Self-Esteem: Soul Searching


Self-Esteem is Significant

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Self-esteem.  What does it mean to you?  The way you feel about yourself?  The beliefs you hold to be true about yourself?  Are you trying to foster higher self-esteem in yourself or notice that others could benefit from doing the same?  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 regardless of the circumstances.

There are many components that foster whether or not we have high versus low self-esteem.

Throughout life, there are instances in which beliefs about ourselves may vary. This might be dependent upon the environment around us. If we notice having friends that inspire us, family members who lift us up versus colleagues who focus on negativity, this all impacts how we feel about ourselves. It is also significant to make sure that we are promoting positivity within ourselves and not relying solely on others.

According to Psychology Today, feelings of high or low self-worth often start in childhood. If you have grown up in an environment that showed consistent levels of judgment and not being accepted, it might be more difficult to find strengths in yourself. Low self-esteem might also become problematic because of a poor school environment or a dysfunctional workplace. Likewise, an unhappy relationship can also alter a person’s self-worth.

Low self-esteem has the potential to lead to a variety of mental health disorders, including anxiety and depression. You may also find it difficult to pursue your goals and maintain healthy relationships. Having low self-esteem can seriously impact your quality of life.

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Healthy Self-Esteem

There are some simple ways to tell if you have healthy self-esteem.

Do you…

  • Focus on the moment and not past negative experiences?
  • Believe you are equal to everyone else, no better and no worse?
  •  Assert yourself and express your needs? If that means saying no, are you assertive?
  • Feel confident in yourself?
  • See your overall strengths and weaknesses and accept them?

Having healthy self-esteem can help motivate you to reach your goals, because you are able to navigate life knowing that you are capable of accomplishing what you set your mind to. 

How to Improve Self-Esteem

Stop comparing yourself to others. 

When we compare ourselves to others, we are focusing on judgments. Judgments lead to the rising of emotions and logical thoughts tend to become skewed. Instead, focus on factual information. What is one thing that you find encompassing about yourself that does not have to do with physical appearance? What is a strength you possess?  

Notice and challenge unhelpful and negative thoughts.

Be more aware of automatic thoughts. Automatic thoughts are initial thoughts that pop into your mind automatically. For example, you look at yourself in the mirror and a thought appears. “I do not like the way this shirt looks on me.” Already, our minds are focused on the negative. This is an unhelpful, negative thought. Instead of focusing on the negative, how about noticing how the way your hair falls on your face looks. “I like the length of my hair.”

Spend time with others that create positive energy for you.

If we are constantly surrounded by negative energy, chances are, we will feel that within our mind, body, and soul. Who in your life gives off neutral or positive thinking and energy? Try to surround yourself with these forces.

If you find yourself struggling with self-defeating thoughts, a licensed therapist or counselor can help empower you to be your best self!

Erica Marriaga is a proud fur-mama of her two rescue dogs, Toby and Tucker. She loves to spend time with her husband and bond with her family, nieces, and nephews. Erica is passionate and enthusiastic about her role as a therapist. 

EWC has locations in Manalapan and Shrewsbury, NJ, and accepts a variety of insurances.

Check out Erica’s professional bio here!

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