Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself. It’s an overall evaluation of your worth as a person.
Even if you don’t consciously put this self-assessment into words, your self-esteem is reflected in your behavior and interactions with others.
People with healthy self-esteem feel good about themselves most of the time. They can be honest about their strengths and weaknesses and accept themselves for who they are. They don’t base their worth on others’ opinions and can weather the ups and downs of life without being too shaken.
What is a Low Self-Esteem?
Low self-esteem is when you have an overall negative evaluation of yourself.
If you have low self-esteem, you may find it harder to:
- Make and keep friends
- Express yourself creatively
- Assert yourself
- Set boundaries
- Handle criticism
- Resolve conflicts
- Take risks
- Achieve your goals
People with low self-esteem may see themselves as unworthy, unlovable, and incompetent. They may feel that they’re not as good as others and don’t deserve the good things in life.
Low self-esteem may be due to past experiences, such as bullying or rejection. It may also result from negative messages received from parents or other important people in your life.
Low self-esteem is also closely associated with stress, anxiety, and depression.
Questions To Ask Yourself
To get a better sense of whether your self-esteem is too low, ask yourself the questions such as:
- Do you put yourself down often?
- Do you compare yourself unfavorably to others?
- Do you feel you don’t deserve good things in life?
- Do you have a hard time accepting compliments?
- Do you find it hard to assert yourself?
- Do you frequently worry that others think negatively of you?
- Do you have a difficult time saying “no” to people?
If you answered “yes” to many of these types of questions, likely, your self-esteem is not at a healthy level.
How To Raise Your Self-Esteem
If you think your self-esteem could use a boost, there are things you can do to improve your opinion of yourself.
One of the most impactful things you can do is to surround yourself with positive people. Spend more time with friends and family members who make you feel good about yourself and avoid those who bring you down.
Exercise and physical activity can also help raise your self-esteem. It will help you get into better shape and improve your overall health and strengthen your sense of self-efficacy.
Self-efficacy refers to your belief in your ability to accomplish tasks and reach goals. Your self-efficacy and self-esteem will suffer if you are constantly overwhelmed by excessively challenging tasks. On the other hand, if you routinely practice a skill or activity that you can get better at—something challenging enough to provide a growing sense of accomplishment but not so challenging that it’s frustrating—you can increase your self-efficacy and, as a result, your self-esteem.
Counseling or therapy can also help raise self-esteem. A therapist can provide support and guidance as you work to change the negative thoughts and beliefs that keep you from seeing yourself in a more positive light.