It’s February, many of us think of Valentine’s Day, love, gifts, expressing affection to our loved ones, etc. Did you know that it’s also a month to boost your self-esteem? Yes, it is considered as International Boost Self-Esteem Month, a month dedicated to improving self-esteem across the globe.
As we begin to explore ways of expressing love for the people around us, it is important to build your self-care and self-esteem. Considering the amount of time we might have spent alone in the year 2020, and the mental health climate around us, we all feel pressured to look a certain way based on the external world. It’s important to be aware of how to talk to ourselves. Let’s create an opportunity to celebrate this month by building self-esteem and work on ourselves for a better future.
What is Self-esteem?
Jennifer Crocker, Psychologist says that “people who base their self-worth on what others think and not on their value as human beings might pay a mental and physical price”. Do you place your worth based on what others think? Do you place your worth based on the number on the weighing scale? You are not alone, we all have limitations and abilities.
What is healthy and unhealthy self-esteem?
Developing healthy self-esteem is when you feel GOOD about YOURSELF and see YOURSELF deserving respect beyond your limitations and accepting them.
Whereas, when you have unhealthy self-esteem is when you feel VERY LITTLE value of your ideas, and feel the VERY BIG value of your limitations. You might constantly feel that “You are not enough”. This can lead to negative thought patterns. Whereas turning to develop healthy self-esteem can greatly help in accepting our limitations, recognizing our abilities thereby developing lasting healthy behaviors.
But what does it mean to have a healthy SELF-ESTEEM?
APA defines self-esteem as, the degree to which the qualities and characteristics contained in one’s self-concept are perceived to be positive or a person’s overall value of one’s self-worth. In simple terms, it’s how much YOU APPRECIATE YOURSELF of your physical self-image, views of accomplishments, and capabilities.
The more positive and healthy the cumulative perception of these qualities and characteristics, the higher one’s self-esteem. A high degree of self-esteem is an important ingredient of mental health. Whereas low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness are common depressive symptoms.
Why Self-Esteem Is Important?
Self-esteem can play a significant role in your motivation and success throughout your life. Low self-esteem may hold you back from succeeding at work because you don’t believe yourself to be capable of success.
By contrast, having healthy self-esteem helps you achieve, have an assertive attitude and believe you can accomplish your goals.
6 Ways to Boost Self-Esteem
Did you know that 30-50% of our awake time is spent in self-talk? It’s almost 8-hours a day! It’s time we take a pause and observe what we talk to ourselves for 8-hours? The long 8-hour story you TELL YOURSELF defines YOUR SELF-ESTEEM. Here’re 6 ways to value and recognize yourself, let go the negative mental scripts and restore healthy self-esteem.
1. Build positive relationships
Let’s compare two different scenarios: A woman wakes up, starts working, and when done with work, starts eating all the junk food at home, watches TV while kids or a partner tries to talk. She is unconscious and refrains from paying attention to things around her.
Another woman wakes up and tells herself and her partner, “how thankful she is for her life”, works passionately and once work is done, have a wholesome dinner together at the table with family. All of them stay in the present moment with each other.
Out of the above two examples, who do you think has healthy self-esteem? – The second woman! So the first tip to boost your self-esteem is to develop a practice of living consciously and building positive relationships with yourself and others.
2. Embrace your limitations
Here is an example: Lately, say you have started to put on a few pounds, but the internal dialogue you tell yourself is: “how come Jenny’s hair isn’t thinning” or “oh! did I mention that Jenny is also 130 pounds”? – Take a pause, the comparison game is not going to help you WIN.
It’s important to recognize your limitations, improve what you can change, and learn to accept what you can’t change.
Self-improvement always follows self-acceptance, if you don’t accept that, Yes I have put on a few pounds, you can’t figure out a way to improve yourself.
3. Live purposefully
Set realistic achievable goals, within your power. If you set a high expectation or an expectation that is not your goal, but a goal set by others, you may start comparing your faults and feel like a failure.
Set a goal that is realistic and achievable, so it can boost your self-esteem, be less overcritical to yourself and others. Be a modern-day warrior, build a strong sense of purpose and live to conquer, believe in yourself because no one else would.
4. Develop self-responsibility
We can’t always make a healthy choice, can we? Consciously or due to stressful situations, we may make an unhealthy lifestyle which can lead to an increase in weight, affect your habits and behaviors thereby affecting your health.
When you are placed in this situation, don’t associate yourself with the medical condition. Rather take responsibility for the situation, instead of playing the victim card. Taking responsibility can include: exercise, eating mindfully, improving sleep, etc.
Playing a victim card may not help in developing healthy self-esteem.
5. Be assertive
Being grounded in what you believe in, fully stand for what you believe in, stay unapologetic and authentic to your needs, limitations, and expectations. It is important to SAY NO, and be assertive in expressing your needs and opinions.
If you feel like you need some time for yourself, take that time. Being assertive doesn’t mean you lack social awareness, or you are being selfish.
6. Hear yourself
We spend about 8 hours a day in self-talk. It is important to introspect if the inner dialogue is constructive or not. If it’s not constructive, recognize the emotions attached to it and rephrase them with positive self-affirmations ( I can do this, I am enough). This can improve your self-awareness.
Introspection helps uncover the emotions, ask yourself the right questions and give yourself a comfortable happy conversation that’s constructive! Let yourself a wonderful story you love to hear, reframe your inner dialogue!
- Be assertive in expressing your needs and opinions
- Break the negative mental scripts
- Introduce yourself to positive affirmations and constructive self-talk
- Set realistic goals and expectations
- Be confident with your decisions and values.
- Practice self-compassion and be kind to yourself.
- Learn to respect yourself by accepting your limitations.
Looking to sleep better, eat a bit healthier, move more, build a practice of self-care, or just want to feel more energy each day? Let Shapa be your virtual coach. Shapa focuses your program based on YOUR lifestyle and YOUR goals so you can build healthy habits and achieve lasting results. Learn more about the Shapa difference
About the author:
Sujatha is the study manager and content creator extraordinaire on the Shapa Health team. With a Bachelor’s in Psychology and Master’s in Clinical Psychology from India, she furthered her academic skills in Applied Behavior Analysis from Ball State University, Indiana, USA. Currently, she resides in Chandler, Arizona. She has 4+ years of expertise as a mental health professional trained in psychometrics and psychotherapy working with children, adolescents and adults. Over the past 2 years, Sujatha developed a passion for mindful living, neuroscience research, human behavior and decision making, and is driven by curiosity and gratitude. As part of the Shapa Health team she designs personalized missions utilizing behavioral science and mindfulness techniques to improve the personal health journey of the Shapa community. When not at work, she enjoys baking, hiking and spending time with family. Connect with Sujatha on LinkedIn.