By Nicole Bedsole
We are our own worst critics and our own best cheerleaders. Self-esteem plays a vital role in how we see ourselves, not only when we are alone, but when we are at work or with friends and family. Wherever we go, there we are — with our self-esteem in tow.
We learn what to feel about ourselves and develop thoughts and opinions about ourselves early in life, from family, friends, teachers, co-workers, clergy, strangers, etc. If a person has low self-esteem, it can be difficult to change the way he or she thinks. However, change is possible.
The first thing someone may want to know and keep repeating to himself or herself is that no one person is better than the next. We may live different lives and have different values, but we are all human. We all share good and bad experiences, causing us to have periods of high and low self – esteem.
Keeping our self-esteem balanced is key. Psychology Today shares some signs that a person has the right amount of confidence:
- Knows the difference between confidence and arrogance
- Is not afraid of feedback
- Does not people-please or seek approval
- Is not afraid of conflict
- Can set boundaries
- Can voice needs and opinions
- Is assertive, but not pushy
- Is not a slave to perfection
- Is not afraid of setbacks
- Does not fear failure
- Does not feel inferior
- Accepts who he or she is
What if you need help boosting your confidence? So many techniques are available that you might get overwhelmed. Here is a brief list of what I do to combat low self-esteem:
- Stay away from all-or-nothing thinking and seeing things as only good or bad.
- Stay away from negative thoughts. If I start to have negative thoughts, I replace them with an affirmation.
- Identify my feelings and talk to someone about them.
- Stay away from negative people. I tend to avoid people who have a problem for every solution.
- Journal — when I get my thoughts and feelings down on paper, they become real to me, and I can focus on what changes I need to make.
These tips are just the tip of the iceberg. Finding what works best for you will set you on the right track. Always remember to do the best you can and give yourself a break. You are only human, and you can do it!
Nicole Bedsole is a certified peer support specialist with the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Kay Daneault, executive director of the Mental Health Association of South Mississippi