Self-esteem is the opinion you have of yourself, the respect you hold for yourself, and your overall sense of worth.
Here are three ways you can improve your self-esteem:
#1: Accept the full range of your emotions!
"I'm really oversensitive and dramatic." This comment attacks the "emotional/feeling self" and the underlying message is: "I'm too much for anyone to handle" or "My feelings are a burden to others."
We live in a society that turns normal human reactions into something negative. People are urged to be "strong" and not give in to their emotions.
- Sad? Take an anti-depressant for depression.
- Anxious? There's a pill for that, too!
- Angry? Go to an anger management class.
Sometimes, huge feelings become actually "feeling" huge. Consider how intense issues are said to be "weighty" or "heavy."
If your self-esteem is based on being "strong" and not expressing feelings, challenge the notion that strength equals a lack of emotions.
#2: Accept that perfection is unattainable
Ever say something like, "I can't stand my gross, squishy stomach. I'm so disgusting"?
If your self-esteem is based on your "body self" the underlying message is: "I have to be perfect to be lovable."
When you objectify yourself, your primary relationship is often to your own body, instead of to people.
If you're waiting to be "perfect" before you consider a romantic relationship, change jobs, go back to school or leave your marriage, you're defining perfection by a number on a scale.
Often, that definition of "perfection" changes as you near your goal, the finish line moving farther out of reach, along with your willingness to take risks.
When you accept imperfection, it's easier to start now!
#3: Trust the positive views other people have of you!
Self-esteem has a direct impact on the quality of your relationships. If you feel good about yourself, you'll trust that others also hold a positive view of you.
Conversely, if you judge yourself, it's easier to believe that others are judging you. When you're overly self-critical, you're susceptible to accepting criticism from others and even staying in unhealthy relationships.
When other people like you, accept, admire, respect and cherish you... believe them!
That means giving up an idealized view of perfection - in terms of your appearance, your internal emotions and conflicts, and your achievements.
Giving yourself and the people you love the right to be "perfectly imperfect" will improve the closeness and quality of your relationships.
Self-acceptance refers to balancing different facets of yourself, holding onto the features you like about yourself, along with those you'd like to change.
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