Self-esteem: How to Get it and Keep it

Have you ever had family, friends or teachers say unpleasant things to you? Have you failed at something you have tried to accomplish, or felt as if you canít do anything right? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, please know that you are not alone. Everyone, at some point in his/her life, has encountered one or more of these situations. When a situation like this occurs, it may influence the development of your self-esteem. Self-esteem can be defined as the way we feel about and value ourselves. We all have some form of self-esteem, whether it is positive or negative, high or low.

Positive or high self-esteem helps us accomplish our goals and assists us in coping with life’s challenges. If you have positive self-esteem, you have confidence in your abilities; you are not afraid to try new things. What others say or think about you does not easily affect you; you are well aware that other peopleís opinions are not always right. If you have high self-esteem, you realize that life is not always fair and that you may make many mistakes trying to fulfill goals you have set for yourself, learning from your mistakes. You feel successful and good about yourself.

Negative or low self-esteem may make it more difficult for some people to feel successful in school, at work, and in relationships. If you suffer from negative self-esteem, you generally do not feel good about yourself or your abilities. You may feel that you are a bad person and may not have many friends. You may be likely to accept other people’s opinions without questioning their validity. It may be difficult for you to attain the goals you have set, resulting in an increased sense of failure. You may have a constant feeling that nothing that you do is right.

Developing self-esteem is a life-long process; it begins in childhood and evolves through adulthood. There are many people in your life that may contribute to the development of your self-esteem, such as: family, friends, teachers, co-workers, and acquaintances. These people are sending you messages and opinions (some are good and some are bad) but the decision to accept them or not is yours. Self-esteem is also formed through your successes and failures. Here too, you have a choice of how to react; you can accept failure and try harder next time or dwell on the fact that a mistake was made and give up.

Developing self-esteem is a continual process. Fortunately, there are ways you can increase your self-esteem. Starting with the thinking process, you must think positively, especially when trying to attain personal goals. When setting a goal, it is important for you to set goals that are high but still attainable. It is important that you understand that no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes. To increase your self-esteem, you must accept the mistake, learn from it, and strive harder in the future. Success in achieving a goal is a fabulous feat that should be rewarded; take the time to do something you really enjoy. Finally, it is important to remember that people will have their own opinions and ideas about you which may or may not always be true. Evaluate othersí opinions and choose whether to reject or accept them. The power is held within you.

Self-esteem comes from within ourselves. Each of us holds the power to increase our self-esteem. Positive self-esteem is attainable. When achieved, it will allow you to feel good about yourself and have a high quality of life filled with successful relationships.

Written by Karen Guthrie.