What is self-esteem?

Self-confidence and self-esteem are terms that are quite similar, but there is a difference. You can be confident and be able to connect with people and still have low self-esteem. For example, you might dare to travel the world all by yourself or be comfortable hosting parties, but being afraid of abandonment and never feel truly attractive at the same time. Your confidence can also be a cover up for your low self-esteem, and it can work as a protective shell. Self-esteem is how you feel about yourself overall: how you feel about yourself in different situations and how you consider your own worth. It is your own emotional evaluation of your value; whether you judge yourself or love yourself, whether you think you deserve love or if you think you are not lovable. To sum up: self-esteem is the attitudes you hold towards yourself and all the emotions that are related to these. Our level of self-esteem affects the way we are and the way we act, and that is why it is so important. All of our thoughts, decisions, feelings and actions are based on it.

Our self-esteem is shaped by our life experiences, especially the ones we have from early age. Our parents, school, friends and social experiences has influenced us since we were born. If you felt loved and supported as a child, you are more likely to have a healthy self-esteem. If you experienced the opposite, you may struggle with self-doubt. 

Although our childhood plays an important part in the process of forming our self-esteem, we are constantly affected by our friendships and social acceptance. Being expected to be 'perfect' can contribute to a low self-esteem just as much as not being listened to or not being treated with respect.

It is possible to teach your mind to love yourself, but your life experiences affects how easy or hard this is for you. Set small goals for yourself and remember that this can be a long prosess. I believe that one of the hardest things in life is to change your mindset, especially when you think about how hard it is to change a first impression. But remember that it is not impossible. You can learn to love yourself, no matter what. Wether you have been you have been emotionally abused, sexually abused or struggle with loneliness and self-isolation, you can turn things around.

If you can learn to like or love yourself, I promise you that life will become simpler. Try to stop or  recognize that voice inside you, telling you that you are not good enough. Awareness is a step in the right direction to a happier life. Ask yourself why you are talking to yourself the way you do, and try to come up with a way to flip these negative thoughts around to something positive. Try to minimize the destructive thoughts by replacing them with more positive thoughts. Ask yourself how a friend would react if you spoke to them in the same way as you speak to yourself. Thereon reflect on the word "perfect". Being a perfectionist is not worth it, believe me, you will only strive for more and never be satisfied with your accomplishments. No matter what you do, never forget that:

You are not alone. You are not the only person feeling the way you do. You are only human, it is okay to feel lost. How people treated you and any other actions towards you, does not define you in any way. Your imperfections and quirkiness only makes you special.

-Martine

The online counseling college inspired me to write this post and if you want to know more about the page, you can visit it here, and don't forget that there will be a 30 days self-love challenge up next week <3