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Self-esteem is defined by a lack of confidence and a negative attitude toward oneself. Low self-esteem makes people feel unlovable, awkward, or inadequate. People with low self-esteem, according to psychologists Morris Rosenberg and Timothy J. Owens, who produced Low Self-Esteem People: A Collective Portrait, are hypersensitive. They have a delicate sense of self that is readily harmed by others.
Dr. Robert Firestone refers to this severe inner critic as the Critical Inner Voice, and it contributes to a negative self-perception, which might lead to catastrophic repercussions. If someone believes that other people dislike them, for example, they are more inclined to avoid social encounters and to react defensively, cynically, or even violently. “The kind and degree to which we engage with others is profoundly influenced by these perceived selves, regardless of their accuracy,” Rosenberg and Owen argue. Indeed, one of the most significant foundations on which our interpersonal behavior is built is our perception of ourselves. Furthermore, when we have a poor opinion of ourselves, whether we identify ourselves as uncomfortable, unlovable, obnoxious, bashful, or any other negative thoughts, it becomes increasingly difficult to believe that others regard us positively.
“To put it another way, having low self-esteem is living a life of unhappiness,” Rosenberg and Owen conclude.
The good news is that overcoming low self-esteem is absolutely feasible! Combating a negative self-image requires two crucial components. The first step is to stop listening to your inner critic and the second step is to have self-compassion.
The critical inner voice is that unsympathetic observer that harshly criticizes our thoughts and deeds. This nagging inner critic constantly bombards us with negative thoughts about ourselves and the people in our lives. It consistently erodes our self-esteem with beliefs like…
“No one cares for you.”
“You should keep your mouth shut. You make a fool of yourself every time you speak.”
“How come you can’t be like other people?”
It’s critical to question these negative beliefs and stand up to your inner critic if you want to overcome poor self-esteem. The first step is to realize when you begin to have negative ideas about yourself. Then you have the option to ignore your inner critic’s character assassinations and lousy counsel. Imagine how you’d react if someone else said these things to you; you’d probably become enraged and urge them to shut up or explain that they’re mistaken about you. Use this strategy to deal with your inner critic.
Writing down all of your inner critic’s criticisms on one side of a piece of paper is one way to do this. Then, on the other side, write out a more realistic and loving assessment of yourself. If you write “You’re foolish,” for example, you may follow up with “I may struggle at times, but I am smart and competent in many areas.”
Challenging your inner critic can help you break the shame cycle that contributes to low self-esteem. You can begin to defy your inner critic and see yourself for who you truly are once you realize the critical inner voice as the root of your negative self-attacks. Begin to practice self-compassion.
Self-compassion is, in many ways, the antidote to self-criticism. The radical practice of treating yourself like a friend is known as self-compassion. It’s an excellent technique to boost your self-assurance. Self-compassion is even healthier for your mental health than self-esteem, according to research.
Dr. Kristen Neff, a self-compassion researcher, notes that self-compassion is built on a consistent attitude of kindness and acceptance toward yourself, rather than self-evaluation or judgment. While this may appear to be a simple concept, it can be difficult to treat yourself with compassion and care at first. However, as you practice, you will acquire greater self-compassion.
1) Recognize and acknowledge your suffering.
2) Respond to suffering with kindness and compassion.
3) Keep in mind that imperfection is a part of the human condition that we all share.
Self-esteem research has shown that both low and high self-esteem can cause emotional and social issues in people. While narcissism has been linked to high levels of self-esteem, social anxiety, a lack of confidence, and sadness are all linked to low self-esteem. Moderate self-esteem is the healthiest sort of self-esteem since it is focused on respecting one’s inherent worth as a person rather than comparing oneself to others. In this sense, it is preferable to focus on having high levels of self-worth rather than high levels of self-esteem if your goal is to generate more self-confidence.
Here are some other ways to feel better about yourself, in addition to engaging your inner critic and practicing self-compassion.
It’s a tremendous error to try to enhance your confidence by comparing yourself to others. “Our competitive culture tells us we need to be special and above average to feel good about ourselves,” Dr. Kristen Neff explains, “yet we can’t all be above average at the same time. Someone always seems to be wealthier, more handsome, or more accomplished than we are.” Our feeling of self-worth bounces like a ping-pong ball, rising and falling in lock-step with our recent success or failure when we measure ourselves based on external achievements, other people’s judgments, and competitions. People publish their picture-perfect moments and shiny triumphs on social media, which we compare to our tarnished, flawed daily lives, exacerbating the situation.
We must cease comparing ourselves to others in order to develop a healthy feeling of self-assurance. Instead of thinking about others, consider the type of person you want to become. Set goals and conduct actions that reflect your personal values.
Self-respect is the foundation for self-confidence and self-esteem. You are more likely to appreciate yourself, feel more confident, and even do better in life if you live your life in accordance with your own principles, whatever they may be. Students who relied their self-esteem on internal sources–such as being a good person or following moral standards–were found to obtain higher grades and were less likely to use alcohol and drugs or develop eating disorders.
It’s crucial to maintain integrity and make sure your actions match your words if you want to feel good about yourself. If eating healthy and looking your best are important values to you, then maintaining a healthy lifestyle will make you feel better. You are significantly more prone to self-attacks when your actions do not match your statements. The inner critic enjoys pointing out these flaws. When you’re seeking to build your confidence, it’s helpful to consider your underlying values and act in accordance with them.