Self-esteem is our subjective sense of self and the beliefs we hold towards ourselves internally. It is not only how we perceive ourselves personally and internally, but it also forms opinions that we have of ouselves and our level of self-confidence.
When self-esteem is negative, the effects can be destructive and dire. Not only will you allow mistreatment of yourself, but you allow mistreatment from others.
What negative or low self-esteem can look like:
Negative internal dialogue (speaking / thinking negatively about yourself)
Doubting yourself and your capabilities
Dislike / distaste for yourself
Withdrawal from activities and people
Stop taking care of yourself (appearance)
Don't take criticism well
Always looking for approval or acceptance from others
You are your biggest critic
Depression / Anxiety
Can lead to negative or detrimental ways of coping
I struggled with low self-esteem for the better part of my life. Throughout my childhood, I experienced a LOT of bullying which came in the form of verbal, mental, and physical abuse.
There were days that I would be called all sorts of names, and there were days that I would get beaten up in the hallways at school, and then I would be jumped again on my way home from school.
In the beginning, I cried a lot, but near the end I had become so detached and cold that I just accepted it. I somehow had talked myself into believing I deserved it and that the names they were calling me were true.
As a result, I left school in grade 10. The negative impact that this had on my self-esteem and belief system was immense as it affected me emotionally, physically, mentally, and spiritually.
I had no self-love, no trust, no confidence, and no respect for myself. Since I had little respect for myself, I allowed others to treat me to this same degree. I was riddled with fear, pain, anger, and depression.
It wasn't until my mid-twenties that I began the journey of finding myself. The only regret I have now is that I didn't take this journey sooner.
It was not easy in the beginning. I had been carrying so much hurt and resentment that I thought it was going to be the "norm" for the rest of my life. I thought that the negative and horrible words I spoke about myself would forever be a part of my everyday life. I couldn't have been more wrong.
By discovering myself, I have cultivated self-love, self-awareness, and of course self-esteem. Due to this shift in my internal world, my external world has also changed. The relationships I surround myself with now are fulfilling and balanced. The friendships I keep are wholesome, and my relationship with my boyfriend is one I had never imagined in my wildest dreams.
Most importantly, the relationship I have with myself is respectful, nurturing, loving and kind.
I am grateful for the chances I took and for taking life's most important journey: The journey of self-discovery. My life has changed so drastically that if I were to talk to the hurt little girl I was back then and tell her about how amazing life could be, she wouldn't believe me.
I have learned to not only forgive others, but to forgive myself for the mistreatment I put myself through.
What positive or accurate self-esteem looks like:
Belief in yourself
You're your biggest fan / cheerleader
Recognize your abilities and strengths
Take criticism as constructive and see it as a chance / possibility for growth
Recognize and accept flaws / weaknesses and see them as possibility for growth
Know your (self) worth
Having low self-esteem does NOT have to be the norm. Breaking free of this predisposition is transformative and liberating. I help and empower individuals that are stuck in this mindset. I can help you discover that your true self is worthy of self-love cultivating a brighter future and more fulfilling life.
Stop being your own worst critic and become your biggest cheerleader!
About the Author: Amanda spends the majority of her free time catering to the needs of her cat. She loves plants, cooking and is very capable with a flyrod. On her days off you'll find her out in the woods with her partner camping and fishing at local lakes.