Self-esteem is how we think about ourselves and the confidence we have in our abilities – an emotional evaluation or opinion of our self-worth or personal value. When we have positive self-esteem, we’re more likely to think and feel positive about life, meaning we’re usually better able to deal with life’s ups and downs.1
With low self-esteem, we tend to see ourselves in a more negative or critical way, which can affect how we interact with others and can sometimes stop us from doing things we might otherwise enjoy. Understandably, we might find it more difficult to overcome day-to-day challenges, take feedback from colleagues or family, and talk ourselves out of opportunities for fear of failure. We often let this negative self-talk undermine our confidence to achieve our goals – we might tell ourselves ‘I’ll be no good at this’ or ‘I can’t’, before we’ve even tried. Or if we’ve failed at reaching a particular goal in the past then it can lead to low self-esteem and we can develop a negative mind-set about trying again.2
Many of us are silently dealing with low self-esteem, something which can manifest in so many ways and affect how we treat ourselves. From blaming ourselves when things go wrong to comparing ourselves to others who seem more successful, and even avoiding certain situations because of how we feel about ourselves. If this sounds familiar, or if someone you know struggles with their self-esteem, it’s worth knowing there are things you can do to help shift this mind-set.
Emma Mudge, Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner at AXA Health, explains:
“It’s important to consider your self-esteem as it’s how you take care of yourself, emotionally, physically, and spiritually. Positive self-esteem helps us make healthy, constructive, and adaptive life decisions, resulting in a happier, healthier you. But negative self-esteem stops us from doing what our heart’s desire because of (sometimes irrational) fears. However, it is possible to harness these fears and use them as a driving force to make positive choices for a happier, healthier life.”