I consider myself an individual possessing a pretty healthy dose of self-esteem. I am confident in my abilities. My self esteem allows me to try new experiences with little fear of failure. This doesn’t mean I am without fear by any stretch of the imagination! It just means I have enough self esteem to know if I fail at something, my courage will be ignited by the self-esteem within me to try again.
What exactly is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the confidence you feel in your own abilities. People who possess a high-level of self-esteem have a strong sense of self-worth and self-respect. They express pride in whatever they do and they do it with dignity. It’s who they are.
People can lose their self-esteem or their self-esteem can become diminished from big and small occurrences in life. A comment from a loved one or from a person an individual respects about an issue important to the individual can dwindle or even snuff-out their self-esteem.
Self-esteem is a fickle thing. Here one day and gone the next. When our self esteem does go on hiatus, it is not gone forever. It is simply in self-esteem time-out, and we have to work a bit to get it back.
Why is self-esteem so important? Self esteem is crucial for the foundation to a person’s positive attitude towards living. Kinda like the dry cleaners…no receipt, no clothes. No self esteem, no positive attitude.
Self esteem is critically important because it directly affects how we think, perform and even communicate with other people. Self esteem is what allows us to live life to our potential.
My self-esteem took a direct flight south when I first became disabled. I went from a person with a healthy level of self-esteem, rolling my sleeves up as I welcomed new challenges and adventures to someone who didn’t have the self-esteem to fill a thimble.
It scared me… The feeling low self-esteem, or in my case, zero self esteem, gives you. I’m human, and prior to my injury, my self-esteem had dipped down when self-doubt creeps in for one reason or another.
But then I’d push forward and my self-esteem would reappear. Or maybe my self esteem reappeared first. Either way, my self-esteem was back and life thrived.
This was different. I felt nothing. When I mentally tried to pull myself up by my bootstraps and feel for my self-esteem so I could push myself forward, what always stopped me was, “Forward to what? To where?”
You see, I couldn’t yet picture living with a disability. Physically, I couldn’t move a thing, and the idea of an independent life was so far away from where I was in those moments, I didn’t know how to get started living.
It’s always when we need something the most ie: communication, confidence, self-esteem, that it’s the hardest to get. I needed self-esteem so bad, I felt like a junky. Gimmie a hit, a big one. But from where?
Fear is what prompted my self esteem to stick it’s nose out. Fear of a life wasted because I was miserable. The thought of being miserable my entire life was a waste of my life, and I only had one. This scared me more than actually being paralyzed.
So I used my self esteem to make a plan. A life plan. After all, this wasn’t the first time I was presented with something new to tackle. My self esteem had always served me well, and it would now, too.
It worked. With the help of the amazing support group around me, my self esteem and I reached into the unknown and started paving a new life path. The hardest part, as with any plan, was getting started. Soon my plan was snowballing, and so was my self-esteem.
A few easy ways to improve your own self esteem? First and foremost, take care of yourself. I mean by that is care about your appearance. Go for the jeans instead of the sweats. Grab the sweater instead of the sweatshirt. It might sound too simple to matter, but I think everyone’s self-esteem gets a boost when they like what they see in the mirror.
Another self esteem boost? Look people in the eye when speaking with them. Simple, yes, but did you ever know an individual with great self-esteem who mumbles and looks at the floor when they talk to you?
My favorite self esteem boost that helps me the most is giving back. By giving back to others, you’re breaking a cycle of negativity and boosting your self esteem. Whether it’s as small as a giving a much needed compliment to volunteering in your community, concentrating on something or someone other than yourself will set your self-esteem soaring!