Self-esteem is a very important subject of discourse in the life of every individual. it is something that defines the path and well being of an individual. While, the lack of it comes with grave consequences and frustrations, in unimaginable ways. To build self-esteem in adults , the entirety of the individual has to be taken into cognizance. This is such that the core of individual essence is accounted for.
For us to do justice to this topic, we need to explore first, the definition of self esteem. While we gradually move on to understudy the importance of self esteem, the various types of self esteem, and provide the necessary insights you need to understand thoroughly how to improve self-esteem.
Definition of self esteem in simple words
Self-esteem, which is also known as self worth, is a culmination of the measure of a person’s sense of value, dignity and sense of self. These three elements are the summation of a person’s self worth.
For an adult self-esteem to be intact, he or she must be one who respects, accepts, and upholds their individuality. ‘Individuality’, as it relates to self-worth, is pertinent in the sense that without it, we cannot discuss self-esteem. This is because it addresses the ‘self’ and not the other person.
People often confuse a healthy self-esteem with pride. This claim is exhibited often as a way to express anxiety over another person’s stable sense of self. This is such that when you find yourself around such person, you feel intimidated and often confuse their strong sense of self, with arrogance.
When a person respects their sense of value and dignity, he or she is always able to understand their personal boundaries, and as such, is able to respect that of others. Violating other people’s personal boundaries is an indication of a lack of a healthy self-esteem.
Understanding personal boundaries is also one of the importance of self esteem. I have decided to put up this definition using simple words, because it gives you an added understanding on how to improve self-esteem.
That said, let’s dive into it.
Importance of self esteem
The importance of self esteem manifests in every form of relationship a person is involved in.
- It is relevant in your relationship with yourself and with other people. Your belief and acceptance of your individuality, without having to relegate yourself in other to please people, will save you a lot of frustration.
- It preserves your emotional well being.
- It helps you ward off manipulations and all forms of unhealthy practices.
- It fosters healthy decision making- in both your interest and that of others- which in turn, fosters a healthy communal living.
- It is a determinant of your trajectory and progress in life.
The importance of self esteem cannot be over-emphasized. One cannot imagine a life in its all-encompassing honor without self esteem.
Types of self esteem
There are majorly two types of self esteem:
High self esteem is one of the types of self esteem, which describes a state of awareness, that reflects the peak of a person’s sense of value, self, and dignity. This is such that he or she is able to conduct themselves in a dignifying manner in the interest of their dignity and self.
Example of a high self-esteem
A typical example that comes to mind is confidence.
Confidence is that sweet spot between arrogance and despair. Little wonder people who exhibit this level of self-awareness are often confused to be arrogant.
This is not to say that pride does not exist. It is simply highlighting that if you do not understand the motivation for an action, you will automatically assign it a meaning using your own perception. This is naturally how human beings operate. Your perception is often a revelation of your reality (belief).
Low self esteem
This is one that reflects a poor and damaged self-image. With this type of self-esteem, the person is unable to place value on himself or herself. They see themselves as worthless and use others as suppliers for their end. Thereby, conducting themselves in disparaging and demeaning manner.
Examples of low self-esteem
Bullying is a typical example of low self esteem. An involuntary act a person employs to ward off a perceived threat. This is often carried out either by demeaning or intimidating the other person. The person unconsciously views himself or herself as a prey, therefore, they create a situation to scare or put down their perceived threat.
Manipulation is also an act used to control the other person. This is such that you can be able to relieve yourself of the anxiety of your low self esteem. Unfortunately, this act does not solve the problem; instead, it makes you addictive to controlling other people in other to survive any situation. As such, other people become suppliers of your worth.
Paradoxically, you lose your freedom as well, because you are always at the edge of your seat. Constantly reliving the fear of rejection or disregard.
This is also another example of a low self esteem. This reflects a person’s inability to accept their individuality. Hence, they are on a constant furor of staging personae, in order to keep people in their lives. This is often at the expense of their physical, emotional and mental well being.
The consequence is a constant frustration. It is, because no matter what you do, you never feel enough. Therefore, you believe your constant ‘emptying’ of yourself into other people, will bring you acceptance. Unfortunately, this is not so.
The types of self esteem as highlighted brings to the fore, the benefits and the consequences of the lack thereof. This brings us to the meat of the discussion.
How To Improve Self-esteem
For any structure to exist, adequate attention is given to the foundation. As this is what determines the health and durability of the structure. In this construct, it is the same when you want to build and fix your self-esteem. As an adult living with a questionable self-esteem, you need to look to the foundation. And apply steps that are necessary for a healthy and harmonious life.
The following are steps you can take to build a healthy self-esteem in adults.
1. Avoid Positive Self-affirmation
I know this is unexpected. However, I have decided to make it a priority for a reason. Many people fall into the bruxism and illusion of engaging in positive self-affirmation in the guise to fix self-esteem. This can only lead to frustration and blur you off the real track of fixing what is worth fixing.
Positive self-affirmation offers you a soothing temporary relief. Moreover, in the interest of a long-term progress, it is not your friend. You need to stay away from it, no matter how tempting it is. Engaging in positive self-affirmation is like bathing or washing the leaves of a plant in order to keep it from dying.
2. Accept Your Individuality
For a person who has lived their whole lives with a low self esteem; wearing masks at intervals in order to gain acceptance. This step might seem difficult, but it is very doable. As a person, understand that your wants and interests are always valid. And that they do not always align with that of others. That is the hallmark of your individuality.
Your likes, dislikes, preferences, and sense of value, are different from the other person. While you understand this, it is also necessary to understand that it is okay to have these dissimilarities with other people. It is perfectly natural. As an individual, you do not have to share interests with another person and that is perfectly okay too.
When you understand the relevance of your dissimilarities, you can then function in the way you uniquely can, which will then foster self-growth and empowerment. As an adult with the relevant information that you seek. Avoid comparing yourself with another. It is a slippery slope. Learn to grow with the person that you have– yourself.
3. Own Your Feelings
Contrary to what you have learnt and practiced your whole life, your feeling is always good. A tool that informs you of your needs. Your feelings directly represent you because they reflect your need. Consequently, ignoring or dismissing them translates to you ignoring yourself.
When you ignore something, because you believe it is unacceptable, you learn to dissociate from it. This is how you come to dissociate from, and relegate yourself. You cannot relegate and hate your feelings and come to have a genuine like for yourself. That is beyond the bounds of possibility.
This is why when you own your feelings, you own and accept yourself. And this is a major thing you need to build your self-esteem. Your feelings are always laudable and good; no matter what they are. It is an instrument used to inform you of your need. Once you solve the need it highlights, the feeling leaves.
When you place premium on your feelings, it means you are able to listen to your needs and solve them. Because you will then understand that your needs matter to the extent that your validity is.
4. Give Up Your Manipulations
When you live with a damaged or low self esteem, you often engage in manipulating others for your selfish ends. This highlights in your attempt to have others please you or you pleasing other people.
Giving up your manipulations might be a long route to walk, but it is expedient in the end. When you are neck-deep in manipulating other people, you are unable to see how it affects you as much. It is like tying yourself to a stake and still wanting to move about freely. Obviously, to move freely, you will need to untie yourself first.
That is the same step that you need to take when it comes to fixing your self-esteem as an adult. Remember, as an adult, your life belongs to you, and no one can do for you what you can do for yourself. Adulthood is synonymous to responsibility. It is your call to be responsible for yourself. You have the capacity; use it.
5. Accept Your Limitations
Your limitation is not a sign of alienation; it is a sign of universality. Something you share in common with other members of the human race. Every human being that exists has limitations. They are not exclusive to you. Mistakes are not for your condemnation or destruction. Instead, it is an intriguing path to growth.
When you make mistakes, it is a sign that you are limited in knowledge relating to your mistakes. This limitation then stretches you to seek the necessary knowledge, in order to grow in that area. Your perception on mistakes will change when you see them as adventures. Otherwise, you will be unable to learn anything new that can transform your actions.
When you see your limitations as inadequacy, you confuse them with inherent defectiveness. And this prevents you from improving where necessary. Having a limitation is a universal thing. Accept it in order to improve on it. This is an intriguing step on how to improve self-esteem.
This self-esteem article focuses on a simple but thorough definition of self esteem, the various types of self esteem and its examples. We also looked at the importance of self esteem, and carefully curated tips on how to improve self-esteem. Every step holds a gem. Study it carefully.
Your self-esteem is a determinant of your life trajectory. Building it will mean, building your life. And the lack of it thereof, is detrimental. Your self-esteem is your life. Take it seriously.
How has your self-esteem shaped your life? What steps have you been practicing? We would love to hear from you. Share with us in the comment section.