Do you suffer from low self-esteem? Low self-esteem (LSE) can affect various facets of a person’s life and relationships. Unfortunately, most people with LSE don’t even realise they are suffering from it. It can affect a person’s well-being in a number of ways
Avoiding social situations: LSE sufferers tend to avoid social situations as they get uncomfortable around people. They do so without even realising why they prefer to avoid social interactions.
Getting defensive: The person might get defensive or passive-aggressive to avoid being criticised or feel bad about themselves.
Hates change: Buying new clothes or making any changes to physical appearance, such as a haircut, can be quite painful for them. They prefer to be plain and blend into the background rather than be in the limelight, even if the change is positive.
Fear of rejection: LSE sufferers fear rejection, which is why they will hold back from venturing ‘out there’. They might not apply to new jobs or ask their crush out as they fear being rejected. Trying things where they might face rejection can be scary for them.
People pleasers: These people can never say ‘no’ to anyone, for fear of isolating that person. They might feel that they are being taken advantage of or people expect too much from them.
Comfort group: People with low self-esteem usually hang out with people whose self-esteem resembles their own. This doesn’t help the person, as they cannot feel good about themselves when they are surrounded by such people.
Tips to increase self-esteem
Make a self-esteem inventory: On a piece of paper draw two columns – one for strengths and one for weaknesses. List ten strengths and ten weaknesses in the columns. The strengths can contain relatively small things or any positive feedback you have received from people, such as you being a good cook or having been a crying shoulder for someone. When you read this list, you will feel much better about yourself. Pat yourself on the back.
Set realistic expectations: When you set a goal for yourself, make sure it is realistic. Setting idealistic goals and not achieving them will only further deplete your self-esteem. Setting realistic goals will also end that cycle of negative thoughts that plague you and stop reinforcing the negative self-esteem.
Quit trying to be a perfectionist: We’re human and all humans err. Quit trying to achieve perfection in things, it’s an illusion. Instead, try to focus on your achievements, however small. List out your achievements; don’t try to negate them by deeming it as a lesser challenge, instead congratulate yourself on it. Make mistakes because mistakes are the best teachers. Learn from your past mistakes and try not to commit them again. Mistakes are made by all; no need to beat yourself up over them.
Explore within yourself: Explore yourself; your inner thoughts, fears and dreams. This exercise is not just about knowing yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, but about opening yourself to new viewpoints, challenges and relationships. Introspect. When you go through an experience that lowers your self-esteem, try a new activity; become the person you always wanted to.
Adjust to the present you: Don’t let your self-esteem be based on an older version of you. If you were a brilliant badminton player, but can’t play that well anymore, it is okay; you have to learn to adjust to it. Maybe you are better at something now and that is what you should evaluate yourself upon. Adjust your self-image and self-esteem based on what you are now, not some past version of yourself.
Stop the comparisons: Don’t compare yourself to other people; the only person you should be comparing yourself to is you. You don’t know what the actual reality of another person’s situation is. These unfair assumptions can hurt your self-esteem.
Importantance of maintaining high self-esteem
• It helps you feel good about yourself and the things you do and makes you worthy of not just your own, but others’ respect too.
• It helps you believe in yourself and builds self-confidence. This gives you the courage to try new things.
• You will never compare yourself to others.
• Self-esteem dictates your thinking, emotions, desires, values, happiness and goals. High self-esteem will let you know you are smart enough to make your own decisions.
• You will approach problems differently and have a sense of direction and control. Make mistakes, learn from them; make correct choices and be proud of them.
• You can easily take up new challenges and handle criticism.
• Instills a strong faith in yourself; makes you realise you are loveable and capable.
• It is an important aspect of personal happiness, achievement of your desires and fulfilling relationships.
• It lets you be in control of your life and do what you want. It is your source of happiness and mental health.