This aspect of not ‘being good enough’ is what signifies the important thing of our personality- our self-esteem. It basically denotes our self-worth, what we think of ourselves and our own capabilities. Self-esteem can be built with conscious efforts. It can be said that, self-esteem is nothing but the way one thinks about oneself. Higher the degree of belief in yourself, the higher is the self-esteem. A person’s self-esteem is reflected in his/her behaviour and etiquette and it encompasses the beliefs and emotions of the person.
“Self-esteem seems to be dependent to a large extent on the way we were treated when we were young. Constant positive reinforcement in the growing-up stage would lead us to feel good about ourselves. When we are very young, we depend on the way the world responds to us. If the overall feeling that we get from our significant environment- family and friends- is positive, we feel good about ourselves and go ahead positively with our lives,” says Dr Kersi Chavda, consultant psychiatrist, P D Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai.
“If the overall feeling is negative, we always feel inadequate about ourselves and this lands us into situations wherein we react in ways that may be inappropriate. While most issues relating to self-esteem start in childhood, there are aspects of our later life which also play an important role,” adds Dr Chavda.
Dayanand Kamath was constantly yelling at his wife and refused to do any work at home, even though they were both having stressful jobs. He was unhappy about the fact that she was earning more than he was and often insinuated that she got what she was making only because she used her charms on the management.
After a few months of trying to cope, she walked out on him. “My constant grouse at present is: why did I behave like a chump? I actually care for her very much,” says Kamath.
“It is well-known that the emoluments you earn, and the way you perceive your own job also plays an important role in the way you rate your own self. While it is true that a person, to some extent, is rated by his profession to believe that you are a better person if you do one or another kind of job, is to do yourself a disservice.
Self-esteem also unfortunately seems to depend on superficialities such as the clothes that one wears, the way one looks, and the holidays that one takes. Usually these hide a more serious feeling of inadequacy which is deep rooted,” concludes Dr Chavda.
Tips for building self-esteem
– Concentrate on positives- on what is good rather than what is bad, on what
one is capable of doing, rather than what one cannot do.
– Avoid people who are constantly negative- who pass snide remarks. They probably have issues of their own.
– Figure out your own strengths and weaknesses. Focus on your strengths and accept that there will be parts of you that you may not like.
– Spend some time everyday on yourself. Do something that makes you feel good, or that reinforces what you can/cannot do. Learn a new skill, hone up your old ones.
-Try to be more positive to others. Being good to others has a tendency for you to also feel good about yourself.