In this discussion about self-esteem, we will be sharing some more about the foundation of self-esteem, as well as some of the consequences that low self-esteem can have in our lives.  The term self-esteem is used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or personal value.  Most people’s thoughts and feelings about themselves fluctuate somewhat based on their daily experiences.  These ups and downs can have a temporary impact on how you feel about yourself.  Your self-esteem, however, is something more fundamental than the normal ups and downs associated with situational changes.  Those with good self-esteem may experience temporary fluctuations based on normal ups and downs, but only to a limited extent.  However, to those with low self-esteem, these normal ups and downs will drastically impact the way they view themselves.

Healthy self-esteem is based on our ability to assess ourselves accurately and be accepting of who we are.  This means being able to acknowledge our strengths and weaknesses (we all have them!), and at the same time, recognize that we are worthy and worthwhile.

The foundation of our self-esteem evolves throughout our lives as we develop an image of ourselves through our experiences with different people and activities.  Experiences during childhood play a particularly large role in the shaping of our self-esteem.  Our successes, failures, and how we were treated by family, teachers, coaches, religious authorities, and peers, all contribute to the foundation of our self-esteem.

It is also important to note that low self-esteem can produce many devastating consequences in your life, such as:  anxiety, stress, loneliness, and the increased likelihood of depression.  They can cause problems with friendships and intimate relationships as well.  They can also seriously impair academic and job performance, and increased vulnerability to drug and alcohol abuse.  As a result, negative self-image is reinforced, which can take a person into a downward spiral of even lower self-esteem and self-destructive behavior.

In our final blog on self-esteem, we’ll identify positive steps you can take that will enable you to identify the negative behavior patterns and thoughts that contribute to the way you view yourself.  We’ll also look at some strategies to challenge those negative messages, and put you on the path to seeing the REAL you!!! Have a great day!!!