Self-Esteem is one’s opinion, not fact, about themselves. Our self-esteem is developed from our experiences from birth to the present and can fluctuate from day to day, depending on what is happening.
A person with low self-esteem has had things happen in their life that has negatively impacted how they view themselves. For example, abuse, bullying, a prolonged illness or accident that has hindered their abilities, financial problems, can negatively affect one’s perception of themselves. In addition to negative experiences impacting one’s opinion of themselves, we also tend to pay more attention to the things (experiences) which confirm how we feel about ourselves. For example, a person with low self-esteem is more apt to notice and remember experiences which confirm their negative self-views than experiences which indicate otherwise.
So, how does one go about improving their self-esteem? Is it possible? Yes, it is possible to improve your self-esteem but it will take some patience and work. I recently told my therapist that I want to work on my self-esteem. I do not hold a high opinion of myself and it has held me back from so much throughout my life. I am ready to be more honest with myself and my capabilities. I am tired of holding myself back. It is time to do better!
As I mentioned in the blog on Friday, I have also been doing some self-esteem work on my own. I found 10 Improving Self-Esteem Modules online that I have been reading and working through (free). The website is http://www.cci.health.wa.gov.au/resources/infopax.cfm?Info_ID=47. The first and second modules discuss what self-esteem is, how low self-esteem is developed, and features several exercises for the reader to explore their own self-esteem and how it may have developed into low-self-esteem.
I discovered that we often perpetuate our negative self-thoughts by paying attention to experiences which confirm our negative thoughts and ignore the positive experiences. Also, we carry around these mental rules to protect these negative beliefs. For example, I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work with a Mental Health focus, yet I am underemployed as a cashier because I have allowed my negative self-esteem and fear to hold me back. I have avoided taking a licensure exam out of fear of failure. My low self-esteem was further lowered after a negative experience during my internship with a supervising social worker who put me down (after giving me high marks all year) and insulted me. I have permitted her behavior and my low self-esteem to prevent me from getting a job in the field out of fear that it will happen again…that I will be criticized; that I could fail. Criticism and mean people exist in all fields. I refuse to let my low self-esteem, fears, and bad experiences to hold me back anymore.
I am starting module 3 and will discuss it tomorrow. Have a wonderful evening. I want to wish everyone the best of luck on tomorrow morning’s drawing for the journal and pen case. There is still time to enter. Just follow the blog and email me at email@example.com to enter. The deadline for entries is midnight tonight. One entry per follower. I will notify and announce the winner tomorrow morning, March 15th.
Also, please feel free to make topic suggestions! Susan