Building your self-esteem

What exactly is 'self-esteem'? It's how much you value yourself, and it comes often from the reflections of others - if they value us, we can value ourselves. So it depends on who you surround yourself with.  

To build your own self-esteem you have to manage the opinions and comments of others - what they tell you with words and actions. Knowing yourself and learning to believe in yourself and your worth to the world at large, means you only need to consider their comments and opinions - not accept them! You can consider them because it might help you to see what you may wish to change or develop for yourself, or see why you can't relate well to that person (and it may well be them, not you).

What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing - and why? We are all good at something. You may enjoy doing certain activities because you are good at them - you feel successful, you can achieve in them. These are some of the things you can acknowledge that you are good at. 

Other things might be how people see you and approach you - caring, considerate, clever, capable - but how they use that with you or from you also gives us 'a message'. So you can manage this too, by putting boundaries in place! Saying no, sorry I can't today; no, that's now how I agree to it; thanks, but no thanks, it's not for me etc.

It's up to you to teach people how to treat you. If you don't develop belief in your own self-worth, then why should others?

So try things, realise and recognise good things about yourself and even share them if you can - say it aloud, fly your own flag (it's not bragging or boasting - it's simply telling it how it is). Let people know if you can do something and if you can and want/are able to help them, do so. But not at your expense!  

How do you know what you should and shouldn't allow? What is right to let people do around you? If it starts to irritate you, or you wish you didn't have to - those are the clues. Someone you love and care for might just be taking advantage of your good nature, so just let them know. Say 'no, not this time or no more', 'it's not right you keep asking me', and 'I am missing out on things when I give to you'.

You have rights. People can ask but it's up to you what you can and want to give of yourself. It isn't bad to say no sometimes, and it means you respect your needs and yourself, too.   

Self-esteem is about knowing what you are worth, what you can offer and who you feel confident in being. You are good enough. You might not know it all or be able to do it all, and we all make mistakes, but you can choose to practice, to learn and to grow and develop in any area of your life. Why not start with learning how good you are and how worthwhile you are with your family, friends and work?

Pat yourself on the back for a job well done, and tell people about things you've achieved or want to do. If they don't respond helpfully or positively, then keep your own confidence and maintain your self-worth and don't let them take you down.  

I find lots of clients are feeling like this, and it can be short term, longer term (so it becomes a habit), or can last a lifetime. Many have no inkling they are worth more than people tell them! So look at your situation, at yourself, at your hopes and dreams, and your beliefs and grow them so you can be 'someone' - you!

Counselling Directory is not responsible for the articles published by members. The views expressed are those of the member who wrote the article.

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Written by Julie Crowley

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