be addressed before it leads to other problems. Your mental health hangs in the balance, so recognizing your feelings of low self-worth and taking steps to change your perception of yourself is essential. 

Start by being kind to yourself. From positive self-talk to doing something you enjoy, take time to care for yourself. You have the power to be your greatest critic or champion, so show yourself that you are worthy. You should also avoid comparing yourself to others and focus on the fact that you are unique and have your own special talents and abilities. 

Part of loving yourself well is recognizing the positives about yourself. Celebrate your success, and don’t be afraid to accept compliments. As weird as it may feel, list things you like about yourself. This list will be a helpful reminder when you’re tempted to doubt your self-worth. And if you feel comfortable, ask others close to you what they like about you. While your worth isn’t found in others’ opinions of you, those who love and know you best will be happy to tell you why they think you’re so great.

Accepting challenges can be difficult if you’re suffering from low or high self-esteem. To reach a healthy level of self-esteem, set challenges for yourself, whether that be volunteering or learning something new. Rather than seeing challenges as tests of your worth, embrace them. They can help you connect with your humanity and increase your sense of value.

If you’ve been battling low self-esteem for a while, it may be time to reach out for help. Having the right support can help you distinguish between reality and perception, which is critical to building and maintaining healthy self-esteem. At iTrust, we have a team of mental health experts who are ready to listen and talk about what you’re going through. Let’s work together to build your self-esteem and promote your mental well-being.

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