By definition, self-esteem is the value you place on your own worth. It impacts how you think, how you feel about yourself, and it even has a say over your behavior and actions. You may look at people you know and assume they must have high self-esteem because they’re intelligent or attractive. In truth, there doesn’t seem to be any link between actual ability and what level of self-esteem someone holds. You could be highly intelligent and still have a low self-esteem.
Self-esteem is important, though. It may sway throughout your life, but children who are raised with a strong sense of security tend to find it easier to develop self-esteem later.
Your childhood has a lot of say over just how high your self-esteem is right now. However, just because you had a difficult childhood or you have low self-esteem doesn’t meal that you’re stuck with it.
Self-esteem influences your relationships, your success in business, your happiness, and beyond. Low self-esteem can lead to anxiety, depression, and loneliness, issues in relationships, job performance, and even substance abuse.
However, we want to address high self-esteem so that you can use this information to build your own level of self-esteem. So, what are the characteristics, habits and thought patterns of people with high self-esteem? Let’s take a look at each of these.
The Danger of Low Self-Esteem
Someone who has low self-esteem will often be highly critical of themselves. The positive qualities that they do possess are ignored or overlooked. Not only do they constantly compare themselves to others, but they also see themselves as inferior to others.
They will often use typically negative words with which to describe themselves – such as unlovable, undeserving, stupid, ugly, overweight or fat. Their self-talk, the discussions that they have with themselves, are critical, they are self-blaming, and they are negative.
They assume that their achievements are down to luck rather than due to hard work or skill, and they can’t accept credit for them. When things go wrong, they immediately blame themselves instead of considering other factors. When someone offers them a compliment, they simply don’t believe it.
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How can that impact your life?
There are a number of ways it can negatively affect you. When you are constantly critical of yourself, you experience negative feelings of sadness, shame, depression, anger, guilt, and anxiety. All of that, of course, can create relationship problems. How can you have healthy relationships when you don’t believe you deserve love or respect. Moreover, if you have no self-esteem or self-respect, what type of behavior will you accept from a partner? Inversely, the person who suffers from low self-esteem may be the bully in a relationship.
Low self-esteem can prevent people from trying, but it can also drive them to perfectionism. Perfectionism is not a strength, but in fact, it is a weakness. You cannot attain perfection, it is impossible, and trying to reach it will prove an impossible task. It will also creep into other areas of your life, with you expecting perfection from others. You are setting yourself up to fail and setting yourself up for disappointment.
Often, people with low self-esteem will cut themselves off from their friends because they are worried about being judged. They are typically lacking in resilience, and are likely to crumble under life’s challenges.
They don’t practice self-care, they are more likely to drink too much or to dabble in drugs. They are more likely to self-harm, which could be with substances, eating disorders or other ways to harm themselves physically.
What Causes Low Self-Esteem
There are a number of contributing factors to low self-esteem. If you had an unhappy childhood or your parents were overly critical, then this could be where the problem started. Often, poor performance in school contributes to a confidence issue. Stressful live events such as financial issues, job loss, and relationship problems can all contribute to low self-esteem.
An abusive relationship, whether it was a parent or is a friend or romantic partner, then this can cause low self-esteem. Additionally, ongoing medical conditions can lead to low self- esteem. That includes anxiety and depression, as well as chronic pain, a physical disability or any serious illness.
Regardless of why you may be experiencing low self-esteem, you do not need to continue living this way. If you want to improve your life and work beyond this point, then you can take steps to build your self-esteem back up.
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Building Your Self-Esteem
Your self-esteem is linked with how you react and perceive what happens to you in life. You’ve read all about the habits, characteristics, and thought patterns of people with high self- esteem. So, now let us provide you with some hints and tips on how best to build your self- esteem back up.
- Turn your self-talk to the positive – offer yourself the same support you would do a friend.
- When you notice your self-talk is negative, actively look to correct it and change it to positives.
- Don’t get caught up in comparing yourself to everyone else. We’re all on different paths and that’s okay.
- Don’t dismiss compliments or achievements, embrace the positives.
- Appreciate the special qualities that make you the unique person that you are. Write out a list of all your good points and keep it close to hand so that you can turn to it when you are dealing with a difficult time.
- Let go of the past, it’s too late to change it, and reliving those old disappointments and hurts will only fuel your low self-esteem now.
- Feed yourself a series of positive messages each day.
- Learn to manage your worries – when you feel yourself worrying, ask yourself what the worst case scenario really is… when has that ever come true?
- Just have fun! Make time in your schedule to visit with friends and enjoy your hobbies.
- Make time for exercise. Yes, it will help you improve your self-esteem, even if you don’t need to lose weight or improve your health. It will boost your brain and increase feel-good hormones which can help you manage stress, anxiety, and depression. Set yourself a weekly target of 150 minutes.
- Be assertive when you communicate your opinions, needs, beliefs, wants, and feelings with others. Do it directly and be honest.
- Be kind to yourself. It doesn’t matter if your inner voice is telling you that everyone hates you and you’re failing – you can change the record and tell yourself that you’re doing better than you realize. If you do make a mistake, don’t beat yourself up. Do what you’d do for your friends and work at building yourself back up.
- Just be yourself, instead of always trying to change yourself to please others.
- Just remember that perfection does not exist.
- We all make mistakes, and that’s okay – it’s all about how we respond to them.
- Don’t get lost in changing the unchangeable, instead, keep your focus on the things that you can change.
- Do the things that make you happy.
- Surround yourself with people who are positive.
- Celebrate all of your wins, even if they’re small.
- Put all of these suggestions into effect and practice them daily. It will take time and effort to replace your negative thought patterns with more positive ones. Give yourself plenty of time to change.
101 Characteristics of People With High Self-Esteem
- They appreciate others, as well as themselves. It’s easy to see the best in everyone else when you recognize it in yourself and vice versa.
- They find fulfillment and purpose in their lives and enjoy personal growth.
- They are creative because they are comfortable digging deep and drawing from within themselves.
- They are decisive and they only conform to the opinions of others when they really agree.
- They view the world through a realistic lens and have an easier time accepting people just the way they are.
- They are constantly pushing themselves to improve and always move in a confident and positive direction.
- They don’t have any trouble with concentrating their attention on problem-solving.
- The relationships that they maintain are both respectful and loving, whether there are romantic or platonic.
- They have identified their core values, and they live their lives in accordance with them. They aren’t tempted to compromise on those because they are confident enough to stand strong in the face of adversity.
- They believe in themselves and in turn, they also believe the best of others.
- They are quick to speak up and offer their opinion but do so in a kind way while allowing others to share their own opinion.
- They know what they need and they aren’t afraid to ask for it.
- They know what they want and they aren’t afraid to ask for it.
- They are effective communicators.
- They strive to make a difference in the lives of other people, whether in small or meaningful ways.
- They are driven to succeed, but don’t feel the need to step on others as they strive to reach their goals.
- They’re comfortable with change.
- Their work relationships are happy – they enjoy a mutual trust with their colleagues and bosses.
- They’re comfortable laughing at themselves.
- They’re goal-oriented.
- They look after themselves mentally, physically, spiritually, and emotionally.
- They are humble.
- They are honest and truthful.
- They can detach their emotions when others offer criticism.
- They understand that all emotions have a role to play and are comfortable looking deeper to determine the source of those emotions.
- They are not followers. They have the courage to stand up for their convictions.
- They believe in empowering others.
- They hold themselves accountable and expect others to do the same.
- They understand that the present is now and the past is nonnegotiable.
- They are brimming with self-respect.
- They feel comfortable in their own skin.
- They feel comfortable accepting (and giving genuine) compliments.
- They feel comfortable and confident in looking in the mirror.
- They are foscused on their strengths.
- They aren’t afraid of being wrong.
- They’re active listeners.
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Habits of people with High Self-Esteem
- They don’t feel the need to compare themselves to anyone else.
- They can say no. Likewise, they know when to say yes.
- They don’t feel the need to over-complicate their action plans, activities or day.
- They are focused on what they want.
- They act as though their desired outcome has already been achieved.
- They use words intentionally.
- They listen to the opinions of others but don’t allow them to sway them.
- They dedicate their time to meaningful pursuits.
- They aren’t afraid to ask for help.
- They’re not scared of being wrong.
- They find their happiness in themselves.
- They don’t have the need to be at the center of attention.
- They take calculated risks.
- They are comfortable in celebrating their own success as well as that of others.
- They speak with confidence.
- They aren’t judgmental of others.
- They are confident and as such, they compete only with themselves.
- They think positively.
- They complete activities that boost their self- esteem.
- They smile a lot.
- They don’t life (or themselves) too seriously.
- They challenge themselves and aren’t afraid to risk failure.
- They examine their thoughts and emotions.
- They continuously push themselves to grow.
- They have healthy habits, eat well, sleep right, and exercise.
- They show others love and compassion.
- They always expect a positive outcome.
- They do yoga.
- They are mindful.
- They meditate.
- They can breathe through stressful situations.
- They maintain a journal.
- They practice gratitude.
- They don’t gossip.
Thought patterns of people with high Self-esteem
- No matter what mistake they might make, they understand that they are worthy.
- They accept responsibility for their mistakes but don’t degrade themselves for it.
- They are not defined by their material items, they are defined by their actions.
- They have a mantra.
- They have positive affirmations to start their day.
- They use their positive affirmations when dealing with a difficult time.
- They allow themselves to feel their emotions. While they may be happier than others, they aren’t always happy, but they can experience their emotions without shame or guilt.
- They enjoy spending time alone just as much as they enjoy socializing.
- They don’t obsess over what others think about them.
- They set boundaries.
- They don’t worry about outcomes, they focus on how they respond to events instead.
- They don’t get caught up in the cycle of negativity.
- They know what they value and they go and do it.
- They can recognize themselves in others.
- They believe in something bigger than themselves.
- They show gratitude for what they have and can always find a silver lining.
- They tell themselves positive stories.
- They show themselves compassion.
- They don’t feel the need to be confident at all times.
- They extend compassion to their present and future self.
- Their self-talk is realistic.
- They feel comfortable relabeling their failures or mistakes as learning experiences or opportunities.
- They know their strengths.
- They don’t assume that everyone else knows what they know, they own their expertise.
- They keep their goals in mind always.
- They know they are valuable.
- They recognize their accomplishments.
- They recognize the many things they do well.
- They recognize that they are a good person.
- They understand that they deserve to be healthy, happy, and successful.
- They don’t dwell on failure.
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Do you have low self-esteem? The first step in improving it is to challenge your inner voice because that’s where the negative thought pattern starts. You shouldn’t be afraid to interrogate your inner critic and challenge negative thinking. These thoughts are often catastrophic even though the worst case scenario rarely comes to fruition.
You send a text to your friend and your friend doesn’t respond quickly enough, you convince yourself that they hate you and that they are actively ignoring you. Then, they reply and you realize you made a mountain out of a molehill. You shouldn’t believe everything you tell yourself when you know you often have catastrophic thoughts.
We often spend years telling ourselves lies. So, it makes sense that we start to believe them. The first step is changing the record. You need to start telling yourself a new story, replacing those negative stories and thoughts with positive stories that are true. It’s a long process of reconditioning. This is where your recovery begins.
Your next step is to extend yourself compassion. Distance yourself from your own situation. Look at it though it was a close friend that was going through it. How would you respond to your friend it they were telling you these negative stories about them? You would offer them compassion, kind words, and a shoulder to cry on. Why do you not do the same for yourself?
It doesn’t matter whether you believe that you deserve it right now. It just matters that you can feed your mind, body, and soul with whatever makes you feel whole and special. This doesn’t have to be anything large, it could be as simple as allowing yourself time to relax with your favorite snack and a book.
Once you get in the habit of allowing small joys, you can go further and pursue a passion. Think about activities that you would enjoy or already enjoy and allow yourself time to do them. This will help increase your self-esteem, as well as your motivation.
When you start to practice self-compassion, it’s important that you remain mindful of your thoughts and emotions. For anyone with low self-esteem, it’s common to experience extremes in emotions, whether it’s suppressing them or allowing them to sweep them away. You can control your emotions while also experiencing them in a healthy way.
Controlling your emotions doesn’t mean that you bottle them up and hide them away in a corner of your brain. It means that you don’t allow yourself to be overwhelmed by them. Another effective way to improve your self-esteem is by learning how to manage your stress levels. Stress often sends our emotions spiraling so, learning how to manage that will help you be more productive and effective. This will help you cope with the negative thoughts that attack you.
From there, you have to reach out and ask for help. Often, those with low self-esteem are too ashamed to ask for help, whether through fear or the belief that they are undeserving. Don’t be afraid to ask the people that you trust for support. Not only will you get to share what you’re going through, but you will also hear their perspective.
There are support groups that you can enroll in, too. If you don’t feel comfortable attending one in person, you will find plenty of them online. Alternatively, if you suffer from seriously low self-esteem, then you may want to consider speaking to a therapist.
Low self-esteem can impact how you value yourself, and in turn how others value you. It can make you struggle with making decisions, it blocks your ability to see the positives and recognize your strengths.
It impacts your ability to step outside your comfort zone, you’re too afraid to try new things, and you struggle to offer yourself any kindness.
It’s difficult to move beyond mistakes when you blame yourself for everything. It’s important that you understand you are valued, you are loved, and that you deserve happiness. You deserve to take time for yourself, and you are good enough.
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