How is yours?

Self-esteem, or how much you value the person you are, greatly influences how you live your life. Individuals with a positive sense of themselves are more likely to seek promotions and less likely to interpret "constructive criticism" as a personal attack. People with high self-esteem are more willing to try new things, to enjoy a satisfying social life. They realize that their worth is not determined by externals such as material possessions, occupation, appearance, or what others think of them.

On the other hand, people with low self-esteem are more likely to feel devastated when they make an error. They tend to reject new challenges, believe that they are undeserving, and avoid meeting new people. People with low self-esteem tend to be "oversensitive" and over-critical of themselves. All of this results in problems with anxiety and depression, compulsiveness, phobias, addictions or self-destructive behavior.

How many if the following statements would apply to you?:

  • I frequently describe myself with negative labels such as "dumb," "unattractive," or "loser"
  • I see more negative than positive qualities in myself
  • I have difficulty accepting compliments
  • When something bad happens, I tend to feel responsible for it
  • I tend to think about what I should have done when things don’t work out
  • I don’t feel comfortable asking for help; I don’t want to be a burden
  • I usually let other people have their way
  • I tend to compare myself to others and usually come up short

If you endorsed one or more of the above items, you may have low self-esteem. How you see yourself in large part determines how others see you. How you treat yourself is mirrored in your interactions with others.

Therapy with a supportive professional can provide a fresh, objective perspective. Improving your communication and social skills, and changing your negative thinking can greatly increase your confidence and provide the tools to build a stronger social support system.