Remember when you were told as a kid that you could achieve anything if you just believed in yourself? The chances that you ended up on crutches are higher than the chances that you actually soared over your home Superman-style! But that doesn’t negate the basic premise.
Research over the years has proven that self-esteem has a direct relationship with your overall contentedness which impacts your success, relationships, and happiness.
“Self-esteem is frequently viewed as the most significant gauge of mental well-being and good adjustment, with high self-esteem related to many positive life regulating skills and low self-esteem correlated to aggression, poor school achievement, depression, eating disorders, drug and alcohol abuse, teenage pregnancy and marital dysfunction” (Diener, 1984; Mecca, Smelser, & Vasconcellos, 1989 as cited in Crocker & Wolfe, 2001).
Self-esteem expert Morris Rosenberg defines self-esteem quite simply as “one’s attitude toward oneself – either a favourable or unfavourable attitude toward the self.” It relates to how you see yourself – your achievements and your sense of worth. Being able to believe in yourself and accept yourself for who you are is important because it helps us develop respect for ourselves, which in turn leads to being respected by others.
Numerous studies have confirmed that healthy self-esteem feeds your belief in your abilities and the motivation to follow through, ultimately achieving fulfilment as we navigate life with a positive outlook. Yet self-esteem is not immutable. It is fluid, but also quantifiable - in other words, you can test for and improve it.
Self-Esteem Has Mixed Connotations
Baumeister, Smart, and Boden (1996) investigated the concept of self-esteem: “By self-esteem we mean simply a favourable global evaluation of oneself. The term self-esteem has acquired highly positive connotations, but it has ample synonyms the connotations of which are more mixed, including pride, egotism, arrogance, honour, conceitedness, narcissism, and a sense of superiority.” (1996, p.5)
You have been warned! The dark side of self-esteem is not Dux-worthy.
What Influences Self-Esteem?
It is natural your self-esteem to ebb and flow as you go through various stages or challenges in life. However, some people seem to have low self-esteem from an early age, which may be due to their personality, or having had an unsettled time as a child.
Factors believed to influence our self-esteem include:
- Life experiences
- Social circumstances
- The reactions of others
- Comparing the self to others
Why Is A Lack Of Self-Esteem A Problem?
Surprising Statistics and Facts about Self-Esteem
- Adolescent boys with high self-esteem are almost two and a half times more likely to initiate sex than boys with low self-esteem, while girls with high self-esteem are three times more likely to delay sex than girls with low self-esteem (Spencer, Zimet, Aalsma, & Orr, 2002).
- Low self-esteem is linked to violence, school dropout rates, teenage pregnancy, suicide, and low academic achievement (Misetich & Delis-Abrams, 2003).
- About 44% of girls and 15% of boys in high school are attempting to lose weight (Council on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, n.d.).
- Seven in 10 girls believe that they are not good enough or don’t measure up in some way (Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 2008).
- A girl’s self-esteem is more strongly related to how she views her own body shape and body weight than how much she actually weighs (Dove Self-Esteem Fund, 2008).
- Nearly all women (90%) want to change at least one aspect of their physical appearance (Confidence Coalition, n.d.).
- The vast majority (81%) of 10-year old girls are afraid of being fat (Confidence Coalition, n.d.).
- About one in four college-age women have an eating disorder (Confidence Coalition, n.d.).
- Only 2% of women think they are beautiful (Confidence Coalition, n.d.).
- Absent fathers, poverty, and a low-quality home environment have a negative impact on self-esteem (Orth, 2018).
3 Habits for Building Self-Esteem
There are many ways to help you build self-esteem along your journey to being your true self. Louise Hay was a master at building self-esteem, and developed these daily tools for loving yourself:
- Keep A Journal.
Write down your experiences, how you felt about them and whether you felt you dealt with it in way that aligned with your inner voice. If you felt upset toward someone, did you confront them or hide it? The more you write down and notice when you’re doing what’s best for you, the more you get close to expressing your true being more often.
- Practice Meditation.
There is no better way than to relax, breathe and rest your thoughts. This is a great time to practice affirmations and reflect on what you want for your life.
- Practice Mirror Work or Tapping.
Looking into your eyes and expressing your true feelings is a great way to discover your underlying fears and finally face them with compassion.
Download your COMPLIMENTARY Self-Esteem Boosting Workbook HERE.
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“Dux dʌks noun
The top pupil in a school or class.”