Having healthy self-esteem and feelings of self-worth are some of the most essential characteristics that you could have. Self-esteem is defined as the way we view our worth or value and it directly impacts our decisions and thought processes. Some studies link low self-esteem to many mental health disorders and low self-esteem may also influence people to abuse drugs to avoid feelings of low self-worth.
Facets of Self-Esteem
Levels of self-esteem have a spectrum of ranges, varying from high levels of self-esteem to low levels depending on the individual. A person’s level of self-esteem may not be automatically obvious, but as we get to know a person, understand their thoughts, and see how they react in certain situations, we can learn how they feel about themselves.
People with low self-esteem exhibit a lack of confidence and feelings of unworthiness. They may seem awkward or appear uncomfortable when interacting with others. They can also be easily influenced by others or act against their own instincts in an attempt to fit in with the crowd or feel “normal.”
People with higher self-esteem exhibit a sense of knowing what they want. They also enjoy healthy relationships and have good interpersonal skills. Unlike people with low self-esteem, they seem more comfortable with change and have an easier time dealing with adverse situations. By these differences, it is easy to see how low self-esteem can lead to issues such as anxiety and depression, as well as substance use disorder.
It’s important to realize that the level of self-esteem someone possesses is also a critical factor. For example, some people with high self-esteem built their self-worth through real accomplishments in their lives. However, there are some instances where the level of self-esteem is disproportionate to the accomplishments and actions. Conversely, people who suffer from a lack of self-esteem may develop mental health and substance abuse disorders and may not even be bothered by their lack of self-worth.
Tips for Rebuilding Your Self-Esteem
Building higher self-esteem is essential when dealing with mental health disorders like depression. The more we can improve our state of mind and self-perceptions, the easier it may be to fight symptoms of depression. Here are five tips for rebuilding your self-esteem:
- Give Credit Where Credit is Due – When dealing with low self-esteem, we are probably our worst critics. We may find faults in everything we do, even if we are making positive strides toward our goals. We must be able to acknowledge our achievements and pat ourselves on the back; the same for accepting compliments from others. We may be more resistant to positive feedback from others when we have a negative view of ourselves. By training ourselves to use simple replies such as, “thank you” or “that’s very kind of you to say,” we can prevent or reflexive responses to respond negatively and as with any habit, the impulse can slowly fade.
- Rewrite Your Narrative – We have an internal narrative based on our image of ourselves and past experiences. If we find the parts in our narrative that present ourselves negatively, we can find out why we feel that way. Once we understand where these facets of our poor self-image stem from, we can rewrite our internal narrative to be positive.
- Stop Comparing Yourself to Others – It’s common for people to compare themselves to others. We tend to do it in our careers, our hobbies, or our looks. For people with low self-esteem, it can be detrimental to compare themselves with others. The temptation to compare ourselves has only increased with the proliferation of social media. We are constantly bombarded by images of other people’s lives, making it easy to fall into a habit of comparing ourselves with them. Constantly doing this leads to stress and anxiety. Start recognizing your successes and affirm your worth by your accomplishments.
- Positive Affirmations – These short expressions of positive self-imagery are quite popular. For people with low self-esteem, it may be hard to give ourselves positive affirmations. We may tend to dwell on our weaknesses or shortcomings, but positive affirmations can help us break the habit of speaking negatively about ourselves. Be sure to be realistic about the message you are telling yourself. Rather than saying, “You will be very successful,” try saying, “I am going to persevere.” These types of affirmations are more realistic and don’t put added pressure on success.
- Build Your Competencies – You can build self-esteem by demonstrating your abilities and achievements in parts of your life you enjoy most. Find what you’re good at and practice it more often. If you like baking, give some of your goodies to friends and family. If you like to go running, be sure you make time in your schedule for regular jobs. There are many ways to demonstrate our abilities and improve self-image and self-esteem. Positive affirmations are important but it is still nice to hear compliments from others in addition to what we say to ourselves.
It can be hard to work on self-esteem when dealing with mental health and substance abuse issues, but improving self-worth is a building block for recovery. Sometimes it can be challenging to identify why we may have poor self-esteem. If you are challenged by a lack of self-worth, there are therapies that can help you improve the way you view and talk to yourself. For instance, Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and psychotherapy are used to help people gain self-esteem. Mindfulness practices and positive affirmations can also be valuable. Avalon Malibu, located on the beautiful southern coast of California, offers many types of therapies that can help you improve your quality of life, self-image, and self-esteem. We can help you learn to appreciate all that is good about you. If you or someone you love suffers from a mental health disorder and needs help managing, please call us today at (844) 857-5992.