Self esteem

Self esteem is the opinion that you have of yourself. It is the way you feel and think about yourself and others and it is measured by the way you act. Self esteem is an internal belief system and is the way that you experience your internal life. There are people with high self esteem and there are those who suffer from low self esteem.

Low self esteem is a feeling that is very difficult to deal with. Before a person can overcome low self esteem it is important to know the cause of the problem. It is very important for parents, teachers and other people to make sure that they influence children in a positive way, as self esteem is usually determined when you are young.

It is important for parents to spend more time praising than criticizing their children. Many therapists say that you should not criticise a child unless you balance your criticism with at least one positive, loving comment. Children believe that whatever mummy or daddy says is right.  That is why it is very important for parents to watch their comments all the time. It can be very hard for children to develop a healthy self esteem if they have been criticised at an early age.

I formed a new friendship four years ago.  I soon discovered that my new friend had a very low self esteem. I tried to be a good friend to her and offered my help when she would allow me to do so. She told me that when she was five years old her mother got married and left her with her grandmother, aunties and uncles. She told me that nobody has ever praised her when she's done good things. People always shouted at her when she was wrong, but did not help her to be right. Her mother would sometimes come to visit but they did not have a parent-child relationship at all. My friend became angry; she felt that nobody sees any good in her, so she stopped trying to be good. She has missed lot of opportunities because of that attitude. I suggested that she should go and talk to a psychologist.  I thought that might help her because it is so difficult for her to see things in a positive way.

People who have never suffered from low self-esteem cannot imagine how it can drains energy. Those who suffer from it always have a negative attitude.  They think "No one likes me, I'm not worthy of being liked".

Some people suffer from low self esteem even at work. They always look for negative comments from their bosses or from their colleagues and so they start performing poorly at work.

Courage is the first step for people with low self esteem. Seek professional help for your problem.  Motivation will come only if you allow people around you to motivate you, and this will help you to build your self esteem.

Building High Self esteem begins in childhood; here are some tips for parents to look at so that they can help their children to build their self esteem.

  • Touch your child lovingly - this can be a hug, a kiss, a touch on the head, a hand on their shoulder, even if this is only done in passing, although it can be done during conversation.
  • Set time every week where you do something special as a family, allow your child or children to decide what you enjoy doing together.
  • Listen to your child - sometimes it takes a lot of time for a child to tell you a story or to make a particular point, just bear with them and listen to what it is they have to say. Let them know how important what they have to say is to you.
  • Encourage your child to try things themselves so that they can develop a sense of achievement. Respect and reward every effort they make so that they want to persevere and try again. Don't be so quick to jump in and try to do it for them.
  • Don't attack the child for bad behaviour. You need to understand that the child is not the behaviour and therefore you explain why the behaviour was wrong and give an example of what could have been done differently or how to rectify what they have done.
  • Accept your children for who they are. Encourage them as they develop their own areas of strength even if it's not an area you are interested in. Give them the opportunity to be themselves and develop independence and an understanding of responsibility.
  • Be a positive role model.
  • Help your child get involved in activities that foster cooperation rather than competition.
  • Watch what you say as children are very sensitive to their parent's words.

We all experience problems with self-esteem at certain times in our lives. The good thing about it is that it can change if we allow it to. So if you feel that your self esteem isn't all it could be, you can start by bringing positive thinking to your life. Having good self-esteem allows you to accept yourself and live life to the fullest.

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Last Update: 06 July 2012