People often seek out professional help for "low self-esteem." Self esteem is defined by Merriam-Webster as "a feeling of satisfaction that someone has in himself or herself and his or her own abilities." People often wonder how they can get it, ponder why they don't have it, and even occasionally end up feeling worse about themselves because of the fact that they don't like themselves. It can be a downward spiral. Often there is a root in childhood trauma or neglect, and a person doubts themselves and their own thoughts and feelings. They have learned to dislike themselves.
While many that come to counseling struggle with this, few know what to do with it. Feeling good about oneself comes down to respecting oneself as a worthy, important human being that has something to offer to not just themselves, but the world around them.
Self respect is defined as "pride and confidence in oneself, a feeling that one is behaving with honor and dignity." It can be increased based on making decisions with integrity. You agree with what you are doing!
Here are examples of behaviors or things that people might cling to, in an attempt to feel better, that affects their self respect.
-unsatisfying, unhealthy or casual sexual relationships.
- money and material possessions
- an unfulfilling job
-sitting on your couch wishing you felt better about yourself
- binge eating
- drugs and alcohol
- beating yourself up over being human
-pretending you don't feel emotions
-expecting yourself to perform perfectly at work or school
- not caring about anything
- not caring about school or work
-starving yourself and other disordered eating patterns
- lack of self-awareness
-Constant need to perform or "be on"
- oversharing personal information
- not self-disclosing enough for fear of rejection
- excessive dieting and overexercising
- consistently doing what's easiest and most convenient
- not making a choice- sitting on the fence too long.
- lack of compassion for yourself for doing any of the things on this list
-believing their feelings don't matter
-over-focusing on feelings
-over-focusing on perceived weaknesses
When we are honest with ourselves, all of us have made choices we are not proud of at some point in our life. Self-respect is one of our greatest assets. When you believe in yourself and your own abilities, and you take necessary steps to make things happen in your life, you naturally begin to feel better about yourself and your choices. Self-respect is about being proud of yourself and your own choices. When you face a challenge in your life, you trust in your ability to know what to do and how to handle it. It is not that things are easy, it's that you trust in your ability to handle things when they get hard. Respecting yourself also means you will find yourself less threatened by others and able to stand up for yourself while understanding others different values, beliefs and personal strengths and weaknesses.
Here are some ways to increase self-respect
1. Know your strengths (and weaknesses.) Admit to them openly as needed.
2. Take time to do the things you love and bring you joy
3. Recognize what triggers strong emotional reactions in yourself.
4. Stand up for yourself
5. Volunteer and find positive ways to impact others
6.Stand by your personal values and stay true to yourself
7. Respect others rights to see the world differently than you. Don't expect to change others.
8. Set a goal and challenge yourself
9. Grow in your awareness of how you speak to yourself. Be more gentle and kind if needed.
10. Be your own cheerleader
11. Have people in your life that care about you and respect you for being you.
12. Allow yourself to feel what you feel without drowning in your emotions
13. Seek help if needed, we all need it sometimes. Find a professional if needed, even if this brings you some fear. Find someone you trust, as you need to feel that you can share openly and honestly.
Ask yourself in 2018. How can I improve my relationship with myself, so that I can have make a difference in the world around me?