Yes, Self-Esteem Matters — 5 Ways to Boost Yours Today
Surprise: self-esteem matters.
Lately, I’ve been hearing from a lot of people who flat-out deny that self-esteem matters. They shout that success is related to performance, not self-esteem.
They’re right about the relationship between success and performance, of course, but they’re missing the point. And the point is this:
People with high self-esteem tend to be happier.
According to a May 2003 article published by the American Psychological Society:
The link between self-esteem and happiness is strong. People
with high self-esteem are significantly, substantially happier
than other people. They are also less likely to be depressed,
either in general or specifically in response to stressful, traumatic
events. Many studies have confirmed this link.
So does this mean that if you have low self-esteem that you’re doomed to a life of sadness and misery? No, of course not. Research makes it clear that low self-esteem, once formed, is very hard to get rid of, but it’s not an immovable shackle. In other words, low self-esteem is not a terminal illness. Recovery is possible.
Whether you’re suffering from a lifelong case of low self-esteem or a temporary bout of self-doubt, I submit to you these 5 tips to fight your way back into the light:
1. Accept Positive Self-Evaluation: People with low self-esteem tend to ignore their own feelings of accomplishment, looking instead to the outside world to affirm their value. While it’s important to consider the feedback of others, it’s also important to pay attention to your own feelings of success, accomplishment, and satisfaction in a job well done. The next time you feel proud of yourself, embrace and accept that feeling.
2. Accept Positive Feedback: And when you do turn to the outside world (teachers, friends, supervisors, co-workers) for affirmation, as we all must do as a matter of course, make sure you accept the good feedback as quickly as you accept the bad. Positive feedback matters too because it helps us determine when we’re on the right track.
3. Keep Trying: When you hear the little voice of doubt rising up within you, insisting you’ll never succeed, ignore it. For people with moderate or high self-esteem, that little voice can help determine when it’s time to throw in the towel, but for those suffering from low self-esteem, that voice cannot be trusted.
4. Trial and Error Skills Assessment: Once you’ve learned to trust your positive self-evaluations and to be more accepting of positive feedback, you may start to develop a sense of your strengths. What activities make you feel proud? happy? significant? accomplished? Whatever those activities are, make note of them. Uncovering strengths is a powerful esteem booster.
5. Focus: And once you identify your strengths, develop them. A good cook should cook, a good writer write, a good speaker speak. By focusing on your strengths (instead of constantly trying to improve your weaknesses) you can more frequently operate within a competent mode of expression. This doesn’t mean that we should ignore our weak spots or be fearful of new challenges, merely that we tend to be happiest when we’re doing work that pleases us and that we’re good at.
The relationships between self-esteem and several other factors — such as performance, people skills, and natural ability — are supported by some studies, denounced by others; on the other hand, the relationship between self-esteem and happiness cannot be denied.
For a more comprehensive write-up on treating low self-esteem, read 7 Ways to Increase Your Self-Esteem.
Although each case of low self-esteem is unique, most can be improved through positive thought and hard work, so that, at the end of the day, you can rest your head with a deeper understanding of your intrinsic value.
October 16, 2007 Tuesday at 9:33 pm
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