Self Esteem - What exactly is it?

Self esteem is a subject which many people discuss frequently but what exactly does it mean? How do we measure it and does it really matter? Self esteem is like a puzzle. There are many pieces that come together to form a portrait of who we are. Think of each piece of the puzzle as the beliefs, thoughts, wishes, feelings, desires and attitudes that we all have within us.It is the composite of our "self".

Positive self esteem means feeling good about ourselves, what we do, and our relationships, regardless of what is going on around us. Self esteem is not something that you have or don't have. Everyone varies in how good or satisfied they feel about themselves. Some of us feel really great about one area of our life, such as academic skills, while we lack esteem in other areas, such as personal relationships. Accepting responsibility for our own lives is part of self esteem and our first responsibility in life is our own development and well being. The possibility of building positive self esteem is in all of us.

In the process of growing up, we sometimes hear or experience many negative messages, such as rude teachers, divorced or abusive parents, or physical disabilities. Having low self esteem can become a downward spiral of negative feelings leading to even more negative accomplishments. Trying to break out of that downward trend can be very difficult and frustrating. Asking for help and being more self motivated can seem like a losing battle and an endless chore.

Some people do a lot of harmful things in an attempt to feel good: take drugs, lie or cheat, eat too much junk food or act in a dangerous manner to show off. None of these behaviors gives a lasting sense of feeling good. In fact, they usually make us feel worse about ourselves. Self esteem is about accomplishing a lasting feeling of satisfaction or contentment in ourselves.

Building a stronger and more positive self esteem is an adventure that takes a lifetime. If we want to increase our own self image, we must first begin to want to self discover or to know ourselves. Wanting to change is the first step to improving that self image. We must also have a goal and a plan to follow in order to stick with the vision of what we want to be in the future.

Making better decisions and having support of others around us, can help to build that self esteem. It will enable us to take the risk for our plans ahead. We need to keep motivated to do what it is we really want to do. Have a vision, then go directly for it, regardless of obstacles or hurdles.

The answers to self esteem are all around us. The sight of who we are and of what our future will be depends on how much we care for ourselves. Change is difficult but the end result is a more prosperous and happy life.

Copyright 1994,1995 Lovina Pivin
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