How to Build Healthy Self-Esteem

Building healthy self-esteem is an important part of creating a productive, happy life.  Having a sense of self-worth allows you to engage in activities around you and create healthy, productive relationships.

Characteristics of a Healthy Self-Esteem   
People with healthy self-esteem have a positive view of themselves.  They are able to appreciate their own strengths and can accept their own weaknesses.  They have the ability to be kind and loving to themselves and can be equally kind and loving to others.  People with healthy self-esteem are able to pursue their own goals without having to do so at the expense of others.  

Beware of False Self-Esteem
Some people appear to have strong self-esteem, but in fact, are simply self-centered.  These people tend to focus only on themselves and generally don’t have an awareness of how their actions may impact others.  They may feel that the “ends justify the means” as long as they get what they want.  These people tend to create a lot of pain and hurt for others around them.  People with high self-esteem, on the other hand, are able to be humble with others because they feel confident within themselves.

Build Self-Esteem by Building Skill Sets
One of the first steps to creating healthy self-esteem is to build the number of skills that you have.  The more skills that you have the more confidence you will have.  The more confidence you have the more challenges that you will take on, which will help you build more skills.  Build your self-esteem by actively seeking out new things to learn so that you can add to your skill sets. 

Take Healthy Risks  
In order to build more skills, you have to take the risk of learning new things.  For example, no one just magically knows how to play the guitar.  You have to learn the basics before you can become proficient at playing.  But, you can’t learn the basics if you never pick up the guitar and overcome the fear of looking “stupid”.  

Set Realistic Goals
To build your self-esteem, you have to set goals that allow you incremental success.  It’s okay if you aren’t the “best” when you learn a new skill.  Give yourself credit for the small improvements that you make.

Make Your Actions Match Your Goals
If your goal is to be a great tennis player, but you never pick up a tennis racket, then you are setting yourself up for disappointment and failure.  To build your self-esteem you have to make sure that your actions match your dreams.  Even if you fall short of your goals, your self-esteem will rise as you build new skills.  

You can learn virtually any skill if you spend enough time practicing.  Invest the time and energy in learning new things.  Your future self will thank you for it.

See Failures as Learning Opportunities
Everyone fails, even those that are the best in what they do.  The difference is that people with high self-esteem tend to learn from their mistakes and then try again and again.  As a result, their confidence and skills continue to improve over time.  

Change Your Self-Talk
Quit making every mistake or failure into a catastrophe.  Learn to encourage yourself and treat yourself with love and respect.  If you constantly beat yourself up for your mistakes you will undermine your own efforts and destroy your own self-esteem.  Remember, mistakes aren’t a catastrophe, they are an opportunity to learn and grow.

Find Role Models, Coaches, Mentors, or Teachers
You don’t have to do it alone.  Find people that can guide you and help you develop the skills and knowledge that you need. 

Treat Yourself With Love and Respect
If you have low self-esteem, start treating yourself the way you want to be treated, not the way you have been treated.  Regardless of what others have done in the past, you have the power to change how you are treated in the future.  People often learn to treat us the way we treat ourselves.  If you start being kind, loving, and respectful of yourself, others will begin to do the same.  

Surround Yourself with Supportive People
Cut people out of your life that bring you down.  Don’t tolerate the intolerable.  Surround yourself with people that believe in you and are willing to support your dreams and efforts.  

Effects of Cyberbullying on Self Esteem
While social media has many positive aspects, it has, unfortunately, also given rise to cyberbullying.  Cyberbullying occurs when an individual or group actively targets someone with the intent of damaging their image, self-worth or standing within their community.  It is now possible to feel judged and humiliated by people that you don’t even know. 

To minimize the impact of cyberbullying, you have to minimize your exposure to it.  Disconnect from the sources of social media where the criticism occurs.  It is easier to build your self-esteem when you aren’t constantly hearing criticisms about yourself.  Remember, people who cyberbully aren’t trying to help you, so get rid of the tools they use to hurt you. 

10 Steps to Building Self-Esteem in Kids and Teenagers 
Parents have a unique opportunity to help kids and teenagers develop their self-esteem.  So whether you are parenting a child or simply parenting the child within, use these strategies to help build healthy self-esteem.
  1. Provide Encouragement Instead of Criticism - We learn to talk to ourselves the way we are talked to.  If you want your children to have good self-esteem, encourage them and they will learn to be self-encouraging.  
  2. Praise Effort Instead of Just Successes - We can’t always control the outcomes, but we can control our own efforts.  Praise your kid’s efforts and they will tend to give you more effort which will help them improve their skill sets.
  3. Model Respect - A great way for kids to learn how to respect themselves is by you showing them respect first.   
  4. Set Clear Positive Expectations - If you look for positive things to happen your child will learn to be positive.  Kids also tend to rise or sink to our level of expectations.  Expect good things and your child will rise to those expectations. 
  5. Take Advantage of Teachable Moments - Look for opportunities to teach your child skills.  The more they know, the higher their self-esteem tends to be. 
  6. Give Responsibility - Show faith in your child’s abilities and let them learn how to take responsibility for things around them.
  7. Encourage Participation - Encourage your child to be involved and let them learn how to make decisions. 
  8. Give Honest Feedback - Give your child honest, realistic feedback so that they can learn from their choices.
  9. Spend Time with Your Kids - Feeling wanted is an important part of the development of your child’s self-esteem.
  10. Be Loving - Feeling loved has a profound impact on a kid’s sense of self-worth.  Tell them that you love them and then show them with your actions.

 Self-Esteem and Relationships

Low self-esteem can affect the types of relationships that you get into.  The better your self-esteem, the better relationships that you tend to create.  Some of the most common types of relationships are:  

Abusive Relationships
People with really low self-esteem often find themselves in abusive relationships.  Instead of leaving the relationship, they often learn to tolerate the abuse which further erodes their sense of self-worth.  Some of the behaviors that people who are abusive tend to exhibit are:
  • Extremely controlling of the other person’s time, actions, friends, etc.
  • May begin to withhold affection, money, transportation, or other things in order to control the other person.  
  • Become very manipulative in order to get what they want, regardless of the impact on others.
  • May become violent if they don’t get what they want.
  • May become verbally abusive and critical as a way of punishing the other person.
  • Often very demanding without regard to the impact on others.
Codependent Relationships
Codependent relationships occur when you become so invested in keeping the relationship that your whole world begins to revolve around the other person.  Some of the behaviors that codependent people tend to exhibit are:
  • They hide their feelings in order to keep the peace.
  • They tend to be giving, but often build up lots of resentment because they give more than they receive.
  • They may become controlling or try to manipulate their partners in order to get what they want or need.
  • They tend to value the appearance of the relationship more than the relationship itself.  
  • They tend to give up things they like or enjoy in order to keep from losing the other person.

Healthy Relationships
Healthy relationships create an environment where both people are able to thrive.  Some of the common characteristics are:
  • Loving 
  • Validating
  • Accepting
  • Respectful
  • Able to resolve conflicts
  • Supportive
Remember that one of the best ways to ensure that you have a healthy relationship is to build healthy self-esteem.  Treat yourself with love and respect and expect the same from your relationships.

We Can Help!

Online Treatment Programs provides Teletherapy Partial Hospitalization and Intensive Outpatient Programs allowing participants to receive intensive therapy with our licensed therapists and psychiatrists without having to leave home.  If you or someone you know is struggling to overcome depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, trauma, panic attacks, PTSD, alcoholism, drug abuse, or other mental health or addiction issues, we can help.  To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our teletherapy programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

MHThrive provides Individual Therapy, Couples and Marriage Counseling, and Family Therapy at our locations in Katy, The Woodlands, and the Clear Lake area of Houston, Texas. We also provide telehealth therapy for anyone who resides within the State of Texas. To schedule an appointment with one of the MHThrive therapists, contact us at 713-477-0333 or visit our website to learn more.

If you or someone you know is experiencing any severe mental health or substance abuse issues, New Dimensions can help. Our team of experienced therapists and psychiatrists can help you overcome these challenges and help you develop the skills you need to thrive. To schedule a complementary assessment or to find out more about our programs, contact us at 1-800-685-9796.

Online Treatment Programs

28 December, 2022

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