Letting Off A Little Self-Esteem

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What is self esteem anyway?

Self Esteem is the opinion you have of yourself. It is based on your belief about your value as a person, the job you do, your achievement, how you think others see you, your purpose in life, your potential for success, your strengths and weaknesses, your social status and how you relate to others, your independence.


And why do we need it?

Because your self-esteem can affect how you feel, relate and interact with challenges in your daily life. In order to be happy you need to like yourself. If you believe that there is something wrong with you, or if you are constantly putting yourself down, you are more likely to feel depressed, anxious or miserable than someone who has a positive view of themselves.

We need to accept who we are because the refusal to regard any part of ourselves –  our bodies, our fears, our thoughts our actions,  our dreams- as alien, as “not me” traps us into a self fulfilling prophesy that we are not worthy, hence increasing our low self esteem. However, it is our willingness to experience, rather than disown, whatever may be the facts of one’s  being at a particular moment that increases our self worth and therefore enhances our self esteem. It’s time we stopped engaging in an adversarial  relationship with ourselves, accept who we are, express our emotions or  behavior, and comfortably say, “this is an expression of me”


So what do we do to enhance our self esteem?

You can begin by trying moving out of your comfort zone; that means trying new things.  This is important for growing and developing as a person. Keep in mind, low self-esteem might hold you back from new experiences because you become overly concerned with the possibility of failure or looking stupid. It’s time to take a risk!

Another good way to build your self-esteem is to become your own best friend. This means talking to yourself in the same way that you would talk to your best friend. Imagine that your best friend came to you feeling upset about something – perhaps the way they look or something that a friend had said to them, etc. How would you react? Would you yell at them and tell them how completely ugly and stupid they are, or what a loser they are? (Hopefully not!)  Most likely, you would listen to them, try to help them change their situation, or look at it differently. And you’d try to convince them that they really are OK, even though they may not feel good about themselves at the moment.

Now think about how you would treat yourself if you were in that situation. If your self-esteem is low you would probably give yourself a hard time. In fact, you are likely to be much harder on yourself than you would be on your friend. Isn’t it strange that we often have completely different standards for ourselves than we do for other people? Ironically, if someone ever said some of the things that you say to yourself about you – you would probably never talk to them again!

Now try to imagine what would happen if you treated yourself like you would a best friend. How would things be different? It stands to reason that you would probably be much kinder and fairer on yourself. You would see yourself in a more balanced way, and you wouldn’t focus on and exaggerate your perceived flaws. If you made mistakes you would forgive yourself without putting yourself down. If someone treated you badly you would stick up for yourself, and not tell yourself that there must be something wrong with you. You would also spend more time encouraging yourself, and accept that you are not perfect, while knowing that neither is anyone else.

While there are numerous suggestions about how to improve one’s self esteem, the bottom line is that it begins with YOU.
Good self-esteem isn’t something that you can achieve overnight, it is something you can work on and improve over time. It’s a work in progress…a job with a great payoff and wonderful long term benefits!


Meet Corrie…Cappino’s expert professional counselor

Meet Corrie, Cappino's Professional Counselor

CORRIE SIROTA, M.S.W., P.S.W. holds a graduate degree in Social Work as well as a graduate certificate in Loss and Bereavement from McGill University, where she has been teaching for the past 20 years.

Corrie has worked in the Montreal community for over 2 decades developing and facilitating psychosocial prevention and intervention programs for individuals, groups, families and children.

She is a well known and seasoned guest speaker, having presented at numerous workshops and conferences across Canada and the United States. She has been interviewed by many local radio and TV programs on a variety of topics including child development, bullying, Internet awareness, effective communications and loss & bereavement. Book an appointment with Corrie.

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