The elusive commodity called ‘self-esteem’- The New Indian Express

Express News Service

HYDERABAD : Self-esteem is how you think and feel about  yourself. 
Self-esteem effects all aspects off our and ideologies,  behaviour and thought patterns. People with high self esteem are associated with higher levels of confidence, good decision-making skills, good work performance and satisfactory personal lives.

Self-esteem can affect
How much you value yourself.
Believe in your capabilities.
Stand up for yourself.
Accept your mistakes without getting depressed.
Willing to improve yourself
 Believe that you are good, and deserve a good life.

People with high self esteem, tend to be positive, confident, an upbeat. where as studies say that people with low self esteem have decreased adaptability, are poor performers at work, have low confidence, tend to be anxious or depressed, shy away from challenges, and tend to blame themselves if anything goes wrong. Low self-esteem also affects relationships and social behaviour.

What affects our self-esteem?
Studies say that negative experiences in childhood, adolescence, and adult life, can hamper confidence. Examples being body shaming, bullying, peer pressure, breakups, disabilities, parental conflict and traumatic experiences such as child abuse, sexual abuse and neglect.

A 16-year-old came to my office with a history of extremely aggressive behaviour, poor scholastic performance, and avoidant behaviour. Seemingly brimming with confidence, it seemed like he just had an attitude problem. On gently probing, it was revealed that he was constantly bullied in school and body shamed and beaten by his cousins. His grades started suffering, and he would burst into tears. He was ashamed to speak to his parents about it and started behaving in an aggressive manner to cover up his lack of confidence and self esteem.

Sometimes, we try hard to cover up our presumed inadequacies and behave in manners that attract attention or fear. For example, most bullies suffer from self-esteem issues which they cover up by hurting and demeaning others.

How to build self-esteem?
The first step is to try and accept who you are. Accept that everyone is different and unique in their own way and that there is only one version of you which you should respect and care for
Be kind to yourself. You are who you are. Try and build on positives and work on negatives
Stop blaming yourself for everything
Learn to love yourself. This takes time and effort but the results are wonderful
Take care of yourself. Forgive yourself and others
Spend time with positive and accepting an encouraging people.
Maintain a journal and applaud all the positive things around you
Read self help books
Practise gratitude
Try to tap into your unique talents and assets
Help others in need stand up for them and for yourself
Be clear about what is right
Stay away from peer pressure if possible
Seek professional help if you’re depressed or often resort to harming your self
There’s always a way to try and be happy and lead a fulfilling life. Life can be a bumpy ride but always remember, as Popoye the comic character always says — “I am what I am, and I likes what I am!
— The author is a consultant psychiatrist at Dhrithi Wellness Clinic, Hyderabad

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