What is Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem answers the question; ‘’How do I feel about who I am?’’
The way we view and feel about ourselves has a profound effect on how we live our lives. Self-esteem is learned throughout our lives from our family, the friendships that we make, our experiences at school, the workplace and from wider society. Two very small words that effect the way we think, live our lives and impact on our happiness. Self-esteem is not fixed in place but changes throughout our lives as a result of our personal circumstances and our life experiences.
How is your self -esteem right now?
If you have high self -esteem you will view yourself in a good light. Having high self -esteem enables you to ‘bounce back’ from difficult times in your life and significant life events such as loss.
If you have low self -esteem your view of yourself is very negative. Your focus will be on your weaknesses and the mistakes you have made in your life.
Self -esteem is an opinion not a fact. It is your beliefs about yourself that determine whether you have high or low self-esteem. It is really important to recognise that these are only opinions, not facts. They can be inaccurate and there are things you can do to change them. Change is not easy but you can help yourself by being realistic and seeing each small success as a step in the right direction.
What is the link between self- esteem and mental health?
If you have low self -esteem it will affect your mental health. When you have negative beliefs about yourself it lowers your ability to cope with stresses; you have less resilience than someone with high self -esteem. You are therefore at a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as depression and eating disorders.
How can I build my self-esteem?
The charity Mind say that if you want to increase your self- esteem you need to challenge and change the beliefs you have about your value as a person.
Does this seem like an impossible task? There are lots of ways that you can do this and remember that small changes do add up. Looking after yourself physically like eating regularly and healthfully is a good place to start. Getting some exercise and plenty of sleep as well as just simply paying more attention to your personal appearance can help. Why not try smiling at yourself in the mirror every-day?
What about just having some fun? How do you like to enjoy yourself? Perhaps learn something new or arrange to be in situations where you can laugh and enjoy yourself. Join in with others rather than isolating yourself; you are important! Spend time concentrating on experiences that are rewarding and make you feel good and avoid the people and situations in your life that make you feel worse about yourself.
Taking the responsibility to make these changes is daunting but it can be done. If you just can’t get started why not talk it through with someone you can trust like a family member or a good friend. There are ten great top tips you will find on the Mind website to help keep you going.
Seeking professional help is also a very good option if you are experiencing mental health issues because of your self-esteem. Here at Manchester Institute for Psychotherapy we have experienced counsellors and therapists who can help you with dealing with the stress and anxiety in your life. Our emphasis is on friendliness and providing a safe and warm environment. You can phone the Institute on: 0161-862-9456 to book your initial assessment or contact us via email.