What is self-esteem? Self-esteem can simply be defined as one's emotional opinion of oneself or evaluation of one's self worth.
If you have low self-esteem you see hatred, flaws and failures. Low self-esteem stems from setting standards for yourself that you are unable to meet, thus leading to a lack of self-worth. People with low self-esteem fail to see that in order to stay healthy, they have to balance expectations and reality.
Conversely, if you have high self-esteem, you have healthy self-acceptance, resiliency, and engage in more positive self-talk. People with high self-esteem have an inner peace that helps them to accept and feel content with who they are, rather than feeling the need to conform to unrealistic expectations.
Where do self-esteem struggles come from? Clinical Psychologist Celeste Gertsen believes that "Low self-esteem can come from problems in the family and society (such as poverty or discrimination)". It is also suggested that external factors such as weight, appearance and the environment can affect your self-esteem. For example, a teenage girl will have a lower self-esteem than a woman, as at her age she is adjusting to changes in her appearance that can make her feel that she does not meet society's harsh expectations and beauty ideals (acne, weight gain etc.) Moreover, growing up in a negative environment can have a detrimental impact on your self-esteem.
Can low self-esteem be improved? Yes. Think of yourself and your self-esteem as a flower; the more you feed it love and acceptance, the more it will grow. If you are feeling down about yourself and doubt your self-worth, take up a hobby to occupy yourself, and engage in positive self talk. Over time, your negative thoughts will weaken as you recognize your talents, skills and abilities - all reflective of self-worth.