Our perception of ourselves and the confidence we display form the bedrock of our self-esteem. Particularly during the formative years of adolescence and young adulthood, self-esteem is far from a linear progression. It presents a significant challenge, shaping not only the decisions we make but also our interactions with others and, crucially, our relationship with ourselves. How we cultivate and respond to self-esteem, including both positive reinforcement and criticism, plays a pivotal role in our personal growth.

In this article, we’ll delve into the nature of self-esteem, its roots in low self-esteem, and five indispensable strategies to bolster it.

What Is Self-Esteem?

What is the meaning of self-esteem? Everyone has self-esteem; it can fluctuate based on how we feel about ourselves and our sense of worth. According to Kristin Neff, who writes and researches self-compassion as an alternative to self-esteem, “self-esteem refers to the degree to which we evaluate ourselves positively. It represents how much we like or value ourselves and is often based on comparisons with others.”

Confidence is a big part of our self-esteem. Being confident builds self-esteem, that self-worth about who you are, and accepting and embracing your authentic self. Throughout life, self-esteem fluctuates; there are highs and lows based on your perceptions of others and yourself. So, if people comment negatively about you, it can be detrimental to your value. In addition, if people praise you profusely, that can lead to arrogance and the belief that you are better than someone else. Having healthy self-esteem is essential and helps you make better choices in your daily life. Healthy self-esteem gives you the courage to be yourself, develop good relationships, and allows you heal during difficult times.

Before the healing process can begin, you need to figure out the root of the cause. What experience, individual, or internal factors are causing low self-esteem?

What Can Lower Our Self-Esteem?

According to Todd Woodfill, low self-worth is an epidemic within our society. It has a strong impact when we compare ourselves to celebrities, places, social media, and entertainment stereotypes and labels. It can be easy to compare yourself to others.

Teens and tweens are very vulnerable to youth and are impacted by various factors.

About 87% of those who have been bullied felt a negative effect on their self-esteem.

Other examples, such as peer pressure, academic stress, and family issues, play a critical role. If we have no coping skills to handle these emotional stresses, this can impact our self-esteem and our daily lives. This can transition into adulthood as many adults suffer emotionally and mentally.

Low self-esteem can have harmful effects on your mental health, your decisions about your appearance, and, ultimately, your future.

Other effects of low self-esteem include:

  • You avoid difficult situations
  • Sensitive to criticism
  • Anxiety
  • Withdrawal from social situations
  • You are reluctant to trust yourself

Furthermore, other experiences can affect your self-esteem. Examples that cause low self-esteem include:

  • Abuse: Abusive and complex relationships with your parents, either during childhood or adulthood, can harm your self-esteem. Research has found that physical and emotional abuse by parents or other adults is a significant factor in low self-esteem.
  • Mindset: A pessimistic attitude and fixed mindset lower self-esteem because it overwhelms your mind with negative thoughts. You’re reminded that you aren’t good enough or that nothing positive will happen to you, and your confidence suffers.
  • Life events: While some life events uplift you, others lower your self-esteem. An example is if you’re taking a challenging course at school and have failed a few assignments. You start criticizing yourself and the opinion your accomplishments are poor. Graduating from school, changing jobs, or moving cities could all affect you personally.
  • Social standards: One survey of first-year college students found that 65% base their self-worth on appearance. External sources like approval of others and body image cause your self-esteem to lower at any time, and it might not be easy to regain.
  • Goal setting: Setting goals is great if you know how to set them correctly. When you set goals that are unattainable and unrealistic, it makes you think poorly of yourself when you don’t achieve them. Even if those goals weren’t achievable in the first place, your self-esteem takes a hit.

Understanding what causes your self-esteem to drop helps you make an action plan on how you will help it thrive and build your self-awareness.
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5 Tips on Improving Self-Esteem

Tip 1: Words of Affirmation

Words can have a significant impact on how we see ourselves and the influences we have in the world. When boosting your self-esteem, words of affirmation, especially when you are down on yourself, can greatly help build confidence.

Here are some words of affirmation that you can start with and say to yourself every day:

  • I am in control of my life
  • I am enough
  • I am strong
  • I am in charge of my happiness
  • I am beautiful, inside and out
  • I am important
  • I matter
  • I chose prosperity over failure
  • I don’t chase; I attract; what is for me will find me
  • Good things will happen to me
  • I believe in myself and my abilities

Tip 2: Don’t Compare Yourself to Others

Part of developing low self-esteem is comparing yourself to others. One important lesson during this journey to boost your self-esteem is that you shouldn’t compare yourself to others. No one is the same or better than anyone else. Instead, your focus is to know you are truly unique, which makes you different. Differences should be celebrated; there is no “correct way” to be exceptional.

Tip 3: Create a Positive Support System

You may feel lost and alone when having low self-esteem. You may think there is no one to talk to or who can understand your pain. However, finding a support system, whether a friend or a group of people who share similar experiences, family, and other loved ones, and having a reliable, safe space to be when you are down is excellent. A cheerful place where you can talk about the good, the bad, and everything in between will help you process your internalized and externalized struggles.

Tip 4: Identify Your Strengths & What You Like

If you are not confident or positive, this is a great opportunity to delve deeper into why. Helping boost your self-esteem can be productive by checking in with yourself. One great way to do that is by listing your strengths and anything you excel at and feel confident doing.

In addition, with the good, you can address what you feel insecure or hostile about; the key is to seek improvement. See how you can work on it or if it needs to be worked on. Ask yourself, is it just based on outside influences that you feel is wrong? This distinction is a critical part of the process.

If you want to improve in something, that is great, but adding a negative observation about yourself because you are not improving in that area sets you back.

Another tip for identifying strengths can be listing things you enjoy doing, whether a hobby or favorite food, or having an experience that can help you find joy after you process the negative thoughts in your mind.

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Tip: 5 Social Media Detox

 Social media runs the world and dramatically impacts our emotional and mental health. According to Todd Woodfill, tweens, teens, and young adults are vulnerable, and their self-esteem is affected by a variety of factors. One of them is how social media portrays individuals, causing comparisons. A 2017 study by Simon Fraser University showed that higher Internet usage increased body dissatisfaction in women. Women aged 12-29 were more likely to feel bad about their bodies if they spent more than 20 hours per week online. With Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and millions of websites, it can be easy to get caught up in believing what we perceive as perfection as others portray online.

To boost your self-esteem, you must control the content you consume. One great way to do this is by doing a social media detox. You can use any applications such as Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter (X) you will not use. Deleting these apps will help boost self-esteem in the long run. When not consuming content that makes you question your value and who you are, this free time can be a self-discovery and healing journey.

Spend time taking on a new hobby or experience or enjoying things that make you feel confident. In our society today, technology is abused, and it isn’t a unique luxury. Eliminating these negative reinforcers can be a great start to self-reflect and develop better social media habits for the future.

 

Conclusion

Boosting your self-esteem is a constant journey that you can put into practice in many different ways. Finding out what works for you is key to building assurance and confidence within yourself. If you want words, try some affirmations in your daily routine. Act, find a group of people you trust and have a good influence, and try making lists of strengths and improvements.

Lastly, going the extreme route, attempt a digital detox and stray away from technology or anything that makes you want to compare yourself to others.

Here at Kiss & Tell Magazine, we encourage you to boldly challenge having low self-esteem. You are one of a kind! When you truly know yourself, nobody can persuade you to be anything other than who you are. As always, don’t forget to comment, like, and subscribe for more!